6 TIPS FOR STAYING KINDA FIT WHILE ON HOLIDAYS
- by Harriet Brown, Australia's leading Ironwoman & Exercise Physiologist
As an athlete I have travelled all around Australia and the world to compete. It's always so important for me to maintain my training while I'm away to ensure that I am well prepared to race. Being away from my regular home environment poses many challenges. I have had to be flexible and creative to make sure I don't lose fitness or slip up too much on my diet.
Now the 'travelling athlete' concept may not relate to you however, in my off season I often travel with friends and family 'just for fun'. Christmas is a good example of this, a change in routine and break from the regular exercise regimen and diet. It's during these times that I can't just sit around and over-indulge or my body will change and make things much harder to get back into shape. However, enjoying yourself is equally important.
You can do both; enjoy yourself and relax a little yet stay 'kinda' fit. Here are my top tips for staying active while on holidays:
1. Research your destination before you arrive. Select a location where activities are the focus of your trip; like a camping trip, beach holiday, mountain hikes, skiing or cities you can spend hours exploring by foot. Book a hotel with a gym or investigate a nearby pool or fitness centre to make it easy for yourself to stay active. If you are going to stay with family for Christmas look for somewhere cool to jog, go along to a Pilates or yoga class or even try a dance lesson.
2. Organise adventure activities like rock climbing, surfing, horse riding, scuba diving, surfing, skiing or hiking. You won't even realise you are exercising because you'll be having way too much fun! When I go home for Christmas we play beach cricket and I take my young cousins surfing. It’s so much fun and doesn't even feel like exercise
3. Explore your surroundings by foot. Take a walking tour of the city or even hire a bike and ride around. You will absorb much more detail walking or riding than driving. You can choose when you stop at sights or shops that interest you and discover many delights along the way. On a recent trip to Europe I made sure that I attended a walking tour in every city. It was a winning combination of keeping up my step count, learning about the area and meeting people all at the same time. If you're hanging around at home over summer try not to fall into that lazy holiday mode by driving everywhere. Try walking or riding to meet a friend or walking to the shops to pick up the groceries.
4. Boost your incidental exercise. In everyday life, bite-size chunks of exercise are always encouraged, but to be honest, we don't always have the time to park the car an extra block away, take the stairs or do a lap around the office. Incidental exercise is fantastic for holidays because you have plenty of time. Create a challenge for yourself to take the stairs at every opportunity, wander to each shop or restaurant by foot or if you're at home, do some extra gardening or cleaning around the house.
5. Make an event the focus of your trip. Pick an exciting event like the Sydney City 2 Surf, the Lorne Pier to Pub, or a marathon or triathlon and use this as the centre of your holiday. Event goals are the perfect motivator to keep you training hard in the lead up to your holiday. When you get there you'll feel super fit and be surrounded by like-minded people. After big events like these there is always an awesome celebration that is so much fun. After racing in an important competition I feel like I deserve my holiday so much more and actually allow myself to relax. My favourite part is meeting and competing against many people from all parts of the world. Over summer there are so many events like ocean swims and funs runs around. Go ahead.. enter one now!
6. Have a 'go-to workout' ready to go. I have written a few workouts for myself which I can do anywhere without any equipment. These sessions combine 30 minutes of high intensity interval training with running. They are super tough and certainly challenge me. When I am away I will set aside some time and smash a session out one of these, usually before breakfast after which the day fills with activities. To find your own workouts to follow check out some fitness apps or see an Exercise Physiologist.
- by Harriet Brown