8 Tips for Staying Fit While Travelling on Holidays

I love travelling. I love flying to new places I have never been and exploring cities and cultures that are unfamiliar to me. However, when on holidays I struggle to find the time (and motivation) to exercise, and it doesn’t help when you are stuck sitting on a plane for 10+hours. Visiting a new area usually always involves a packed agenda of things to see and places to eat, and before you know it, your 2-week holiday is finished and all you did was sit, drink, sleep, and eat. 

Here are my 8 ways to stay active during your holidays away: 

  1. Explore by foot or bike.  Walk or cycle around town and explore the different shops and restaurants in the area. This is a good way to get to know your surroundings and perhaps discover things  you may want to come back to see or do later in your trip. Adventuring around can also lead to new experiences or discoveries that no TripAdvisor or Lonely Planet could have ever suggested. 
  1. If you are in a hotel with multiple floors, take the stairs rather than elevator. If you are extra keen, start each morning with a quick 15 minute stair climb.
  1. Look up hikes around the area. Depending on where in the world you are, typically there will be a hike or at least trail walk somewhere close by. This is a great way to not only get outdoors, but to truly experience and take in the landscape, seascape or cityscape that is surrounding you.
  1. Use nature as your gym and try a new activity that is common in that area. For example paddleboarding, kayaking, or surfing in warmer climate areas or snow shoe walking, skiing, or skating if you are visiting winter weather. 
  1. Pack a skipping rope or yoga mat. Skipping is a great way to add some cardio into your day and does not require much space, and a light yoga mat can easily be folded and packed into your luggage for morning or night time stretching.
  1. Use the hotel gym or pool. Easier said than done, but if you know you have access to either, then you can plan ahead to schedule into your week some time for yourself. Swimming is a good way to stay fit and keep your cardio up for a runner who doesn’t have access to a treadmill or outdoors (think snowy, icy winter in Canada…). If swimming isn’t your thing, exercises in the pool are still a great way to work your muscles. 
  1. Use your body weight to train. When access to equipment is limited, using our own bodies is one of the best ways to stay fit. Quick 30 minute workouts in your hotel room is all you need. Here are a few of my body weight exercise suggestions:
  • Plank holds (aim 30 seconds to 1 minute)
  • Push ups (aim 15-20 repetitions)
  • Squat (aim 20 repetitions)
  • Burpees (aim 10-15 repetitions)
  • Triceps dips using chair (aim 15-20 repetitions)
  • Crunches (aim 20 repetitions)
  • Mountain climbers (aim for 1 minute) 
  • Repeat each exercise 3 times.
  1. Start saving online exercises and videos before your trip. With the way the fitness world and technology are developing today, there are plenty of resources out there that provide quick (but efficient) body weight exercise programs that can easily be completed in situations where there is a lack of space, time, and equipment. Outlets like Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and even Instagram, have tons of videos and websites with exercise ideas. When I come across any I find interesting, I immediately save for future use.

There are plenty of ways to incorporate exercise into your holidays and stay fit while on the road. I know holidays are always jammed packed with things to do, but all you need is 30 minutes a day. Just remember to keep moving and exploring because if you don’t use it, you will lose it. But most importantly, listen to your body. Travelling long distances can also lead to jet lag and fatigue so if you are really feeling tired then rest, relax, eat healthy, and rejuvenate yourself to try again the next day!

This article was first published by Stef from Enhance Physiotherapy. It was republished here with permission from the author.

How To Stay Injury Free This Winter: The Runner’s Guide

Does the temperature have any bearing on whether/how to prepare for workouts or runs?

In the winter months, I recommend spending that little longer warming up and easing into your run. Injury risk increases when you go straight into a workout without preparation.

A 10 minute warm up is sufficient enough and will get the blood pumping to those muscles, as your body starts to generate heat the connective tissue around your joints will be able to tolerate the workout a lot better. Once your body is warm, I recommend stretching out any specific tight spots you may have before you begin your run. The best way to discover these discrepancies in the body is from warming up. Staying on top of those tight areas will help you be in tune with how your body responds to the strength and conditioning you are applying to it

Even though it is cold, don’t be fooled into thinking you don’t need to drink as much water as you would need to on a summer’s day.

Make sure you monitor your water intake the same way you would in those warmer seasons.

Appropriate clothing is a must. We are lucky that our climate in winter is fairly mild. However, a lot of heat can escape from our hands, feet and head. So you might need to have a look at your running wardrobe and update a few items.

Are there other seasonal hazards related to typical workout types in winter?

Your winter workout surface can most certainly be a potential contributor to injury. Unstable, slippery or hard surfaces can increase the risk of developing injuries such as, plantar fasciitis, shin splints and Achilles tendinopathies.

To avoid such injuries you may want to slightly adjust your expectations for speed and time, aim to run on days where the surfaces aren’t slippery from rain or dew, mix up your surface between the path and grass. And importantly ensure your cooldown is specific to your activity, for example in running a plantar fascia release with a firm tennis ball or lacrosse ball can help you stay on top reactive tightness development

Another surface that tends to get forgotten is the good ol’ treadmill. This is a popular choice for gym goers who still would like to do their running training when the weather isn’t cooperating.

When you think about it, the treadmill belt helps you run. It makes the running gait a little easier by assisting your hip extension (pulling your leg back). In turn, your glutes don’t get their regular workout they would on your favourite running track.

It is important to keep in the back of your mind if you have had to do a little more treadmill running training that usual, spend more time focusing on some isolated glute strengthening exercises like lunges, clams and sidelying hip abduction exercises. This will help prevent the stain on the knee when it is a sunny day and you hit the running track again after prolonged treadmill training.

Or maybe it’s a good time to spend time indoors fixing technique that may over time lead to injury.

I highly recommend including an indoor strengthening and stability regime to your running schedule that involves focusing on your gluteals, quadriceps, hamstrings and your core.

In practice, I see that there can be a common reason why athletes get injured. They neglect the rule of the Terrible Toos.

TOO MUCH – TOO FAST – TOO SOON

If you push yourself in these three, you will get injured. Simple

This can be especially relevant in the winter months as your body is working extra hard anyway to deal with the weather and any changes in the terrain.

Follow the 48 hour rule. Don’t ignore a niggle if it is lingering on for longer than 2 days

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is a normal part of increasing our exercise regime and I think it is a nice friendly reminder that we are doing good for our body. However if you have pain or discomfort that doesn’t fall under the category of “good sore” then it is time to get help. If gentle stretching, adequate warm up/cool down, use of a foam roller (Figure 1) and rest don’t help it is vital to see a physiotherapist that has experience working with athletes and getting them back in their runners.

Image Source: Runner’s Goal

About the Author

Jennifer Dodge received her Bachelor of Physiotherapy from The University of Newcastle. Her combined interest in sports medicine and occupational health has enhanced her practice in the clinical setting, with elite athletes and contributed to the success of her business The Office Athlete. Jennifer is registered with AHPRA and HAAD, practicing in both Australia and The United Arab Emirates.

The featured image from this article was supplied by Runners World

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