If you’re concerned about how to stay fit and healthy while you’re on holiday – you’re not on your own. While a lot of people use a holiday as an excuse to eat and drink too much, I’m not one of them. Just because I want to escape the stresses and strains of everyday life, it doesn’t mean I have the desire to take a break from my healthy, active lifestyle. Because it’s exactly that. A lifestyle. And it’s one that I enjoy. Eating an unhealthy diet that leaves me feeling sluggish, bloated, irritable and 10lbs overweight isn’t something I have an interest in. I don’t deny myself anything, but I don’t believe in dieting either. When it comes to food, I’m a firm believer of everything in moderation.
Even if you enjoy working out, unless you’re going to somewhere like Club La Santa, you probably won’t be exercising on a daily basis. But with some careful planning, you can still manage to stay fit and healthy while you’re taking time out. Just remember, it’s not all about how active you are, what you eat is also a factor.
Here are 8 ideas for keeping your mind and body in shape while you’re on holiday.
Whether it’s walking along a beautiful coastline or exploring thick green woodland – get outside and explore. Do a bit of research before you go and figure out some hiking routes. You’ll get to stay active and discover some places of beauty too. This is my favourite thing to do when we’re on holiday. When we visited Italy, my favourite part of the trip was hiking Sentiero degli Dei (Path of the Gods).
Find a gym / do a class / go swimming
If you’re more of a gym bunny rather than a hiker, find a local gym instead. Depending on your accommodation, you may even find access to a nearby health club is included in the price. If you’re staying in a hotel find one that has a pool and an onsite gym – some might offer classes too. If you’re really lucky, you might even be staying in a villa with its own pool. When we visited Sydney, we stayed at an Ibis hotel which included a gym pass to the local Fitness First. It was ideal for us to do a weights session early in the morning before getting on with our day.
Trail running, hitting the streets or finding a local park. If you like running outdoors, head outside instead of using a gym. This is probably one of the best ways of staying active while on holiday. Depending on where you go, if you get up early you might be lucky enough to find some solitude – or just a few other fitness enthusiasts. When we did a stopover in Death Valley we headed out for a run at 6 am before it got too hot. It also set us up for the 7-hour drive that we had ahead of us.
I’ve done a bodyweight workout on more than one occasion when we’ve been on holiday, and you can do it without leaving your hotel room or apartment. Squats, lunges, press-ups, tricep dips, sit-ups – you can easily put a circuit together to give you a full-body workout. If you’re not confident about putting your own routines together, you’ll easily find something on Google or Pinterest. Kayla Itsines is the queen of circuits: her workouts are challenging and adaptable.
Try something new
Why not try a new activity? Rock climbing, snorkelling, beach volleyball, cycling. You could go on a bike tour of a city, or walk everywhere instead of grabbing a bus. Some cities even offer running tours. This is something I’ve been considering for the next time we go away.
Just because you’re on holiday doesn’t mean you should binge. Staying fit and healthy isn’t just about keeping active – your food plays a big part too. When we’re resting, or doing lower intensity exercise, the main source of energy that our bodies use is fat. So, if you’re not hammering the gym or going for a run, don’t be afraid to cut back on the carbs and increase your intake of some good fats. Snack on nuts and seeds throughout the day to keep your energy levels up or add them to your breakfast in a morning. The protein in them will also help you to feel fuller for longer. If that doesn’t sound appealing, try carrying some of these super seed 9Nine bars with you instead. Choose self-catering over a hotel where possible too. No-one’s expecting you to stay in and cook every night, but you have better control over what you eat if you can go shopping and prepare your own meals. If you’re eating out, don’t go crazy – no matter how tempting the food looks!
Watch your alcohol intake
I’m not a big drinker. I probably have a beer once every 3 or 4 months – sometimes longer – so it’s not an issue for me. But I know a lot of people like to drink when they go on holiday. Did you know that 1g of alcohol contains 7 calories? That’s only 2 less than what 1g of fat contains. And not only does it increase your appetite which can lead to binge eating, it also decreases your metabolism and energy levels. So, if you want to watch your waistline while you’re on holiday, keep the alcohol to a minimum.
Fluid intake is important – even more so if you’re active – and water counts for 45-70% of our total body mass. If you’re thirsty, then you’re on your way to being dehydrated and dehydration can cause havoc with our bodies. It’s your body’s way of telling you to drink some fluid but is sometimes confused with feeling hungry. Symptoms of dehydration can include a dry mouth, feeling lethargic or lightheaded, a headache and dark coloured and strong-smelling urine. Always carry a bottle of water with you to help keep you hydrated during the day.
If you lead an active and healthy lifestyle, then continuing that on holiday shouldn’t be too difficult. If you’re already concerned about how you’ll stay in shape while you’re away, then you’re probably already planning how you can remain active. And if you’re going away with a partner or a friend who likes to keep fit and healthy too, it’ll be easier to find the motivation to stay on track.
What’s your favourite way of staying active on holiday?