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Ah, hotels. My husband and I love hotel stays: people-watching in the lobby, blowing money on expensive movies on demand, someone taking away your dirty towels, newspapers outside your door every morning, the knock-you-out comfort of Sheraton’s sweet sleeper beds …. I could go on. There are ways not to drop the ball on you health when staying in hotels though, and here are some suggestions. Pack the workout clothing Sounds obvious, right?

But it takes up valuable space in your luggage to bring along trainers and sports bras and tracksuit bottoms. But it’s worth it, and I alway regret saying “I can’t fit this stuff in! ” when I arrive at my destination. Use the hotel gym Yes, sometimes they’re terrible, with very few pieces of equipment shoved into a tiny uncomfortable room. But sometimes you’re spoiled and they have facilities your regular gym does not (such as the swimming pool at the hotel we stayed in after my office xmas party).

Whatever the hotel offers though - use it! It’s an excuse to get out of bed before housekeeping comes knocking, and there’s something luxurious about padding through those thick carpet floors to get to and from the workout room. Bonus - when you get in sweaty and exerted, your fellow guests will shoot very impressed looks at you in the elevator; happens to us every time! Bring some gear with you If you’re travelling by car this isn’t a big deal and you can take along some resistance bands, jump rope (may not work if you have other rooms beneath you of course), yoga mats and othe portable exercise “toys”. Bodyweight exercises ’nuff said - even if the hotel doesn’t have a gym (or its hours don’t suit) there is no reason you can’t get some chair dips, crunches, pushups and wall squats in every day.

Fellow-hogtowner TT has a few kickass hotel room-appropriate workouts, of course. Ask the hotel if they provide any guidance When we stayed in the Westin Nova Scotian in Halifax, Nova Scotia during the summer the hotel provided towels, water, and maps for good 5k and 10k routes at the front door every day. What a great resource. Sheraton has launched a health program at four hotels. You never know until you ask!

Walk the sights If you’re in a downtown hotel ask for a map from the concierge and walk, walk, walk. We generally walk more on vacation than in our daily routine because we always choose hotels in the downtown touristy core - and that’s saying something, as I don’t have a drivers license. Pack water and snacks You can get stuck relying on vending-machine soft drinks or orange juice when you’re thirsty in a hotel. We bring along a lot of bottled water, and keep it next to the bed, in our daypacks and in the room’s fridge. Similarly we bring along healthier snacks so we’re not chomping through bowls of salted peanuts and pretzels we don’t really want in the lobby bar every evening.

Locate the closest coffee shop Hotel breakfasts often cost a fortune, but you don’t want to be stuck miserable at 11am and willing to grab any old junk in the shop in the lobby, or running on emoty until lunch time. Sometimes they’re hard to locate, but ask the front desk where the nearest walkable Tim Hortons or Starbucks is, and first one up in the morning goes out and grabs some bagels and peanut butter or something similar every morning. Saves money too! Gyms near the hotel It’s expensive but you can just buy gym day passes. You can even ask for a break on their cost if you can be pleasant and reasonable (we have done this).

There are a few approaches you can take here. Go to a club where you’re a member of another branch. Go to a gym near the hotel where you figure they’ll be dead at the weekend (business districts). Or ask the front desk to point you somewhere.

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