Travelling tips for the health-conscious
How to Keep Fit on Your Hols
Travelling can leave you with very little time to do anything other than just that: travel. After all, with weeks – if not months – of planning, a healthy amount of money spent and the endurance that it takes to get through the sitting marathon of a long-haul flight, you want to make it worth your while. So, chances are that you’ll be cramming in as many sites as humanly possible. But if the dawn of the healthy-lifestyle generation has taught us anything, it’s that our bodies are our temples. So, if you’re one of those people that can’t bear to leave their gym kit behind when packing for your hols, firstly: bravo, because you’re far more dedicated to your health than any of us are, and secondly: don’t panic that all is going to go awry, because we’ve got some handy tips to help you stay on track.
1. The power of walking
We’re not recommending walking the entire length of the Great Wall of China (that would take about 18 months – eek!), but whatever your pace, walking is very much an underrated form of exercise. We mean, when you really think about it, how much walking do you manage to get done on a day to day when your office based job requires you to be chained to your desk from 9-5? The fresh air of getting out and about in itself will do you wonders.
And the great thing about exploring somewhere new, is that the best way to do it is often on foot. Without even realising it, you’ve walked miles. Yes, really. Unlike the mundanity of your morning commute back in blighty, wandering Hong Kong's frenetic streets, getting up close and personal with the wildlife that reside in Hell’s Gate National Park or strolling a never-ending stretch of sand in Goa is never a chore. So, when your travel-buddy wants to hail a cab/tuk-tuk, convince them otherwise with the prospect of taking in a few sights en route to your destination. Just don’t forget your stepometer because that sense of achievement that you get when you see that you’ve averaged nigh on 20,000 steps a day is akin to that post-gym feeling – promise.
And, for those who want to step it up a notch (see what we did there), running is always an option – there’s no better way to feel at home in Vancouver than doing sprints along Stanley Park's iconic Seawall and on Port Elizabeth’s beachfront promenade, you won’t be the only one pounding the pavement.
2. Take a hike
And no, we’re not being rude. We just mean that you can quite literally challenge yourself with a good ol’ hike in almost all of our destinations. The primary objective for making the climb up Table Mountain may be the views (or, maybe you’re doing it for the travel kudos? Who knows), but this trek is a hell of a good toning exercise too. Sigiriya Rock will do wonders for your glutes and Shimla’s Jakhu Hill is more of a challenge than it may first appear – you are in the Himalayas after all.
Then there’s the Canadian Rockies, a.k.a. a hiker’s dream. Boundlessly beautiful, both Banff and Jasper National parks simply cry out to be explored on foot, plus the endless photo opportunities are the perfect excuse to stop and take a breather. Whether you’re a dab hand, or still wearing in those new hiking boots that you purchased during your last minute holiday shop, Canada’s National Parks will welcome you with open arms. A legs, bums and tums class has got nothing on this.
But looking further than the icons, there’s still many an opportunity to satisfy your get-up-and-go. Hiking and Hong Kong may not sound like two things that go hand-in-hand, but trek the verdant ridges of the Dragon’s Back to Tai Long Wan and you’ll soon be shown otherwise.
3. Find your inner om to a backdrop
We’ve all seen it on Instagram, anyone who’s anyone is into yoga right now. It’s literally what all the cool kids are doing. And as much as we hate to say it, it does look pretty impressive. Imagine being that flexible?! But you don’t have to be an Ashtanga expert to be able to get involved in this age-old meditative practice. Try your hand at a few poses in its home country of India and you’ll quickly discover not only the physical, but mental benefits to this spiritual exercise. #health. #mindfulness. In fact, it's so ingrained in the culture that many hotels actually offer yoga as part and parcel of your stay. Plus, if you opt for our Once in a Lifetime experience pack, you could be practising the moves of Asana, Dhyana and Pranayama on a lush mound just 150 meters away from the Taj Mahal itself. Now that’s an introduction to yoga if there ever was one.
As India’s neighbour, Sri Lanka is also the perfect spot to brush up on your bendiness, but if you're in China, mindfulness comes in other forms. Yep, we’re talking tai chi. You’d be hard pushed to spend any time in this enigmatic destination without seeing locals out practising this disciplined dance – any morning, any park and there you’ll find it. This is no show put on for tourists. Tai chi is a Taoist tradition that is deeply important to the Chinese and has been proven to benefit both the body and mind. Much like yoga in India, many hotels offer tai chi classes, as in their eyes, this exercise is the best way to start the day – xhoose to embark on a cruise down the Yangtze and a spot of morning tai chi before breakfast will certainly be on the cards. We mean, tai chi to the dramatic backdrop of the Yangtze? Yes, please.
Whether you’re in the land of yoga or tai chi, make sure to get involved, because these ancient practices will most definitely help you to reflect on your travels and you never know, you may even come away with a new life ritual!
4. HIIT a.k.a. everyone’s favourite kind of workout regime
You’ve arrived at the beach and allllllll you’ve been dreaming of is relishing the ability to do absolutely nothing. Your schedule for the week is a sumptuous combination of sunbathing, reading, eating and, oh would you look at that: more sunbathing. But you’ve worked so hard at the gym over the past few months and wouldn’t it be a shame to go home feeling sluggish again? Motivation is hard to stir up when you’ve broken your routine. The solution? HIIT. 15 minutes of high intensity interval training every morning and you’re done for the day leaving you plenty of time to soak up the delights of Mozambique, or Passikudah, or wherever it is that you may be. All before you’ve even had your breakfast. If you haven’t yet heard of Joe Wicks’ “lean in 15” philosophy then definitely check it out. And even if HIIT isn’t for you, check him out anyway. Trust us you won’t regret it. He’s quite the dreamboat.
5. To infinity and beyond, it’s all about the pool
Chances are, that at least somewhere along your travels, your hotel will “boast” a pool. But rather than laze by it, grab your goggles and jump right in. It’s no secret that swimming is incredibly good for you and if you give it your best Michael Phelps impression, it’s likely that you’ll soon be feeling the benefits.
And luckily for you a hefty amount of our hotels come with pools, so you won’t have to look far to find one. Rooftop pools are always a nice touch, made all the better if their of the infinity type like Ozo Colombo’s – one of our included hotels on the Cultural Highlights tour. Who said that standard couldn’t be luxury? But, go luxury with your accommodation in East Africa and luxury is what you’ll get as far as pools are concerned. Take a dip in Lemala Mpingo Ridge’s pool and you’ll be able to take in sweeping views of Tarangire’s wildife dotted plains between lengths. See? Keeping fit whilst taking in the sights really can work.
And for those who constantly have ants in their pants, the only way forward is our ‘active packs’. Quite literally action packed, they offer up an alternative way to see the sights, whilst satisfying that itch to be up and about 24/7. From cycling your way around Jaipur to sea kayaking the whale-ridden shores of Hermanus, you’ll be keeping fit without even thinking about it.