Holidays are not just about checking a new country off the list. They are about experiencing a new culture. And as this typically includes tucking into the local cuisine and wine, staying fit and trim while on holiday is a challenge.
A good exercise routine is all about… routine. A holiday is not routine. You don’t have access to your usual gym; you might not know a safe running route; your meals are being prepared for you and your sleep patterns are affected by different time zones.
Staying healthy and trim on holiday can be a chore, and who needs chores on a vacation? We’ve put together some top tips to help smart travellers enjoy the wining and dining without putting on the kilos.
1. Pack your running shoes
Even if you’re not a runner, taking a walk and stretching your legs is the best exercise for burning calories. Exploration is what travel is all about.
2. Pack your swimming costume
You can’t use the pool without one, and if you’re not staying in a resort, you never know when you’ll find a beach, or a beautiful lake, with shimmering clear blue waters to swim in. Have fun and splash around, but try to get some proper swimming in too.
3. Turn your room into a gym
If your itinerary is packed for sightseeing, the only time you have to exercise may be late at night. Spread a towel or a sarong on the floor for a good stretch. If you have a pilates band, use it to keep your muscles toned. And turn those mineral water bottles into weights to shape up your arms!
4. Take some healthy snacks
When you’re out and about, it’s so easy to grab snacks from a convenience store or café, but the healthy choices may be unavailable or sold out. Include a trip to a convenience store to pack some dried fruits and nuts. Enjoy your meals and experience the local cuisine, but reduce eating between meals.
5. A little of everything is good for you
Another approach is to eat smaller portions. For example, have two courses instead of three; ditch the dessert altogether; eat an appetiser instead of a main meal. Restaurant food tastes great, but the main ingredients that make it taste that way are fat and salt. If you were cooking the same meal at home it would probably be healthier.
6. Have red days and green days
Mentally mark each day as red or green. On a green day enjoy the food on offer without feeling guilty. On a red day choose only the really healthy options on the menu.
7. Try something new
Travelling to new places gives you the opportunity to have new experiences and that’s the same for sports. Whether it’s mountain walking, rock climbing, horse riding or snorkelling, find a reputable company to help you try something new in a safe environment.
8. Stay active
Try dividing your days into two halves. Each morning get up and get out. Choose an activity to get the blood pumping. Talk a long walk; take the children to the beach and, rather than sitting in the sun, organise some races; hire some bikes; climb the tallest building in the city. Then when you get back to your hotel after lunch you can relax and enjoy a good book without feeling guilty.
9. Ditch the taxi
Why use a car or public transport when you can walk, and see life at your leisure? Of course, do check out the safety aspects before you set off.