It’s easy to add a healthy dose of exercise to your vacation, says exercise physiologist Caitlin Reid.
Lying by the pool with a book in one hand and a cocktail in the other sounds like the perfect way to relax. And there’s nothing wrong with doing just that – but you’ll feel more revitalised at the end of your holiday if you throw in some exercise, we promise! Whether you have plans for a faraway adventure or stay-at-home fun, you can enhance the break with new ways to keep fit. Try our ideas for just 30 minutes each day – that amount of moderate physical activity every day, will keep you fit and healthy.
1. Plan ahead
When booking your holiday or scheduling time at home, plan to include regular physical activity. At home or away, search out destinations with good walking tracks, water sports, tennis or squash courts, bike hire and active sightseeing adventures. Decide to take up a new skill such as snorkelling, kayaking or horse-riding. Or, book a holiday that will stretch you physically such as a cycling tour or a trekking and camping adventure.
2. Pack your workout gear
Think about your fitness before you even arrive at your holiday destination by packing your sneakers and weather-appropriate fitness gear. If you’re really committed, you could pack a fitness DVD or Thera-Band. They’re both great for a hotel room workout and won’t take up much space in your suitcase.
3. Make exercise a family affair
Involve the whole family by choosing fun activities that engage everyone. Got little ones? Hire some bikes and ride to sightseeing destinations close by. With older kids, extend the riding distance. Or, you could also spend a family day walking through a wildlife or tourist park.
4. Play in the water
Playing in the water is just as refreshing as lying by the pool or on the sand, so dive in and swim some laps, or play with the kids. If the hotel offers water sports and games, put on your bravest face and sign up!
5. Strap on a pedometer
Calculate exactly how active you are each day by strapping on a pedometer and tracking your steps. Just having the pedometer on will make you more conscious of how much you’re walking, improving your chances of taking a few more steps. Aim for 10,000 steps a day for weight management.
6. Actively sightsee
Enjoy a coastal bike ride, try your hand at kayaking, and make a bargain with yourself – walk to the landmarks, and you can hail a cab on the way back.
7. Start your day off right
Schedule in a walk, run or swim first thing each morning. Getting on the go as soon as you wake will ensure nothing distracts you from getting your daily exercise. Your body will thank you and you’ll feel like you really earned that nap by the pool.
8. Be creative
Think of new ways to be active, by working with what you have available to you. How about completing some runs on the hotel stairs, putting together a circuit program in your hotel room or completing a morning jog around the block?
9. Hit the shops
Every bit of physical activity adds up, so walking as you shop for souvenirs is the perfect way to expend some extra kilojoules.
Ask for the gift of health
This year, ask Santa (or your partner) for a gym membership, a personal trainer, a piece of the latest sporting equipment, new sneakers or anything health and fitness-related. There are heaps of fantastic, healthy gift ideas and they make much better presents than chocolate, lollies and food.
Play hide and seek
Hide everyone’s gifts inside and outside the house, and make them search for their own present. Extra pressies for whoever finds their gift first!
Make it an active Christmas Day
For your family celebrations, incorporate something active into the day. How about a family game of cricket or tennis? Or a round of ‘tag’ in the local park? Running around and stretching your legs is a great way to work off all that delicious Christmas food.