Staying active should be important to anyone trying to live a healthy lifestyle – but it’s definitely more important to some people than others. There’s no shame in letting the exercise plan go on break for a couple of weeks while on holiday, but if you’re keen to keep your activity up while abroad, here’s the advice you need to make that happen.
Any trip can incorporate an active lifestyle – but some places may give you more options than others. You can always go for a long walk and book into a hotel gym – but if you want some variety in your routine, have a think about some of the following locations.
The bicycle is, quite simply, a way of life in this South-East Asian country. If you take your time and pack appropriately, you can quite easily make your way around some beautiful sections of coastline, meeting friendly locals on their own two wheels as you go.
Australia has plenty to offer the active traveller – one spot in particular is the stunning Blue Mountains National Park. You’ll find all kinds of amazing hiking opportunities of varying difficulties – but wherever you go, and however hard you push, the views will be well worth the effort.
Just like Vietnam, this is a country married to its bicycle culture. Famously flat, The Netherlands is built for biking, and you can explore the small European country to your heart’s content, as well as safely navigate around larger cities like Amsterdam – the car drivers here are well trained to respect cyclists!
Swim a few lengths of a beautiful blue beach, and then head inland for a white-water rafting adventure? Sounds like a dream for water lovers! Croatia’s Plitvice Lakes National Park has been a World Heritage Site since 1979, and you only have to check out a few pictures to understand why. Next goal – see it in real life for yourself.
Canadians know their way around winter sports – and if you want to get your ski or snowboard on, then somewhere like Banff is one of the ultimate places to do it. Just make sure that your travel insurance covers any activities you’re undertaking – and stick to the trails!
There’s clearly something about active locations and the letter C! Costa Rica is definitely a place to keep in mind if you’re an adventurous traveller, and it’s an absolute favourite among many surfers. It’s getting more and more popular every year, but you’re still sure to find a perfect surf spot of your own.
You can go for a multi-day camel caravan adventure for a very reasonable price in parts of this North African country – complete with delicious Berber campfire food each evening. Sitting on a camel may sound relaxing, but as anyone who’s ever ridden one – or any animal, for that matter – it’s quickly obvious that there’s more to it than you’d think!
Named for the equator and with a temperature to match, Ecuador is full of adventure. Baños, in central Ecuador, has everything from massive mountain swings and zip-lines to volcano hikes and time to unwind in geothermal hot springs.
Maybe your tickets are already booked, or you’re going somewhere are part of a group, so your fitness fancies can’t factor into the decision-making. No problem! There are plenty of ways to keep active and stick to your routine while you’re on holiday!
Wherever you are in the world, you’re going to need to keep up your water intake if you’re planning on being active. Whether dry weather is making you parched or hot and humid temperatures are making you sweat, there’s always going to be a need for plenty of water! Especially if you’ve just jumped off a long plane trip, you’ll feel so much better once you get your water intake up.
The important thing to remember here is, of course, that not all water is treated equally. In some parts of the world, drinking a glass of water straight from the tap is a sure way to contract some nasty illness. Do your research into your destination beforehand, and make sure you’re appropriately equipped – whether that means a daily bottled water budget, a water bottle with filtration built in, or checking to see whether your accommodation has filtration systems.
Whether on food or on a bike, there’s nothing like people power for getting to know a new city. You can always have a look to see if there are specific self-directed walking or biking tours of city – some places will even have running tours these days, if that’s your cardio of choice!
Your active ambition isn’t limited to outdoors, either. Lots of churches and clock towers will have staircases up to the top – so why not walk up, check out the architecture and take in the view? That’s three birds with one stone. Just watch your step on ancient marble – you don’t want to spend the second half of your holiday nursing a sprained ankle.
Want to keep yourself accountable? If you don’t already have one, get yourself a Fitbit or another fitness tracker. You’ll soon be trying to beat your own record with your step counts each day – and the reward will be not only higher numbers, but more places visited too!
Every big city will have gyms, and at least a few of them will welcome casual members. So whether you feel the need to get in your lifting set, or you want to settle down a feeling of homesickness by taking a group aerobics class, have a look to see what’s on offer around you. A class could even be a fun way to learn some of the local language that you wouldn’t necessarily pick up in a phrase book.
Don’t want to spend money on a gym? Fair enough! There are all sorts of different body-weight exercises that you can do wherever you are – why not learn a few of them ahead of time? They’re a little easier if you’re in your own room than a shared hostel space – but it could also be a hilarious way to make new friends in your room if you teach your roommates some of your techniques! This post from Greatist has 50 different exercises to try out.
You could also work through some basic yoga poses – they may not be the most demanding activity you could do (unless you’re an experienced yogi and have the asanas to match) but they will get you breathing deeply and ready to meet whatever comes next in your day – whether it’s a tour of the Louvre or a good night’s sleep.
You may not be able to stick as religiously to your macros if you’re staying somewhere that you can’t understand the nutritional information on the back of a packet – but you can still be sensible with what you’re eating. Stick to the same sorts of things as you’d have back home – and if you’re not sure whether or not they’ll have the same ingredients or options, do some research.
Remember, you can always pack a few of your favourite protein bars or other snacks as back-up. If you’re staying in a town or city, there will always be a supermarket around that will be able to sell you something nice, simple, and wholesome – even if it’s just a whole lot of whichever nuts are cheapest locally. If you’re staying somewhere with cooking facilities, whether an AirBnB or a hostel with shared kitchen space, you can always whip up something simple and healthy for breakfast each morning before you head off to whatever the day has in store for you.
But part of being sensible on holiday is also acknowledging that you are somewhere different, and somewhere special. So don’t be afraid to treat yourself with that genuine Roman gelato, or a bowl of phở in a recommended Hanoi alleyway. Food memories are part of your trip too!
If you happen to be travelling to a high altitude location, make sure to be gentle on yourself. When the air is thinner, you won’t get as much oxygen into your lungs with each breath as you’re used to at lower altitudes, and you may really feel quite out of sorts. Don’t push yourself too hard – after all, altitude training is something hardcore enough that many Olympians do it!
Ultimately, you only get out what you put in – both in fitness and in travel. Find your balance between the two, and you’ll manage to have a trip to remember without losing all the progress you’ve been making back home. Good luck!