6 Ways To Actually Enjoy Exercise On Holiday
Without sacking off the beach.
There are two types of holiday-goers; those who recline onto the sun lounger, book in hand and refuse to move all week, and those who prefer to keep a little more active on holiday.
If you’re into fitness, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to incorporate some exercise into your trip, but if it gets the point where you’re guiltily slogging through workouts when you should be relaxing, it defeats the point of a holiday.
So how can you incorporate a healthy lifestyle into your time off, while still enjoying all the delights a holiday has to offer? Here are our top tips…
Need a quick fix workout? This booty blaster is perfect!
1. Reconsider your workouts
Plenty of us are guilty of thinking it’s not a real workout unless we’re pouring with sweat at the gym, heart hammering and legs like jelly. This definitely isn’t the case, and holidays provide more enjoyable ways to keep active.
“The truth is there are more ways to keep active on holiday than at home,” says Keith McNiven, founder of personal training company Right Path Fitness. “You can swim in the pool or sea, run along the beach, take a walk to the nearest town or get your exercise in through dancing at a club.”
Once you’re not chained to a desk all day, the opportunities for keeping active multiply far beyond your normal 45-minute gym session. Why not try completely new sports, whether that’s stand-up paddle-boarding, kayaking, white water rafting or climbing? Making exercise part of the fun of your holiday, rather than a chore, is a sure route to enjoying it more.
2. Get it done early
If you’re holidaying in a sunny climate, then exercising during the day can be nigh on impossible given the soaring temperatures.
A great way to counteract this, and give yourself an early morning endorphin boost, is to exercise before breakfast. Getting straight out of bed and heading for a run is a good option; you’ll get to see your destination at its most peaceful, won’t over-heat and can sit down at the breakfast buffet feeling ultra-smug.
3. Rope someone else into your plans
Going for a long bike ride or an early morning run is all the more enjoyable if you’re with someone else (plus it decreases the chance of you opting out).
Whether it’s a partner, friend or family member you’re away with, stay active with someone similarly enthusiastic about fitness – and don’t let the “I can’t believe you’re doing this” comments of others bring you down!
4. Keep it short
If you do want a structured workout, then stick to short, sharp and effective forms of exercise, such as HIIT. You don’t need loads of room for this – as Keith says “If you’ve got room to stand and move around in a hotel room, then it’s big enough to be a workout space.”
“An ideal workout to use on holiday is Tabata which is a four-minute version of HIIT,” explains Keith. “You do an exercise intensely for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds and keep going until you reach four minutes - set the timer on your phone. Choose five different high-intensity exercises like jumping jacks, burpees, mountain climbers, step ups (onto a chair or the bed) and high knees for four minutes each, and you’ll get a good 20 minute workout.”
Before you know it, you’re done, and free to sip piña coladas by the pool.
5. Pack the right stuff
When you’re trying to cram a towel, five pairs of sandals and enough clothes for a week into your EasyJet hand luggage, exercise gear can often come bottom of the priority list. However, it’s a simple truth that if you haven’t got the tools, you’ll struggle to get the job done, and this definitely applies to fitness.
Exercising in a non-breathable t-shirt and Converse is not going to be fun, especially in hot weather, so pack some light exercise gear to give yourself a fighting chance of a good workout. If you’re feeling extra keen, you can even pop in a skipping rope - a few minutes every day will get your heart rate up and boost your fitness.
6. Hit the road
As anyone who’s tracked their steps during a jam-packed day of sightseeing will know, going on holiday can really help you ramp up your step-count.
“Walking is brilliant exercise to do on holiday” says Keith. “You’ll be so busy admiring the new sights and sounds of your holiday location that you’ll barely notice the fact that you’re exercising. At home, it can be tricky to fit in enough steps to impact your health and wellbeing, but on holiday you have time to explore and exercise.”
The benefits of walking include an increased sense of wellbeing, as well as physical advantages. “Done regularly, walking can reduce blood pressure, lower your risk of heart disease and help you to keep a handle on your weight,” says Keith. “Ten thousand steps a day is around five miles, so ask at your hotel or look online for places you can walk to and off you go!”
Words by Sophie Hines