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Shaping Up While Sailing Out

Vacations are a time for relaxation and rejuvenation. But not always a great time for the waistline — especially if you’re on a cruise with limitless options.


The decadent food, combined with a break from your normal exercise routine, means you often go home carrying a few extra pounds — and not just in your luggage!

While on our ‘Mickey Boat’ cruise, I came up with plenty of imaginative ways to stay fit, while also keeping it simple. One can have a healthy lifestyle, yet still indulge.

Whether you are, or are not a fitness center fan, or if you simply want to spice up your workout in general, I have compiled eight creative ways to work out on a cruise that goes beyond the gym. Yet, I must acknowledge that Senses Fitness on the Disney Wish has a remarkable ability to convert even the most reluctant non-gym-goer into a dedicated enthusiast!

1. Perform Bodyweight Exercises in Your Cabin

If the thought of heading to a crowded, noisy gym is enough to make you squirm, fear not. Contrary to what social media will have you believe, you don’t need fancy equipment and the latest workout gear to get fit. In some cases, all you need is a little bit of room to stretch out — which means you can exercise in the peace and privacy of your own cabin, no matter how tiny.

You can perform the humble plank, for instance, of any variation, anywhere there’s space to lie down on your front.

To tone your upper arms, try some tricep dips off the desk, or vanity chair in my case.

Combine with squats and stationary lunges to get a full body workout.

If you have trouble squeezing in a workout between all your cruise ship or travel activities, you can do these exercises in your cabin whenever you have a free moment. Try slotting in a few moves before going to breakfast, while others shower, or when the kids are having rest or TV time.

2. Pack Resistance Bands

If you want to add intensity to bodyweight exercises, pack a resistance band in your suitcase. I brought 4 of varying intensity levels. They may look like giant rubber bands but they can make your workouts substantially harder.

Bicep curls, banded glute bridges, seated rows, and banded pushups are just a few options. Use them in your cabin, on deck, or even during downtime at the airport, or at a rest stop along the way. These compact and versatile bands add resistance and assistance to your exercises, ensuring a well-rounded workout.

3. Do Yoga or Pilates on Deck

Yoga and Pilates fans, pop your yoga mat in your suitcase and plan to do your own workout onboard.

Ship gym too crowded? Find one of the less crowded sun decks, or take advantage of a large balcony, for an alfresco stretch and workout session. I did this very thing during our trip and it was both invigorating and a literal breath of fresh Bahamian air!

Embrace the gentle sway of the ship as you navigate your poses and moves. Follow a routine from your tablet or laptop, creating your own peaceful retreat amid the waves.

If you don’t have a standard routine, download some videos onto your tablet or laptop prior to travel. A professional instructor will now be available to guide your improvised alfresco studio.

4. Walk More

Walking is a fantastic, low-impact way to burn calories, and you can easily incorporate it into your daily routine.

For instance, if you’re waiting at a port or an airport to embark the ship or depart for a flight, do a lap while you wait. When you’re onboard, take the stairs as often as you can to increase your heart rate.

An early morning or sunset stroll around a promenade or upper deck is a great way to get moving while watching the ship pull into or out of port, or while sailing the open sea.

Using a fitness tracker will add ease to monitoring your step count, but beware: Trying to beat the previous day’s record can be addictive!

I thoroughly enjoyed my daily promenades, taking in the beautiful scenery of the ship, shore, and the majestic sea.

I also had the joy of visiting various cabins to partake in the charming tradition known as ‘fish extenders.’ In this whimsical practice, you surprise fellow cruisers with daily gifts, sprinkling a bit of happiness and pixie dust throughout the ship!

5. Jog Around the Deck or On Shore

If you’re a keen runner, or you’re training for a race, you don’t have to stop because you’re on a cruise.

Maintain your running routine by utilizing the ship’s measured track. You can earn miles while also getting some fresh air!

Running is also a great way to discover a new destination while you’re onshore. Apps like Strava and Map My Run allow you to plot a route, or to follow someone else’s in an unknown destination.

A morning run along the waterfront or through an urban path is a great way to experience the sights.

6. Choose Active Excursions

Instead of traditional sightseeing, opt for active excursions. Shore excursions also present a fantastic opportunity to get active.

Take a bike tour, hike in scenic areas, or try water activities like paddle-boarding or kayaking. These excursions not only provide a workout but also offer a unique way to explore the destination.

7. Life’s A Dance

Cruise evenings are often filled with entertainment, providing a perfect opportunity to dance and work out simultaneously. Join dance classes offered on the ship or simply move to the beat at live performances. Whether it’s salsa, country line dancing, or your own freestyle, dancing is a fantastic full-body workout.

Gratefully, I’m never without my World/US Ballroom Champion husband by my side, skillfully guiding our dance moves and making me appear as though I’ve mastered the art!

During this trip, we gracefully twirled and swayed our way through the enchanting Luna Lounge on the Disney Wish—a name that couldn’t be more fitting for us!

8. Schedule a Virtual Workout

Take advantage of modern technology by scheduling virtual workouts with your personal trainer. Communicate your cruise plans in advance so they can tailor your workout to your available space and equipment.

Alternatively, use fitness apps like Nike Training Club or Sworkit for free guided exercise sessions, ensuring you stay on track with your fitness goals.

9. Swimming or Water Aerobics

Seas the day by embracing the variety of onboard pools, or by immersing yourself (literally and figuratively) in the coastal waters of your destination.

While enjoying some quality time with the kids, I worked on my core with playful scissor kicks, straight leg holds, and knee-ups. An extra treat? The refreshing initial cold plunge that added a splash of invigoration to the workout!

Staying fit on a cruise doesn’t have to be a challenge. It can be an exciting and fun part of your vacation experience.

Whether in your cabin, on deck, or exploring new destinations, these creative fitness ideas will help you maintain your health and wellness while cruising into new adventures.

Embark on your next cruise or travel destination with the confidence that you can indulge in both relaxation and fitness!

This article is brought to you by Pure Pilates. Pure Pilates has two locations in downtown Pensacola and Gulf Breeze Proper. Classes are offered 7 days a week in Pilates, barre, TRX, and aerial; and they offer weekly private and duet sessions in Pilates and GYROTONIC ®. Shop men and women’s fitness apparel at the Pensacola location or at www.purefitnessapparel.com. Call 850-607-2772 to get signed up. The first class is FREE for locals!