Depending on the type of holiday you choose, it should not be too difficult to stay in shape during this R&R time, provided you have the motivation for it. Arnold Schwarzenegger famously trained in his hotel room while travelling to promote his movies. But you don’t have to be stuck in your hotel room. Many hotels have gyms, swimming pools and spas to relax afterwards. The hard part is actually to get fit for your holidays if you plan an active one, such as hiking, camping, cycling or even just baring your body on the beach. Here’s how to get fit for travel.
Some of the most popular active holidays are hiking in the mountains or nature parks, for e.g. in the Alps or even just a short weekend in the Lake District if you are from theUK. But if you’re not used to it, climbing several thousand metres in a day with a heavy backpack is not for the faint-hearted.
Practice makes perfect
As with most things, your body gets used to it and adapts, but you must first give it the stimulus and then the time to adapt. The best way to train for any physical activity is actually to do it over and over again. So if you want to become fit enough to go hiking and enjoy it, rather than wish it was over, the best way is to hike. But not everyone can hit the mountains for several hours every weekend.
The alternative is to find an activity that fills in as a substitute. I like to pick running outdoors because you can easily vary the intensity to suit your needs. Want to build power and speed? Go for short, high speed runs. Want to build endurance? Go for slow, long runs, as long as you have the time for it. Run to achieve the level of fitness required for the hiking holidays you plan. The fitter you are, the more you will enjoy your time, be able to last longer, go further and make the most of your time outdoors.
If running is not your forte, there are plenty of other cardio activities out there; simply pick one you enjoy. And if you don’t enjoy exercising, at least remember why you are doing this.
The big day
Once your active holidays have begun, try getting into action gradually if you have time, rather than hitting the slopes hard. Going for a couple of hours’ walk and building up to a full day outside will be much easier on your body than going for a full day’s hiking as soon as you drop down your bags.
How many of you bought outfits just for a special holiday? It might be OK to wear a new hat or a new shirt on your holiday but please don’t fall into the trap of buying new shoes, even if you are hopping to Spain for a short city break. You’ll be walking and exploring museums, sights and monuments all day and new shoes usually need to be broken in or at least get used to them. Wearing them for hours at a time while constantly walking is just a recipe for pain, even if you buy dedicated hiking shoes. If you really want a new pair of shoes, buy them some time before you travel and get used to them before.
Nothing beats practising your craft to get better at it but if you are lacking in time and fitness, getting prepared for your holidays with the right exercise will make you enjoy them much more. Don’t forget the right gear too to make it comfortable as well.