How familiar does this sound: you spend weeks working out for your holiday body, only to blow it all when you’re there? Even if we’re only off for a couple of days, it’s normal to go straight into holiday more: over indulgence.
But for those of us who travel a little more regularly – maybe business travellers or backpackers – it becomes important to maintain some level of fitness away from home. I find it hard to say no to a holiday beer or burger, even if the holiday is just to Manchester for a night. Instead, I’ve been trying to practice some damage control by doing a bit of exercise when I’m away. Here are my top tips.
For me, running is one of the worst ways to exercise – I really hate it. But I keep trying, because I’ve heard it’s good for me. It’s also a really good way to discover your new surroundings when you’re travelling. A new place to explore makes it a little easier to log the miles, too.
I usually take cash with me when I’m running away from home, so that I can stop for refreshments if I find a nice café or bar. I’ve found a lot of really cool places this way, and it helps me get my bearings more quickly in a new place.
If you’re not sure about running blind, try an app like My Fitness Pal to see where the locals are running.
If running’s not your bag, body weight exercises might be more up your street. Things like squats, burpees and planks don’t need any equipment. You can even do them in a hotel room, if you’d rather nobody witnesses your panting and sweating. If you’re not sure what to do here, try out some of Joe Wicks’ HIIT sessions on YouTube.
Most hotels gyms are about the size of a cupboard with a treadmill and some weights. It does the job for most, but is severely lacking for those who have a gym “routine” they want to maintain.
In this case, I’d suggest paying a little more for a hotel that gives a little more. A good place to start is by looking at hotels that also offer gym memberships, like Village Gyms (part of Village Hotels). Less hotel-gym, more state-of-the-art gym. They often run 1- or 3-day free trials, so keep an eye on their website for a good deal.
If actual exercise while travelling still sounds like a chore, another option is to consider active pursuits while you’re there. A lot of cities are participating in bike sharing schemes like nextbike, and there are plenty of trails and hikes if you’re visiting the countryside.
Or try something new and adventurous! This will depend where you’re travelling to, but surfing, snow sports, horse riding or golf are the things you can get stuck into for a day or two when you’re on the road.
Sneak it in
Armed with a map and a poor knowledge of public transport, I can rack up a lot of miles walking around a new place. Getting lost, walking around museums and attractions, or even waiting in lines at theme parks – it’s is all more than I’d be doing in a normal day at my desk. This is especially rewarding if you’re using some kind of step counter.
Ramp it up by taking stairs instead of elevators and avoiding taxis (when it’s safe to do so). Or scale it back with that beer and burger. You’re on your holidays, after all. You deserve it.