Staying fit while on holiday

Staying fit while on holiday

No need to let your fitness regime slip just because you’re on holiday. Health editor Patsy Westcott shares her tips to stay fit and feel good at home or away.

Here’s something I never thought I’d admit to back in my couch potato years. By the end of my last holiday I was itching to get back home. Not to be reunited with friends and family, nor to sleep in my own comfy bed, not even to water my geraniums, slowly frazzling to a brown crackle without me to water them… but to go to the gym.
Back in the day I was more than happy to slump on the nearest sunbed with the only exercise a short stroll from pool to bar. But I now know that at my age, it’s absolutely vital to keep up good health habits all year round.

The workout wellbeing factor

If you’re used to activity – be that going to the gym, walking, cycling, swimming, Zumba or whatever else rocks your boat – it’s not long before you miss the buzz that comes from a workout.

Staying active also helps your holiday wardrobe hang that bit better on you and it allows some leeway on the calorie front.

Getting off that lounger

While no-one’s suggesting you’ll get fat overnight, a now famous US study found that, even in young healthy men, just three weeks lying around had serious effects on heart health and fat levels.
When 30 years later researchers revisited the men now in their fifties, they discovered those lazy three weeks had had a more profound impact on their health than three decades of ageing. The good news? Exercise completely reversed this.

The exercise boost

Last but not least there’s the mental buzz – the famous ‘runner’s high’ – that comes from the release of feel-good endorphins, when you exercise. And on holiday, don’t we all want to feel great? So here are…

Six top tips for a healthy, active holiday

  • Check out hotel facilities. Many hotels have gyms or fitness studios these days, so travel in trainers and make room for your gym kit and swimming cossie in your travel bag.
  • Start the day with a swim. If your hotel or villa has a pool or you’re near a beach factor in an early swim. No need to plough up and down; a nice easy breaststroke or crawl will unkink stiff muscles and loosen joints.
  • Chivvy your travel companions into a walk or bike ride. Exercising in nature is great for your heart and lungs and exercising has mental benefits too.
  • Pack a resistance band. It will take up no room in your suitcase and give you the chance to do some resistance (strength) work anyplace, any time, anywhere.
  • Row your boat ashore. If you’re by the sea or a lake not hire a rowing boat, pedalo or even have a go at windsurfing or kitesurfing? Great for arms and legs and falling in is all part of the fun.
  • Get NEAT. That’s non-exercise activity thermogenesis – any non-formal exercise activities – you do in the course of your everyday life. According to experts it’s one of the best ways to stay fit and can burn up to an extra 2,000 calories a day. Anything counts: beach games, building sandcastles with the kids or grandkids, dancing the night away at the local disco, allowing yourself to be dragged up to do Zorba’s dance on the inevitable Greek night, a moonlit beach walk, walking or jogging to the baker’s to collect the morning croissants, even making the beds in your villa.

Stay fit – and have a fab holiday!

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Walk fit

wendij53 31/10/2016

I love to take a comfy pair of walking shoes on Holiday and spend my time walking somewhere interesting every day. It keeps me fit and flexible, but I also enjoy the new sights and experiences that every new day brings x

Reserved British

tray2004 22/10/2016

I think if is unfortunate that we are so self conscious and reserved here in the UK. In Europe and worldwide I have met older women who enjoy going to the sea every day to perform gentle exercise and movement in the water, just wish we saw more "sea aerobics" here in the UK and reap the health benefits!

the fitness advice works

pufferfish 24/09/2016

i have tried all your advice and I feel healthier, happier and younger..

Keep on walking

Valerie McConnell 11/09/2016

Walking a good brisk or slow pace, it don't matter which. This can be beneficial to your health. So you don't have to spend to keep your health.

Paddling in the sea

babyhk 18/08/2016

Just paddling , about knee high whilst you are taking a long walk along the beach is good for you and really saves the soles of your feet from those holiday sandal blisters .

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