Body Buzz – Happy, Healthy Holidays
by Sasha Kanal
To keep you feeling fit and fantastic while on your holidays, a few gentle exercises are just the ticket. Sasha Kanal explains how.
July is the time when our thoughts traditionally turn to summer holidays. Wherever your destination, there’s no excuse not to keep (relatively!) active when away, whilst simultaneously reaping the benefits of being in a relaxed and unhurried state of mind. It also means any hard work put in prior to your break doesn’t go to waste.
The journey itself is a good place to start. Long or short haul flights, lengthy ferry and car journeys are stretches of time that can be filled and utilized to your advantage. Sitting down doesn’t always mean sitting still: exercises to strengthen the gluteus maximus (buttock muscles) are a brilliant way to get your body moving, albeit discreetly. ‘Butt crunches’ or ‘squeezes’ can be done with minimal fuss – perfect for long, seated journeys. Aim for ten squeezes to start with, holding them for about 30 seconds each if you can. No one will know. Need I say more?
Chair dips can help to tone your core and arms and are another great option for sedentary journeys. They really work on planes (I have tried these out myself and they were a total godsend for restless legs and a numb posterior). Just make sure the chairs are strong enough to bear your body weight. Place your hands, palm down on the seat either side of your hips, engage your tummy muscles, then press down to raise your body off the chair until your arms are straight. Repeat for 30 seconds or so.
You’ve arrived at your destination and this is where the fun begins. Let’s start with good old-fashioned running. Sling on those trusty trainers and get out exploring. I’ve discovered the backstreets of San Francisco and the dusty lanes of the Languedoc alike, all whilst pounding the local pavements. For those who prefer a more sedate (and sometimes equally effective) approach, hiking or walking in your new found environs are the perfect way to get moving and shake off some of that travel lethargy. The city break is where this method comes into its own. In fact, there’s an art to it. Getting lost in an old town and stumbling across some local gems (all whilst having burned a couple of hundred calories along the way), is surely one of life’s great pleasures?
Another obvious fitness option is swimming in the hotel or villa pool. Repetition is key here – get a good few lengths under your belt daily to really see some benefits. Or check out what your resort or surrounding area has to offer in the way of activities, such as tai chi, watersports or even horse riding. This opens up so many worlds of movement and the chance to try something new – variety is the spice of life after all and can help you avoid getting stuck in a rut when it comes to fitness.
But most importantly, remind yourself that holidays are all about rejuvenation too. So take it easy, do things in your own time and above all, enjoy. Happy, Healthy Holidays!
Caution: If you are unsure of any new exercise regime please consult your GP before commencing.