Summer has arrived! And that means for many of us it’s time to prepare for the much anticipated stay-cation, city break or sun holiday. Whether you’re counting down the days, packing your suitcase or already reading this from a sun lounger, we can bet the last thing you’re thinking of is how to have a healthier holiday.
And that’s ok. We’re all for treating yourself, especially on holiday. And you deserve to relax, put your feet up and enjoy fast food and frozen drinks by the pool. Admittedly, we too tend to forget about our waistlines while in holiday mode. Unfortunately, this often results in the consumption of excess calories, a noticeable decline in aerobic conditioning and can lead to unhealthy habits. You have worked hard to get to where you are so it would be a shame to suffer a setback.
Believe it or not, you can maintain your fitness, eat well AND enjoy your holiday at the same time. With that in mind we have compiled our top five easy ways to have a healthier summer holiday.
1. Take a break
The good news is skipping a few workouts for the first week of your holiday won’t negatively affect your overall fitness. In fact, your body could benefit from the break. Taking a hiatus from your regular routine can help you feel mentally refreshed and boost your motivation.
However in the second week of inactivity, aerobic conditioning starts to decline. And although rates of decrease will differ, for people who workout regularly (2-3 times a week) you could start to feel those effects around the 10 day mark.
Therefore, it is better to aim for a:
- A few short, high-intensity workouts during the first week rather than skipping exercise completely.
2. Set realistic holiday fitness goals
It is important to set realistic goals when it comes to keeping fit and eating well while on holiday. You are more likely to stay motivated and keep on track when you have written goals that are specific and measurable.
- Writing down your goals for each week.
- Set a smaller weekly goal, aim for 50% of your usual level of activity.
- Use your fitness app or fitness diary to log your exercise and food.
- Recap your goals at the end of the week and give yourself praise for everything you do.
- Remember every little bit helps and some exercise is better than nothing.
3. Plan Ahead
A little planning can go a long way in avoiding overindulgence and staying active . Do some research into your holiday destination before you leave:
- Research the restaurants, cafes and coffee shops in the area to see what’s on offer. Seek out food outlets with healthier choices on the menu.
- If you are staying in self-catering accommodation make a shopping list before setting out with specific meal plans in mind.
- Research the area you are going to stay in. You can use your surroundings to get active while enjoying the scenery, experiencing the culture and having fun.
4. Holiday food: moderation and balance
It is often much cheaper and easier to eat out while abroad. Also, it can be difficult to assess the nutrient quality, number of calories and fat content of meals and snacks.
Therefore, our best advice is:
- Don’t deprive yourself of anything but control your overall intake and balance your treats. For example, if you eat a three course meal one night for dinner, choose a healthier breakfast and lunch the next day.
- Listen to your body and refrain from eating once full.
- Ask for a half-portion or for unfinished food to be boxed at the end of the meal if sizes are too big.
- Similarly, in relation to alcohol, if you had a few too many cocktails one night, take it easy the night after.
- Enjoy every treat, don’t feel guilty or regret anything. You are there to enjoy yourself!
Other tips are to make healthy choices at fast food restaurants whenever possible, drink plenty of water and stick to the five pieces of fruit and vegetables rule if you can. Overeating can cause fatigue, as the digestive system is put under pressure. Therefore, all of the above will help you to maintain your weight but also leave you feeling more energetic to enjoy your holiday.
5. Staying active
If your holiday accommodation doesn’t have a gym on site – or you simply don’t fancy heading indoors as the rest of the family skip to the pool- there are plenty of other ways to stay active.
You can still achieve a meaningful workout through other activities:
- These may include biking, nature walks, climbing, canoeing, swimming, surfing, paddle boating and so on.
- Join in on those water fights with the kids, chase them around the beach or challenge them to a race in the pool.
- Sign-up to any free activities hosted on site such as aqua-aerobics, yoga and dance classes.
- Substitute more body-weight exercises for strength training such as squats, thrusts, lunges, planks, tricep dips etc. Make use of whatever space you have to include some of these into your day.
All of these are a great alternative to your regular workout. Even better you don’t have to sacrifice time away from the family as they are activities that everyone can enjoy together.
Finally, it isn’t too difficult to have a healthier holiday. It takes a little planning, setting smaller weekly goals, reducing the frequency but upping the intensity of your workouts and using your surroundings to stay active. And most importantly remember to enjoy every minute, take lots of photos and make some unforgettable memories. Bon Voyage!