Holidays can be a nightmare for keeping up the fitness routine that you’ve perfected so well back at home. All of that hard work to sculpt your bikini body can seem lost when you return from 2 weeks of drinking, eating like a king and being lazy by the pool. However, it doesn’t have to be…
We’re strong advocates of enjoying holidays to their fullest, indulging in new and exciting foods and unwinding from your usually busy schedule, however there are some great ways you can stay healthy to ensure that you enjoy your holiday without feeling too guilty. Follow our holiday fitness and health tips below for a more active trip this year!
1. Go for long walks or hikes
The best way to explore a destination is often on foot. Wander through the city or coastline and opt for using your legs instead of catching a cab. Many locations have scenic walks across harbours, mountains, small town centres and nature trails, all waiting to be explored. Pack some good walking shoes or trainers and a pedometer/Fitbit to help track your steps. It’s a fun way to see the sights, whilst burning calories at the same time.
2. Pick a hotel with a gym
Many large hotels and 4/5* accommodations have their own fitness centre. Although they can sometimes be small and poorly equipped, even a few exercise machines and weights can give you a challenging workout. Wake up an extra hour early to fit in a pre-breakfast workout or do 20 minutes of HIIT cardio before getting ready to go out on an evening. Every little helps and a gym routine can be a great boost to start your day.
You don’t even always need a gym! Do a HIIT workout outside or in your hotel room using your own body weight. The body coach has some great workouts on his YouTube channel here that you can do in your hotel room or in a secluded area by the pool.
3. Choose alcoholic drinks with fewer calories
When you’re at the bar, there’s always a refreshing lower calorie option that’ll make you feel less guilty about indulging too much on alcohol. For example, a slim-line gin and tonic or vodka soda is only 30-50 calories, whilst a cocktail could be as much as 500 calories (a Piña Colada is the equivalent of eating a Big Mac)! If you’re doing a lot of partying or drinking often on your holiday, we’d recommend alternating drinks, trying both low-cal options with the occasional indulgent guilty pleasure.
4. Stay hydrated
Many people arrive at their holiday destination and forget to drink water entirely, substituted for more exciting cocktails. When in a hotter climate, you need to drink a lot more to stay hydrated! The benefits of drinking lots of water include:
- Reduced fatigue and increased energy
- Healthy, smooth skin
- Promotes weight loss
- Boosts immune system
- Improves brain function
Check whether the tap water is safe to drink or stock up on bottled water from the supermarket on your first day to ensure you never go thirsty. If you’re travelling to a country where tap water is completely safe to drink, don’t forget your water bottle!
5. Eat regularly and pack healthy snacks
Diet is another thing that goes out of the window. Sticking to a regular eating schedule with healthy snacks in between, just as you would at home, can help prevent illness and keeps you energised throughout the day. Instead of having one or two big meals per day, opt for a balanced diet from breakfast, lunch and dinner, with fruits, nuts and other healthy snacks in between. Many tropical destinations have lots of exotic fruits to try!
6. Try an active adventure activity
Holidays don’t just have to include relaxing on the beach or sightseeing. Most destinations have activities catering to thrill seekers and those looking for a more adventurous holiday experience and the opportunities are endless. Here’s a sample of adrenaline fuelled activities that are sure to keep you active:
- Water sports
- Scuba diving/snorkelling
- Outdoor sports – tennis, golf, beach volleyball, etc
- Ziplining/forest adventure activities
- Cycle tours
- Rock climbing
7. Swim in the pool
The number one holiday exercise opportunity is your very own hotel swimming pool. Instead of leisurely floating on the pool surface for the whole afternoon, challenge yourself to swim 10 lengths per day for extra exercise. You’ll complete your daily challenge in no time at all and can then enjoy the rest of your pool time with pure relaxation!
8. Eat fresh, local food
Whether you’re visiting the coastlines of Croatia, luscious valleys of Tuscany or a beach in the middle of South-east Asia, there’s a good chance that the local cuisine is a lot healthier than northern Europe. Feast on freshly caught fish, exotic fruits and hearty but healthy Mediterranean meals. Many coastal cultures have a healthy balanced diet and sticking to the local choice is almost always better than indulging in processed meats, pizzas and junk food (but feel free to have these from time to time).
Eating local food also gives you the opportunity to try new foods and flavours and dine in hidden places that are often cheaper than restaurants on the tourist trail.
9. Choose your meals wisely
Don’t worry too much about indulging as you are on holiday, but opt for healthier choices sometimes and try to balance your meal plan. Did you eat a burger and fries for lunch? Go for the healthy salad option without a dressing for dinner. Did you have a big breakfast? Substitute lunch for a small, healthy snack and eagerly anticipate your dinner.
Over indulging is very tempting and should definitely be done a few times during your holiday, you’ll just feel better by not doing it every day.
10. Take advantage of nearby fitness classes, including Yoga
Exercise and well-being classes such as Yoga and Pilates are becoming increasingly common around the world and an exotic destination can actually be a great way to experience them. Trade the boring interior of the gym for an outdoor Yoga retreat or practice Tai Chi on the deck of a boat at sunrise. Wherever you are in the world, taking part in a fitness class can be a great thing to do, with the added bonus of exercising at the same time.
Search your destination for fitness and wellbeing classes to see what’s on offer. TripAdvisor is a great resource. Our favourite experiences include:
- Tai Chi at sunrise on Halong Bay, Vietnam
- A tranquil Yoga class overlooking the rice fields of Bali, Indonesia
- Getting fit with the locals at a Rio de Janeiro Zumba class
- Learning Thai Boxing on a secluded island in Thailand
11. Get lots of sleep and rest
This one might sound like a strange tip to include on our list but believe it or not, lack of sleep and rest is one of the main causes of illness and poor wellbeing. As tempting as it may be to go out and explore your holiday destination 24/7, take plenty of time to rest, sleep and recover and long days of excursions or partying. Feeling relaxed and refreshed will help you enjoy your holiday so much more and will have you coming back to work feeling like you actually had a break.
We’d recommend setting up specific rest days where you can relax as much as you need to. Our personal favourite is pool time accompanied by a late afternoon beach massage.
12. Be wary of what and where you eat
The main cause of holiday illnesses is an upset stomach due to eating something bad or a change in bacteria for your body. If you’ve travelled a lot, you’ve likely built up a tolerance to foreign bacteria but there’s always a chance of getting caught out by eating something poorly cooked.
Here are some of our top tips for staying safe when eating and drinking abroad:
- Check restaurant reviews before visiting. You can rely on the unanimous advice of other travellers and increase your chances of having a delicious meal.
- Always brush your teeth with and drink bottled water in countries with questionable water maintenance standards. Never drink ice and be wary of salads that may have been washed in the local water
- Eat in busy restaurants with plenty of locals. They know the best places to go.
- Do a quick scan of the kitchen and general restaurant tidiness before entering.
- If you’re prone to an upset stomach, build up an immunity of good bacteria with Probiotics two weeks prior to arrival
- Avoid buffets in favour of freshly cooked a la carte food. Breakfast buffets are fine!
13. Take care of yourself
Here are our top tips for looking after yourself abroad, reducing the chances of you catching an illness and ruining your holiday.
- Check the UK Government Foreign Travel Advice website for advice on immunisations, country safety and warnings before visiting.
- Wear plenty of sun screen and moisturise with after-sun after a long day in the sun. Sunburn is your worst enemy!
- Use plenty of high strength mosquito spray if you’re visiting an area prone to these pesky insects.
- Take extra care of safety and watching your step on tours, transport, crossing the road and other hazardous actions in less developed countries. Safety standards aren’t as regulated as western countries.
- Wash your hands regularly to remove infectious bad bacteria.
- Make sure you pack a good health and safety kit! We always take along first aid gear and the usual paracetamol ciprofloxacin, Senokot, Dioralyte and Immodium.
We hope you enjoyed reading our health and fitness advice. As you’ve learned, there are a ton of benefits to staying fit and well on your trip and we hope we’ve inspired you to put some of them to good use. What are your thoughts about eating well and exercising on holiday? We love you to share your own advice with us in the comments below.