How to… keep active on holiday

Aaah, the summer holidays. A whole week or two to really get stuck into that exercise routine that’s been on your to-do list for months.

Passport? Check. Magazines and books? Check. Trainers? Check.
Actual physical activity undertaken on holiday (except for a gentle stroll from hotel to beach)? Um…

With all the best intentions, it’s not always easy to keep active while you’re away on holiday. And if you don’t manage to, it feels doubly disappointing because if you can’t find time in a whole week of not working, when can you find time?

I think the trick is to lower your expectations of how much you will actually do. It’s probably unreasonable to expect to want to run for 10 miles in 30 degree heat after a night on the cocktails.

You can also credit the ‘fun’ stuff as actual physical activity. Here are some ideas:

* Getting into the groove after a few glasses of sangria? Go for it  – dancing is a great exercise, and you can test out your most outrageous moves knowing that you’ll never see these people again.

* Walk a little bit further to discover those quieter bars and restaurants away from the tourist hot spots.

* Does that pool look tempting? Challenge yourself to swimming a number of lengths or for an amount of time each day.

* Are you on the 5th floor of your hotel? Walk up the stairs instead of getting the lift.

* Explore. Have a look on Google maps and find somewhere interesting to walk or jog to. Going off the beaten track (safely) can bring other rewards such as discovering a lovely spot for a picnic, or an amazing view.

Beach Olympics: Silly holiday fun for all the family
Beach Olympics: Silly holiday fun for all the family

* Beach Olympics! A new favourite of mine to play with the family. You can mark out a straight section of sand as the 10 metre sprint or build up sandy hurdles for an extra challenge. A frisbee can be the discus event and a tennis ball can act as a shot put. Beach volleyball, obvs. And the high jump can be a mound of sand that gets higher and higher with each successful jump.

I wouldn’t recommend a javelin event on a busy beach though.


Inspired by…Chelsea Flower Show

Chelsea Flower Show 2017 kicks off today so it’s a good time to write about how gardening can be a great way to stay active.

A survey by the Royal Horticultural Society last year found that digging, weeding and mowing the lawn were cited as the top three activities to give the best workout.

Gardening burns calories and helps to tone muscles. Constant movement, bending and stretching will also help you to stay flexible. Gardeners in the RHS survey said that they felt physically and psychologically energised after doing a stint outside and one in five said that they felt less fit if they hadn’t gardened for more than three weeks.

Nature: good for the soul

Not only is it good for the body, but being out in nature gives a double whammy of being good for the mind too.