Should you exercise on holiday?

Are you the sort of person who a) goes on holiday and once you’re there plops your body down onto a sunbed and there you remain for the duration b) you go on adventure holidays and climb mountains, run triathlon’s and come back shattered or c) you panic that all the hard work you’ve done all year is going to be ruined because you’re on holiday for two weeks?

If you chose C, panic no more, it is possible to maintain your fitness level so that you don’t die when you go back to your normal activities when you come home and you  can still enjoy your holiday!

I can already hear the groans from option A people; “Are you serious? I’m on holiday for goodness sake, why on earth do I even want to think about exercise”???? Yep, I completely get that and to a point I wholeheartedly agree, you want to enjoy your holiday, not worry about exercise!

But, group C people will have worked hard all year and have built up their fitness over that time and the sad fact is that while improving our fitness levels takes a while for the physiological changes to take place we actually lose fitness at twice the rate at which we gain it, which is why that first session we do after holidaying is such hard work! Two weeks of complete rest can actually set you back by one month so don’t be surprised if you feel like you have lost all of your fitness when you get back if the most energetic thing you did for two weeks was turn over on the sunbed!!

All is not lost though; you can keep yourself ticking over while you are away without being a slave to exercise and reap the benefits that relaxation has on the body.

As all regular exercisers know, rest is a very important part of a physical activity plan, muscles get a chance to repair and build and the risk of injury and stress to joints caused by repetitive movement is reduced, but it’s a good idea when you are on holiday to keep active so that you don’t regress.

I’m not suggesting that you seek out the nearest gym or studio as soon as you arrive at your destination before you’ve even unpacked and book to do daily full-on training sessions, in fact you’ll be doing more harm than good. You should make the sessions lighter and less intense and realistically, three short sessions a week will be enough to keep you going.

Walking is a great way to keep active, it’s a much cheaper way to see the sights too! You could make the most of the resorts pool or the sea and go for a daily dip; swimming is a great way to exercise without putting stress on the body. A light jog somewhere different than your normal route at home can be very enjoyable but, don’t go for long distances; if you’re used to running, a 15-20 minute trot will do the trick, or hire a bike and head off and explore the area

Obviously, you can’t pack your full set of dumbbells and kettles into your suitcase but, you can pop in a stretchy band to keep the resistance going or, just use your own body weight to target large muscle groups to keep your muscles functioning and strong. Chuck in some stretches to keep yourself flexible  and you’re on your way to keeping your self ticking over nicely.

I’m not going to preach to you about holiday food, you’ll just press delete! After all, eating is part of the enjoyment of going away but, all I will say is if you are on an all- inclusive package try not to eat your own body weight on a daily basis! Where ever possible chose the healthiest option on the menu but enjoy the odd treat and don’t forget alcohol contains lots of empty calories! This is another good reason for being active on holiday, it helps to burn off all those extra calories.

So, enjoy your holiday, return refreshed, rested and invigorated and fingers crossed your first session back won’t be too bad!

Posted in Exercise, Food, Health, Mental health, weight loss, wellbeing