Health and holidays – they’re not two words you usually find in the same sentence, considering it’s often a time when overindulgence and general slothfulness rule.
Whether you’re on a family road trip, having a long weekend at the beach or adventuring overseas, it can be a struggle to factor exercise and wholesome food choices in when you’re letting the good times roll. But it’s not impossible, especially once you realise you can bring good habits with you.
Here are five easy tips to help you stay as healthy as possible while on holiday, and to return home relaxed and energised.
1. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
This is important when the heat sets in and your body is losing fluids trying to keep itself cool.
Carry a big bottle of water rather than soft drinks or bottled juice, especially if you’re headed to the beach. Remember to up your H²0 intake if you’re sipping those poolside G&Ts, and that drinking lots of water not only hydrates you but makes you feel less hungry.
Bringing a box of your favourite organic teas to sip before bed will help you sleep better so you can get the most out of the next day.
It might also deter you from having that final glass of wine.
2. Build Exercise Into Your Travels
Incorporate physical activity into your group activities. This could mean going for a bushwalk or beachside stroll with friends, seeking out a yoga studio near your beach house, or enjoying a family game of tennis or backyard cricket.
Need more ideas? Try packing a yoga DVD, exploring the area on a group bike ride, discovering the nearest lake and spending an afternoon swimming in the sunshine. You could also seek out your hotel gym for a 20-minute power workout or simply throw on some music in your holiday rental and have a half-hour family dance-off. Whatever you choose, schedule it into your day and make it fun.
3. Stretch it Out
Long-haul flights to the chilly Northern Hemisphere, endless hours cramped in the car during road trips, bad beds in hotel rooms – there are endless reasons why your body might decide to lock up on you while you’re on holiday.
Keep limber by packing a yoga mat or rug you can throw out on the roadside, at airports or in hotel rooms – even just a couple of sun salutations will release stress and ensure you’re refreshed for the next leg of your journey. Why not hold an impromptu mini yoga class for the kids, aunties and uncles on the beach? At the very least it will give everyone a good belly laugh, which will help reduce the production of stress hormones – a win/win.
4. Pack a Survival Kit
You’ve eaten something you shouldn’t have, had one too many sunset margaritas or stayed up late too many nights in a row. Lessen the blow of these inevitable holiday blunders by packing a survival kit. Things you might include are:
• A bottle of probiotics: These will help your digestive system cope with any overindulgence.
• Apple cider vinegar: Splash a bit in a glass of water to help flush any impurities out of your system.
• A packet of chia seeds: Sprinkle on salads or add to a glass of water to boost your intake of dietary fibre, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.
• A small jar of good-quality coconut oil: This has antimicrobial and antiviral properties so just a spoonful a day can help stave off nasty bugs that could add a speed bump to your holiday.
5. Choose Healthy Food Options on the Road
Just because you’re away on holiday doesn’t mean you have to go all-out at every meal. Pick your blowout nights, and the rest of the time try eating like you would if you were at home. Go for restaurants that focus on local, seasonal produce – and consider sharing plates for smaller portions.
If you’re road-tripping, the best option is to BYO food. Pack an esky full of fresh salad, crunchy sourdough, olives, cheese, nuts and dark chocolate, then find a scenic spot, throw down a big blanket and enjoy an alfresco feast with loved ones. (This is far more tasty, and classy, than the golden arches.)
Whether you’re in a picturesque French village or on the NSW south coast, seek out the local farmer’s markets. They’re a wonderful source of fresh, wholesome food that you can cook up or snack on during the day, plus you’re supporting local farmers and getting to know the region better.
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