How to stay fit while on holiday
You don't have to compromise on fitness routine while taking your break
So you are finally going on that long-awaited holiday.
But that does not mean you have to disrupt your regular fitness routine.
Fit in a sweat sesh with or without equipment in cold or warm climates with these tips.
PICK A HOTEL WITH GOOD FITNESS FACILITIES AND SERVICES
Many hotels these days no longer just offer a gym with basic equipment.
They understand that guests prioritise fitness even when they are on vacation, and have begun providing more comprehensive machines.
Aside from pools and tennis courts, some hotels also provide maps of jogging trails, bike rentals and running routes.
GO ON A WALKING OR BIKE TOUR
What better way to explore a city than by navigating its streets by foot? Not only will you get to reach your daily step goal, you also get to experience the place like a local.
Another way to cover more ground? Rent a bicycle and freewheel it around the city.
DO SHORT, HIGH-INTENSITY EXERCISES
Short bursts of high-intensity workouts just two days a week can help to prevent your cardiovascular fitness from declining.
Try two sessions of 30-minute high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts that reach 70 to 75 per cent of your maximum heart rate each week.
These workouts burn more calories in less time, so you have ample time to go sightseeing and get on with your itinerary.
Try adding 30-second sprint training sessions twice a week, and keep the high-intensity workouts two to four days apart.
The time in between should be for rest and recovery, which is vital if you are doing HIIT.
TRY A NEW OR LOCAL WORKOUT
When in Rome, do as the Romans do. So take on destination-specific activities such as sand-boarding in Perth, surfing in Waikiki or rock-climbing at Yosemite National Park.
You will not only burn a bunch of calories, but also have way more fun than slogging it out on the treadmill.
You can book these activities through Klook, TripAdvisor or Airbnb Experiences - the latter offers activities conducted by locals who share their interests in sports and outdoor activities, so you will also get to make friends while you are out getting your fill of activities.
TRY OUT SEASONAL ACTIVITIES
Do not underestimate the number of calories you can burn just by getting involved in holiday activities such as sledding, skiing, skating and trekking.
If you are going on a winter holiday, take advantage of the slopes and ski to your heart's content - you will have so much fun you would not even realise you are working out.
Staying close to a mountain or hiking trail?
Go for a hike at dawn and get close to nature.
CHOOSE YOUR BOOZE
If your travel philosophy is that every night is a weekend night when you are on holiday, you will most likely end up drinking more frequently and in larger amounts than you normally would.
For healthier drinking, ditch beer as it is high in carbs (it is basically empty calories) and go for low-carb alcohol such as a dry white wine (Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc, for instance).
Avoid cocktails, mocktails or spirits, and stick to vodka, whisky or tequila if you are doing shots.
Work out how much water you need to drink with this general formula: Multiply your weight (in kilogrammes) by 0.033.
Drink up even more when you are being active. Our cells require water to function well, and depriving your body of the most basic need will lead you to function at a sub-optimal level.
Plus, when we are dehydrated, we sometimes end up eating more because we mistake our thirst for hunger. So apart from chugging down water, choose water-dense fruits and vegetables such as watermelon, cucumber and lettuce to keep your hydration level up.
CATCH THOSE Z'S
We get it - you don't want to waste your holiday sleeping when you can do that at home.
But a vacation is for you to rest and recharge, and you can't be fully rested unless you, well, rest. If you skimp on sleep when you are on holiday, you will probably return feeling like you need another one.
Sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain because our brain releases more ghrelin (the hunger hormone that stimulates appetite) when we are up at night, making us feel hungrier and thus leading us to consume more calories.
Insufficient sleep also causes changes to your circadian rhythm (also known as your biological clock, which regulates bodily functions), which can result in a lower metabolism, leaving you feeling sluggish in the day and not burning calories as quickly.
So make sleep one of your priorities when on holiday. Wake up at a reasonable hour, and try to pace out your activities to allow yourself enough rest time.
This article was first published in Shape (www.shape.com.sg)