We work hard in the lead up to summer to get “beach body ready”, so why let it all go when the holidays start? We all like to treat ourselves whilst we’re away, to the local delicacies, afternoons lounging in the sun, or the odd cocktail or two, but wouldn’t it be great to get the best of both worlds, and keep active as well? Here’s our guide to working activity into your summer break, wherever you are.
SUMMER IN THE CITY
If you’re a bit of a culture vulture, you’re bound to be heading off for a city break this summer.
Walk the bus tour
A great way to get to know a city is to jump on a bus tour, but why not ditch the wheels and take to the streets by foot instead? Every tourist city has multiple companies that offer walking tours, covering specific areas or topics of interest. If the idea of a group tour fills you with dread, however, why not plan one yourself? Grab a map, pinpoint all the attractions that you want to see and work out a plan of action for the best and most interesting routes to take.
Get to a gallery
Just like good old Blighty, you can’t always rely on there being good weather, even if you are travelling abroad. So, as well as outdoor activities, make sure you have ideas for a back-up that’ll keep you dry. Art galleries and museums will provide hours of entertainment for all age groups, and you’ll still be burning some good calories by being on your feet too. Have a look online at events and highlights before you go, and also check for discount tickets that might be available as well.
ONE FOR THE KIDS: Go on a treasure hunt
If you’re taking little ones on a city break with you, they may not be as excited as you are to the see ancient monuments. Turn any sight-seeing holiday on its head by making it an adventure. How about a treasure hunt, for example? Mark X on a map and let the kids help navigate your way there. Split the family into teams with a promised ice-cream reward at the end and you’ve got a great day out for everyone.
ON THE BEACH
For most holiday-goers, the ultimate getaway includes sun, sea, sand and not much else!
Let the sands become your track
Who doesn’t love the idea of walking along a golden beach, with the crystal clear ocean by your side? Whether it’s hand-in-hand with a loved one or exploring by yourself, a wander along the sands with the palm trees as your backdrop is about as perfect as it gets. If you’re into your running, you’ll find lots of benefits from running along the beach; as the sand shifts beneath you, your lower body is put under less pressure as it makes contact with the ground. It’ll take a bit of extra effort to keep you going (especially if you’re battling the heat too), but the resistance will give you more in return than a run on pavement.
Make a splash with a water sport
Adrenaline junkies won’t want to do much lounging on the beach; instead, they’ll probably take to the seas where there are plenty of possibilities. If you fancy an adventure, why not check out renting a jet ski, taking surfing lessons, kayaking or going scuba diving? You could even rent a boat for a day.
ONE FOR THE KIDS: Try out some team sports
Activities on the beach don’t have to be expensive though. Pack a football or frisbee in your case for a quick and easy way to get some fun exercise into your sun-lounging day. Volley ball is also a great option for the beach.
KEEPIN’ IT POOLSIDE
Even if you aren’t near the coast, most hotels in sunshine destinations have a glittering pool on offer.
Get your lengths in
There are so many fantastic health benefits of swimming. As well as improved muscle movement and strength in your heart and lungs, you can also burn up to 400 calories for every half an hour of length swimming that you do. So, if you spot a quiet, kid-free moment in the pool, why not pop in and get some lengths under your belt? You could also practice your diving, making sure, of course, that the deep end is of a suitable depth!
Brush up on your aqua aerobics
Aqua aerobics give you all the benefits of an aerobics class, with the added support of the water. And what’s even better, you can do your lower body aqua aerobic exercises without anyone knowing! It might be an idea to take an aqua aerobics class, to brush up on some movements before you go away. See our Aqua Aerobics page for more details.
ONE FOR THE KIDS: Set up some healthy competition
Are you going away with some water babies? Kids love being in the water, but often they need full attention, and lots of excitement to keep them occupied. Instead of watching from the sidelines, why not jump in with them, and set up some fun races or competitions, such as best handstand, longest time spent underwater swimming or fastest paddling on a li-lo. Try not to disturb your neighbours, or, better still, get them involved too!
If you’re tempted to get your toes wet, be it in the pool, ocean or lake, make sure your safety is your first priority. To read our article on keeping safe in the water, click here.
HOTEL, MOTEL, HOLIDAY INN
Be it work or leisure related, sometimes being stuck in a hotel is unavoidable. That doesn’t mean the activity has to stop, however…
Hunt down the gym
More and more hotels chains now provide their guest with a hotel gym. Depending on where you are, this may be of varying size, but you’re bound to find at least a cross trainer and treadmill available for your use. Ask the concierge for more information, and tips for when the quietest times are.
Take the workout with you
If you’re missing out on classes whilst being away from home, look on the internet for workout videos that you can download onto your device and take with you. All you’ll need is a bit of floor space (and possibly some privacy!), to get going. Stuck for exercise ideas? Check out our Hotel Workout chart here.
ONE FOR THE KIDS: Paddle in the pool
As well as a gym, your hotel may also have a pool. Even if this is indoors, you can still take the kids down for a quick swim to keep their activity levels in check. Borrow some floats or toys, or take some of your own.
The excitement of the holiday starts at the airport, buying your travel toiletries and sunhat!
Have a wander in the aisles
If you’re travelling to an exotic location, you may have to spend quite a few hours on a flight to get there, and it’s important to keep moving whilst you’re in the air. This is to reduce the risk of clotting disorders, such as deep vein thrombosis. Make sure to take regular breaks, whether it’s going to the toilet, visiting another passenger in their seat, or simply going for a little walk up and down the aisles.
Stay in your seat
There are also movements that you can do whilst staying in your seat, which will benefit your health whilst letting your inflight entertainment stay uninterrupted! During your film, have a go at the exercises on the chart below to help your circulation and prevent your muscles from stiffening whilst on long flights. They will also be useful if you’re restricted to lengthy car, train or coach journeys over the summer too.
ONE FOR THE KIDS: Meet the pilot
Whether your child has always dreamt of being a pilot, or is simply fascinated by how an aeroplane works, a trip to the cockpit will be hugely exciting. Check with a member of cabin crew beforehand and let them advise on the best time to visit. Not only will this get your child out of their seat and away from the screen, but it will hopefully also be inspirational and educational too.
Unfortunately, not all of us have the luxury of going abroad in the summer. Here’s a guide to getting some exercise into your daily routine, even if you’re staying at home.
Take a walking lunch
Let’s face it – working in an office over the summer months can be depressing. When your friends are all Instagramming photos of their bronzed legs by a pool, the last place you want to be is stuck at your desk. But what’s stopping you having some fun of your own, if only in your lunch hour? Make a point of going outside; the sunshine and vitamin D will do your health good, as well as your mood. Encourage others to go with you and if you have a park near you, make plans for a picnic.
Enjoy evening exercise
Take advantage of the evenings being lighter by going for a run or a cycle when you get home from work. With everyone away the roads and pavements are likely to be clearer, and if you’re more of a gym-goer, there may even be more room on the treadmills as well.
ONE FOR THE KIDS: Find a kids’ club
As soon as the summer holidays start, so too do the summer activity clubs for children. Have a look in the newspaper or website in your local area for what’s on offer or, better still, ask at your local Active Nation venue for their plans for kids during the school holidays.