For many, a holiday is a chance to relax and unwind, let your hair down and not worry about a thing. With that in mind, it’s also a time for most people not to worry about fitness. But what if it is a concern, or exercise is, or has become, a priority? The Wilmslow Hospital offer this advice to help you stay on top of your fitness when you’re far away from home.
While you plan your holiday you invariably end up researching areas where you might like to stay, places you’d like to visit, and activities you’d like to do. All of these can provide a way to maintain a good fitness regimen.
Maybe the hotel has a gym, pool or tennis court you could use; just keep in mind these can get crowded at certain times of the day. So look into opening hours and consider planning your exercise in the morning, for instance.
If you’re staying in a villa you might have your own private pool and the opportunity for a refreshing morning swim. It may also provide you with the space, peace and quiet to do a bit of yoga in the sunshine.
Learning about the sports facilities your holiday destination has to offer can also go some way in helping you decide what exercise you’ll be able to do there – playing squash, tennis or volley ball, perhaps.
Also, look at what attractions are within walking distance from where you’ll stay. Local sightseeing may offer the opportunity for a lengthy walk, or you could enjoy some swimming and fun activities at a nearby water park. Even playing on the beach with the kids offers ample opportunities to exercise, even if you don’t necessarily realise you’re doing it.
It’s advisable to make additional preparations before you go away; shop for the best clothes or equipment and pack the right things, so you have what you need to exercise during your holiday. Sometimes there feels like nothing worse than forgetting to pack something for a trip, so do a checklist of what you need.
If you’re planning on doing some lengths in the hotel pool each morning, for example, it’s worth packing a suitable swimming costume, rather than a bikini that’s better for relaxing by the poolside. If you plan to jog along the Mediterranean seafront, then take thin jogging socks and running shoes that are light and comfortable in the heat.
It’s also a good idea to pack the same clothes you’d normally take to the gym, as well as a sports water bottle to keep hydrated – see below – and a sweat towel. If you’re planning on using the hotel gym regularly, also consider taking a notepad and pen, so you can keep a record of your daily exercises. These are simple things that can make a difference to your experience of exercise and are easy to forget to pack.
Keeping your location in mind is key, not only in terms of preparation and knowing what fitness facilities are available to you, but also in terms of climate, your health and your personal safety.
Exercising in a much hotter temperature for instance, can be more tiring than what you’re used to in the UK. This could result in you having health problems if you’re not prepared. You might underestimate how much water you’ll need to stay hydrated, for example, and start to suffer from heat exhaustion. So think about keeping yourself hydrated, avoid the midday sun and do you exercise at cooler times of the day.
It’s important to know when you need to take it easy to avoid injuring yourself or making yourself ill, especially when you’re overseas and away from your GP or local medical centre. Don’t forget you’re on holiday, so the last thing you want to do is overdo it, hurt yourself, and spend the rest of your trip in pain or resting in bed.
To be on the safe side, it’s a good idea to be prepared and pack a first aid kit. Also, while water is essential, in some countries tap water isn’t drinkable, so make sure you always buy bottled water and carry it with you.
Think about your own personal safety too – it isn’t wise to go off jogging late at night in an unlit area you don’t know, so be cautious and sensible. Maybe go for a run with your holidaying partner or friend, and stick to more popular areas for your jogging route.
The important thing, though, is to enjoy your exercise. You’ll be surprised at how much you can do on holiday, so make the most of it, look after yourself, stay healthy, and, most of all, have fun.