If extra vacation days aren’t enough incentive to actually
go on vacation, here are a few more: You’ll lose weight and lower your blood
pressure, cholesterol levels, and your Body Mass Index (BMI).
The trick? Choosing the right trip. According to a small
study from Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, a health and wellness
vacation—i.e., a week spent focusing on healthy food, exercise and stress
management—is your ticket. In the study, people who experienced such a trip
lost an average of 6.8 pounds, lowered their blood pressure by 7.7 percent, and
saw a 5.2 percent decline in cholesterol levels and BMI.
While we can’t promise the same results, there are plenty of
great getaways across America where your workout and diet won’t suffer. Here
are five trips that put your health first.
Eat Right at the Sofitel Hotels
Grub on the go can leave you feeling queasy a few hours
later—and it could also derail your weight-loss progress. So forget a diet
disaster, and stay at one of the many Sofitel locations across the U.S.,
including Chicago, New York and Miami. You can dine the guiltless way with the
hotel chain’s De-light menu, which puts an emphasis on fresh ingredients—but
doesn’t sacrifice flavor. The best part: Every option is under 300 calories.
Who thought a Pollack fish dish with avocado cream, artichoke hearts and Dijon
mustard could clock in at a mere 129 calories? Find out which cities offer the
menu at sofitelde-light.com.
If the gorgeous weather isn’t enough of a sell, a recent
Gallup Healthways survey of more than 350,000 people rated the people of Hawaii
to be the happiest in the country. Experience those good vibes yourself when
you get a taste of the breaks with locals. Don’t fear the North Shore’s 10-foot
plus monsters—just sign up for an intro lesson with the premier surf school on
the island, Hans Hedemann. There’s a satellite location right inside the Turtle
Bay Resort on the island’s North Shore, just minutes from Kuilima Bay’s surf
You’d have to try hard not to be healthy in Colorado. (After
all, it’s the fittest state in the country, according to a recent CDC report).
But in pricey Aspen—a city known for celeb visitors and lofty prices—the trick
is to break a sweat on a dime. Our advice: Book the Limelight Hotel for at
least three nights, and workouts with killer views are yours for free. Each
night, Limelight will hand you two lift tickets that you can use at all four of
Aspen’s local mountains. Got some extra cash? Stay at the premier (but pricier)
hotel The Little Nell, whose “Adventure Concierge” arranges personalized
fitness conquests for guests, including snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
De-Stress in Scottsdale
Scottsdale, Arizona is dotted with more resort spas per
capita than any other U.S. destination. As it turns out, getting pampered is
time well spent—it’s actually good for your health. Research has shown
post-sweat rubdowns promote recovery and relieve pain the same way ibuprofen does:
by improving your ability to produce proteins needed for rebuilding worn-down
muscles. There’s your excuse to relax from start to finish (in case you needed
one). Hike Camelback Mountain, play some tennis, finish with one of the many
massages the local spas offer, and fly home a new woman.
Adrenaline isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, researchers at
Texas A&M University found that adventure sports like canyoneering (a combo
of hiking, climbing, scrambling and rappelling) can produce more of it than
something as freaky as public speaking. An activity that’s stressful on your
mind and body can help you prep for—and react to—your everyday stressors back
home. So book your flight out west and check into a place like the Red Mountain
Resort, an all-inclusive, active resort surrounded by Southern Utah’s red rock
cliffs. Rappelling down the 150-foot canyons in Zion National Park will test
your strength and determination—and better equip your bod for the cubicle
stress waiting for you at home.