Pack physical activity into your vacation

Whatever your destination, a vacation provides plenty of opportunities for fitness. The key? Fit physical activity into your plans — and make it fun!

Plan it

  • Consider a vacation centered on an activity such as hiking, biking, rafting, backpacking, golfing, yoga or swimming at a beach.
  • Choose lodgings that offer a pool, fitness facility, spa or guided activities.
  • When making reservations, ask about activities appropriate for your family.
  • Inquire about nearby walking or running paths.
  • Pack a pair of comfortable walking shoes, a bathing suit and sunscreen.


Gear up

  • If you’re renting equipment, make sure it’s well maintained and meets safety standards.
  • If you rent a bicycle or in-line skates, include a helmet and pads.
  • Wear the right clothes. Dress in layers if necessary.


Jump in

  • Explore the sights by walking, biking or hiking.
  • Try something fun you’ve never done— such as snorkeling, water skiing or kayaking.
  • Walk to restaurants, shops and attractions.
  • Go out dancing in the evening.
  • On a road trip, take breaks for short walks, a game of catch or stretching.
  • At airports, walk the terminal.
  • Try camping, and carry your gear.
  • If the weather’s bad, consider indoor activities, such as in-line skating or walking through a museum.
  • Consider a walking tour.
  • End the day with a dip in the hotel pool.

Be sure to introduce children to new activities gently, and build in time for naps for younger ones.

Does ground flaxseed have more health benefits than whole flaxseed?

Most nutrition experts recommend ground over whole flaxseed because the ground form is easier to digest. Whole flaxseed may pass through your intestine undigested, which means you won’t get all the benefits.

Flaxseed’s health benefits come from the fact that it’s high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as phytochemicals called lignans. One tablespoon (7 grams) of ground flaxseed contains 2 grams of polyunsaturated fatty acids (includes the omega 3s), 2 grams of dietary fiber and 37 calories.

Flaxseed is commonly used to improve digestive health or relieve constipation. Flaxseed may also help lower total blood cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol levels, which may help reduce the risk of heart disease.

You can buy flaxseed in bulk — whole or ground — at many grocery stores and health food stores. Whole seeds can be ground at home using a coffee grinder or food processor.

Tips for including flaxseed in your diet:

  • Add a tablespoon of ground flaxseed to your hot or cold breakfast cereal.
  • Add a teaspoon of ground flaxseed to mayonnaise or mustard when making a sandwich.
  • Mix a tablespoon of ground flaxseed into an 8-ounce container of yogurt.
  • Bake ground flaxseed into cookies, muffins, breads and other baked goods.

Like other sources of fiber, flaxseed should be taken with plenty of water or other fluids. Flaxseed shouldn’t be taken at the same time as oral medications. As always, talk with your doctor before trying any dietary supplements.

By Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.