A commenter on the last Friday fitness post said that taking a walk at the same time every day has created a habit for him so that he feels like he’s missing something if he doesn’t walk that day. And that’s terrific, that’s the goal. But what about when you’re on vacation?Kate Dolan jogs down Bourbon Street on her vacationYou’re supposed to get a break from work and that should include a break from the drudgery of working out, right? But then if you skip your exercise, you might feel like you’re missing something. And what about the fattening food we tend to eat on vacation?

Fortunately there’s a way to take a vacation without taking a complete break. Substitute. Walking is my most common substitute, but there are many others. When I’m at home, I don’t usually feel that a strolling walk is enough exercise on its own to accomplish my goals. But when I’m on vacation, an extra walk often helps me see the sights and satisfies my need to get in a workout. When I was in New Orleans last month, I took a short jog every morning. I really hate running, but this enabled me to get to visit my favorite part of town, the French Quarter, and still get back in time to cheer on my daughter at the Junior Olympics. I could have gotten up earlier and taken a walk, but hey, I was on vacation and the concept of early rising just doesn’t mesh with vacation in my book.

Another possibility is bike riding. Many vacation sites have bikes for rent or loan and can recommend trails. I’m not a regular rider, but last weekend when we were camping, a friend suggested a trail ride, and it was beautiful. It was also a bit strenuous for me, since I’m not conditioned to ride. Since we took the ride on a weekend day when I wouldn’t normally exercise, then I felt perfectly justified skipping my exercise on Monday morning when we were packing up camp. It was a substitution.

On the days I went jogging in New Orleans or biking in Delaware, I skipped my usual upper body workout with weights, push ups, etc. I was on vacation. Sometimes I will use a hotel fitness room, but it doesn’t provide the same mental break I get when I find a new way to change my routine.

You can probably think of many more substitution options for your own vacation. Swimming, kayaking, rock climbing, even yard work if you’re on a stay-cation or a work service trip. And don’t forget walking – all you need is a comfortable pair of shoes and you’re ready to go anytime, anyplace.

Enjoy your vacations!