It’s hard work building up to a high level of fitness and maintaining a steady exercise routine – and yet it takes no time at all to undo all that effort. If you’ve lost weight, toned up or reached a fitness peak, taking a break, whether it is a holiday or visiting relatives over Christmas can all cause disruption to your regime. So here are some tips for how to stay on track when you’re away from home.
Plan for your holiday. If you are going to be hanging around airports, train stations and ferry terminals, you will be surrounded with unhealthy food options that cost a lot and don’t give any nutritional value. Make sure you pack some healthy snacks to tide you over the travelling part of your holiday.
If you’re taking a long flight, or a long car drive then your energy levels can become sapped making you even less inclined to stay faithful to your fitness regime. Make sure you take time to stretch out. If you’re on a plane walk up and down the aisle on a regular basis – this also helps to prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis. If you’re in a car make sure you stop frequently to get out and stretch your legs. Get a walk in if you have to wait for any time in a terminal. A brisk 20-30 minute walk is a good alternative if you’re struggling with time to fit in your usual exercise.
Pack an exercise band when you travel. These are like giant elastic bands and a multitude of exercises can be performed using one of these. If you don’t have one then you can do exercises such as push-ups, sit-ups, squats, lunges and stretches, none of which require equipment and can be done virtually anywhere – a hotel room for example, a patch of grass, or the beach. If there are stairs then you could jog up and down them a couple of times, or use them to do some calf stretches.
Always pack your trainers when you go away. You never know when you might have an opportunity to go for a jog or a brisk walk. There might also be fitness equipment in your hotel and you’ll need your trainers to take up this opportunity. They don’t take up too much luggage space and you’ll be thankful for them if there is lots of walking to be done.
If you have a chance, try to stop at a supermarket en route to your hotel to stock up on fruit and salads. Then if you have a fridge in the hotel you can avoid having to stop off for fast food to fill you up. You can spend that time finding a nice restaurant in the evening.
As tempting as it is when away on holiday, try and avoid the continental breakfast at the hotel. A breakfast made up of high-sugar, high-fat pastries not only adds calories, but they also tend to make you lethargic throughout the day. Try and take advantage of the fresh fruit and granola options. Let’s face it - you probably wouldn’t have cake for breakfast if you were at home!
Most hotels have a fitness centre or a swimming pool. You can take 30 minutes to walk on the treadmill or do a few laps in the pool. If you’ve packed those trainers then you have no excuse! If you’re staying somewhere with a lot of sightseeing, you’ll get the chance to do some real hiking. Rather than getting buses or trains, take a map, put on your trainers and get walking. It’s a great way to exercise with the whole family and have fun at the same time.
Before your next trip, think about doing some planning on your itinerary. Think about finding a hotel where there are lots of restaurant choices and at least one supermarket nearby. Check out what your hotel offers fitness-wise and make your decisions based on whether they have suitable facilities.
Exercise should always be part of your daily life regardless of whether you are on holiday. Just like you eat and sleep no matter where you are, exercise should have the same value. Although we all enjoy treats and relaxation on holiday, you will feel the benefits if you maintain some exercise during your holiday. Firstly you won’t lose your level of fitness and when you come back you can pick up where you left off, and secondly you will find you have bundles more energy while you are away, meaning you want to do more things and enjoy your experience better.
If it’s taken a long time to reach your fitness level you don’t want to undo it all in a fortnight, and by taking these simple steps you’ll be guaranteed to stay in shape while on the move.
by Kath Webb
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