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Fighting Cruise Curves – Five Easy Exercises to do on a Cruise Ship

Anyone who has been on a cruise knows how it goes. Your usual eating habits go on a holiday of their own and suddenly a big breakfast followed by a three or more course lunch and dinner every day seems like a fine idea. With maybe a little ice cream or afternoon tea to help tide you over.

Even before you’ve counted the calories in your glass or three of wine with your meal or in the cocktails by the pool you’re definitely taking in a lot more energy than you’re burning, and it’s easy to finish a cruise with a little excess baggage around your hips.

It’s a lesson I learned on my very first cruise around the Mediterranean on Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of The Seas. And again the following year on the same ship.

That was ten years ago, but it’s a lesson I keep on being reminded of every time I go on a cruise, and I know I’m not the only one.

Of course one way to burn off some of those extra cruise calories is exploring on shore. On shore days my steps count can be more than double what they are on sea days and you can usually find some good ways to stay active on a cruise. For example, Alaska shore excursions include a range of hiking, biking, canoeing and kayaking options you can do.

You can also hit the ship gym, but if you’re not a gym person there are some easy exercises that we can do on any ship, any time. No gyms or equipment required. Ready? Here we go….

Stair Climbs

Super simple but effective, saying no to the elevator and taking the stairs is a great way to burn calories throughout the day. And there’s no need to stride them two at a time.

Researchers from the University of Roehampton found that you actually use more energy taking the stairs one step at a time than two.

They found climbing five floors of stairs five times a week burns 302 calories if you take them one at a time compared to 260 calories if you go for two at a time.

Just think what you could burn if you took the stairs every time you went from the pool to your stateroom to the dining room to the tender to the….

Jumping Jacks

When I sailed on Celebrity Century  I had my first Canyon Ranch experience. Sure, that was more about getting a luxurious massage and lying on a heated mosaic lounge in their Persian Garden, but they also have fitness and wellness classes that you can take.

When I asked the Wellness Manager for the Canyon Ranch SpaClub at Sea, Alen Scropetta, for a few easy to do exercises this was one of his favourites.

A classic for a reason, the Jumping Jack is still done today the way it was when you were a child. Just stand, then spread your legs and put your hands over your head and return to position. Go for one jump every second and you’ll help your legs, hips shoulders and cardiovascular system and burns about 12 calories a minute.

Mountain Climbs

Rock climbing walls may be standard on Royal Caribbean ships but if you’re a little shy or nervous about that idea why don’t you do some mountain climbing in your stateroom instead?

Alen Scropetta says Mountain Climbs are great for the abdominals and shoulders, and you can burn 600 calories an hour. To do this one get into the downward facing dog yoga position, then kick one knee towards your chest, followed by the other knee.

One left kick and one right kick equals one Mountain Climb, and you should aim to be doing one climb per second.

Belly Roll in Bed

When a fellow cruise lover told me about this one I knew it had to go on the list. An exercise you can do even before you’ve gotten out of bed? Winning.

Before you get out of bed stretch out your arms and legs and place the small of your back as flat as you can against the bed. Exhale completely and slowly roll up with your arms still stretched out.

Concentrate on your stomach muscles to pull you up, and stretch as far as you can and if you can reach touch your toes. Roll back down taking between two and five seconds per roll, and repeating 15 times.

The Plank

Another one that can be done in the privacy of your stateroom, or if you’re on one of the Celebrity Solstice Class ships you can feel like you’re in a park at sea do it on their real live lawns.

Lie face down on a towel and rest on your forearms with your palms flat on the floor. Push up off the floor onto your toes and resting on your elbows. Lie in a straight line with your back flat, and tilt your pelvis and hold your abdominals to prevent your rear from sticking up in the air or your middle sagging.

Hold for 20 to 60 seconds, lower and repeat for three to five reps. This one is a great workout for the whole body, especially the abdominals, back and arms.

One way you probably won’t work up a sweat is shopping for your next cruise. There are people on board to give you the rundown on their upcoming cruises, and you can also loll around looking online at sites like Webjet’s cruise deals.

But maybe if you did a lap around the ship, or even a sit up every time you were tempted by a new cruise we could say it was a workout? Let’s go with that.

Curling up in a bubble chair on Celebrity Solstice.... put that on my 2015 travel wish list! Picture coutesy Celebrity Cruises

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  1. Great exercises Amanda. Taking the stairs on a ship is not only great exercise, it is often faster than waiting for a full elevator!

    • Thanks Briar… and you’re so right about it being faster than waiting around sometimes. Even walking down those stairs can help get the old body moving (though maybe not use up enough calories to make up for some of the delicious food I love to eat on a ship!)

  2. I didn’t know one could exercise on a cruise! Haha, thank you very much 🙂

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