Holidays… the place where all my well intentioned exercise and eating goals used to go to die. But not anymore!
I used to have a different approach to travel – it was all about overindulging and treating myself, and the last thing I wanted to do was anything vaguely resembling exercise…. I mean I’M ON HOLIDAY. However, over time I realised that I would often get home and feel a) guilty when all my goals had fallen by the wayside and b) really unhealthy having eaten and drunk myself into oblivion and not exercised at all. Add to that the fact that travel has become more regular in my life, and it was becoming a bit of a rollercoaster.
Recently I worked out I needed to start integrating a few healthy tactics into my holidays, ones that didn’t ruin the experience, so that being healthy wasn’t just something I did when I was at home and in a routine. Interestingly this is one of the things you guys in my original healthy reboot post, how do we stay healthy when we’re not in a routine, so I thought I would share my thoughts!
How to Stay Healthy When You Travel (Without Ruining Your Holiday)
(Try To) Walk Everywhere
Exploring a local neighbourhoods is such a great way to travel, and there’s no better way to do it than on foot. Walking is my number one tactic for staying healthy when I’m travelling, without feeling like I’m missing out. And it’s a great way to stay fit if you know you don’t want to do any real work out. If walking 15,000 steps is all you do while on holidays, I think that’s pretty good! So I try to plan my days around walking a lot and try to avoid catching taxis or subways if I can. Packing comfortable walking shoes is key, and I also like having the pedometer app on my phone to track how much walking I’ve done.
Drink Lots of Water
Ever feel irritable and moody when you’re travelling? Chances are it’s because you’re dehydrated. It’s so easy to not drink enough water when on the road, and not only does this make you feel more hungry, it also gives you headaches and makes you grumpy. Add that to the fact that you may have some jet lag, and H2o is your best friend. I find that packing a water bottle is a great way to remember to drink more.
Do (even just) half an hour of actual exercise
As I mentioned, in the past the last thing I wanted to do was structured exercise when I was travelling. But even just a few sessions over the course of the week has made me feel so much better about over indulging… Sometimes I check out local classes like Yoga or Pilates, or I tune in to youtube for an online class on my phone. When I travel with Ben it’s a bit easier, he loves to knock over a HIIT circuit in the morning, usually just half an hour of body weight exercises like burpies or squats… In all honestly, I probably only do this a few times over a week at most when travelling, but every little bit you can will help you feel good.
Try lots of different foods (but be mindful about portion sizes)
Guys I LOVE food. I don’t think I communicate that here enough, but food might just be my number one passion in life. So you can imagine that when I travel I like to try everything. And there’s nothing worse than denying yourself of delicacies right? Agreed, but after a while I have to admit you realise there’s a limit. So I’m very slowly applying this idea: try everything you like, just don’t overdo how much of it you eat. These days I try to keep portions moderate, and throw in a big salad if I think I’ll be hungry. In truth I find this the hardest one to put into action but it’s a good thing to remind myself of!
Pack Healthy Snacks
The best thing about travel is you never know what you are going to be doing next, that said there’s nothing worse than being starving and not having access to anything decent to eat. That’s where healthy snacks like nuts and fruit come into play – they help fill you up and get you out of a bind when you’re hungry, so you don’t end up eating a whole can of sour cream Pringles (been there, done that). In addition, filling up on healthy foods allows you to better control your portion sizes when you’re eating something deliciously over the top.
I’m not sure about you, but I love wine and cocktails when I’m travelling. What’s lunch at a beautiful seaside restaurant without a few glasses of crisp white wine in hand? That’s not going to change any time soon, but something that I have started doing is just being more aware of my intake and trying to savour my drinks instead of just knocking them back. And making a spritz with some soda water is a great way to stretch a drink without feeling like you’re missing out!
I think at the end of the day staying fit and healthy when you travel is all about little tweaks you can do without putting too much pressure on yourself, the incidental things that won’t take away from your holiday too much. It’s about finding a sweet spot between indulgence and strictness… And finding balance wherever you are. And it’s just like when I’m at home, if I happen to go over the top now and again that’s fine, I just try keep it moderate *most* of the time and hopefully I’ll get home feeling good with my goals still somewhat intact…. Love to hear your thoughts on this one guys!
Illustration by Natalie Ong