Try as we might to maintain a healthy lifestyle when away on holiday, there are obvious challenges to achieving this. You can find yourself eating and drinking more – and doing less – with the result that it may take a little time for you to resume your previous routine and condition, when you return. If, like us, you sometimes struggle to keep things going when you’re away, here are some quick tips, most of which are just common sense……..
OK, so your holiday is booked. That’s great. But, in the run-up to your departure, have a think about any existing health issues that could compromise your enjoyment of your trip. You want to make the most of your precious time away, so do you have any niggles or even any more serious health problems that could prevent you from throwing yourself into everything that your holiday has to offer?
If you do, we are of course here for you. But please try and plan ahead. We can usually accommodate you at fairly short notice, but we would hate you not to be able secure an appointment with us before you go away, and you may need more than one visit to get fully fighting fit! So please contact us at the earliest opportunity. We can then work together to put in place a plan of action to get you to your holiday destination in the best possible shape to enjoy it.
When you are packing, remember all those little or not so little items that are going to allow you to continue with your health routine when you are away. These could include a comfortable pair of shoes and shorts for your morning walk, some exercise bands (or similar lightweight training aids) for the more enthusiastic among you, a hat if you are going to be outside a lot, a water bottle is a must in hot climates (do you have an insulated one that keeps cold drinks cold?), and do remember to take enough medication to last the week or the fortnight. Sun block is again an obvious item. And is there something that you could pack quite easily that would assist in your healthy living routine? Your favourite liquidiser/blender perhaps?
Beware! Possible threats to your wellbeing can pounce straightaway! Movements that you are not used to, like getting suitcases down from the loft, or loading them into the boot of the car, or putting your carry-on in the overhead locker, can strain a bicep or tweak your back.
We all know that the actual journey is the most stressful and uncomfortable part of our holiday. But it is important, on a long drive or flight, to keep mobile. Try and get out of the car or get up from your seat every hour or so, and walk around and stretch. Keep hydrated, and remember to eat little and often. Doing so will transform for the better the state in which you arrive at your destination.
What healthy elements you can build into your holiday will vary hugely from person to person and be dependent on what you are used to doing at home, and the type of holiday that you have booked. For instance, you may need to compromise on your usual 3-mile morning walk, if it is very hot or you are at altitude. Or you may be able to tailor your normal routine to the conditions: you may be able to perform most of your usual land-based exercises in the pool, which will not only keep you cool, but also partially support your bodyweight.
You may find that first thing in the morning offers you the best opportunity for exercise, especially if the demands of your family and/or the holiday schedule gets in the way later on. The morning is obviously cooler too for your walk round the block, yoga session, swim or gentle exercise routine.
In warmer climates than ours, it is obviously essential to keep hydrated. You are losing fluids, even if you are not actually perspiring. And unfortunately, the bad news is that the right hydration is not provided by beer, wine, gin, vodka, or even tea and coffee! It is important here to note that when you perspire, you lose mineral salts (electrolytes) as well as fluid, so rehydration through plain water is only sufficient up to a point, and you should make sure that you are topping up your salts as well. Drinking too much water – and thereby significantly diluting your body’s concentration of salts – can be very dangerous.
A holiday is a chance to try new experiences and new activities. However, please try and be sensible. Research online or simply observe in the flesh any new sport that you plan to try. Is that trip out in a RIB the best idea for your dodgy back? Do you really have the stomach for that death-defying rollercoaster?
And make sure you have the right footwear, clothing and equipment for the activity, some of which you may be able to hire. That rugged mountain hike is probably not best attempted in flip-flops!
In terms of the rest of your daily routine, we all know how important what we eat and how we sleep is to our wellbeing, so do make sure you know what is actually in all of those gorgeous-looking, romantic-sounding and lovely-smelling foreign dishes, and, if you are worried about sleeping, maybe take along your own pillow.
Much as it may sound like it, we are really not trying to rob you of all your fun on holiday. Your trip should be physically relaxing, as well as being a great boost for your emotional and mental health.
When you are back, depending on what you have been able to do whilst away, it may take a little while to get back into your previous health and/or fitness regime. A fairly inactive fortnight may have compromised your stamina a little, and so nine holes may be more appropriate than eighteen for a while. It was too hot to run, so you may need to moderate your goals at parkrun this Saturday. Your flexibility has suffered, so you may need to dial down your ambitions at next week’s yoga or Pilates class!
And again, if you have encountered a problem, we are here to help. Perhaps that game of tennis was more demanding than you anticipated, you got competitive and managed to trash your calves, thighs and hamstrings. The bed turned out to be too short and you’ve got a really painful neck.
Please do book an appointment with us as soon as you get back, so that again, we can get you back into full health and fitness effect as soon as we possibly can.
Have a happy, healthy holiday!