While gas prices may keep America closer to home this summer, people are still hitting the road to see the sights. But keep in mind that even though summer’s here, it’s still important to maintain exercise while on "vacation." Your metabolism never quits, and all of those extra calories looking back at you will either be converted into heat through exercise, or land plump on your backside.

Here are my top 10 tips for maintaining good health while vacationing:

1. Plan active vacations that include hiking, cycling or backpacking. Instead of yet another year inside an air-conditioned museum, hike the canyons, paddle the boundary waters or backpack a national park.

2. Discuss exercise with your traveling partner(s) before you hit the road. Which cities and parks will offer exercise opportunities? Plan to exercise at least half of the days you travel.

3. See sights in new cities by cycling. You’ll avoid a lot of auto traffic and get healthier in the process. Bike shops everywhere will rent bikes and offer tips and maps for safe riding in urban areas. Better yet, get a bike rack and take your own bike with you! Stow it in your room at night if you don’t have a great rack locking system. We believe in bikes.

4. If you can’t bike, then walk. And don’t skip the stairs!

5. Pack active and exercise attire accordingly.

6. Get a healthy breakfast. Plan for a clean, high protein breakfast to start your day night.

7. Avoid deep fat fried foods. This tip goes for always, but especially if you’re traveling when you may be spending half of the calories you would otherwise spend on a normal day. You can not afford the extra heart-clogging calories while sedentary.

8. Eat clean while in the car. If you’re on a road trip, impose and enforce a "Healthy Foods Only" rule: bottled water, fruit, nuts and jerky are plenty fine road foods. My favorite convenience store on earth is Kwik Trip. They have cheap bananas, fresh fruit, baby carrots and great tasting skim milk.

9. Exercise first. If your day includes a planned exercise event, do it first thing in the morning so that all of the uncertainty of travel won’t get in the way of your workout later in the day.

10. Carry your bag or pull a cart if you golf. You’ll spend almost three times as many calories as you would if you dump your butt into a rider.

And here is a bonus tip: Stretch. And stretch some more. I am always shocked at how out of place I look when stretching at waysides. Everyone should be stretching there. Warm up a bit first with a brisk five-minute walk, then stretch every muscle group you can find…twice!

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Randy Zarecki, BS, ACPT, NASM, ASCM, has been in the Health Fitness Industry for more than 25 years. Passionate about health and fitness his entire life, Randy competed favorably in dozens of physique contests. He first started helping others reach their health and fitness goals back in 1985 before personal training even existed. Now an AFPA Advanced Certified Personal Trainer, ACE Certified Personal Trainer, and ACSM member, Randy has helped hundreds of people reach their health and fitness goals with his extensive expertise. An author and speaker, Randy has been a frequent guest on the KARE 11 Today show as a Fitness Expert, and is producer of 50 Exercises for 50 Bucks, an interactive exercise DVD. He owns and operates Fitness Together franchises in St. Paul's Highland Park, Northeast Minneapolis and Uptown, and they boast a distinctive environment, unlike other franchises. While clients range from 12 to 80, Fitness Together has a unique appeal to a highly focused niche of busy professional people primarily 45-65 years old who want healthier lifestyles, stronger bodies and longer lives. Visit www.ftmsp.com. Copyright © 2008 Randy Zarecki. All Rights Reserved.

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