The holiday itinerary can often look a little something like this: sleep, eat, sit, see-a-sight, sit, eat and repeat. This is great – especially if you need some major rest and recharge time after a busy schedule at home.
But if you can squeeze some blood-pumping, leg-burning activity into your vacation schedule, it can significantly boost your serotonin levels (to make you happier), get your heart-rate going and create wonderful memories. Win, win, win.
Whatever your trip, save some space for a little day pack, empty water bottle, runners and work-out gear – you never know when an adventurous outing will come calling. Here’s a list so you can set out to find them yourself.
1. Rent a Bike.
Biking is one of the best ways to see a city, coastline and countryside. It offers the perfect triad of exercise, sightseeing and natural air conditioning. Air conditioning you say? Well, biking doesn’t only help get you further, faster, but it also keeps the wind on your face the whole time – keeping the sweaty discomfort to a minimum.
Safety First: If there’s a basket on your bike, loop the straps of your bag or purse around the handlebars to prevent purse snatching. Also, always write down the number for your bike rental company. Make sure they’ll rescue you in a bind – you never know when a flat tire will occur.
2. Take a Hike.
Planning a day trip or half-day excursion to get into the wilderness – whatever your area – is a magical way to round out your journey AND get a good leg burn. You’ll get vantage points you’d never see otherwise and see another kind of sight – the flora and fauna (the real landscape of the area).
I love ancient antiquated castles, and in Southern France there’s a whole collection of them. The only problem was that most were out of reach, perched high up on hilltops. One day we packed a lunch (baguette, cheese and wine of course) and hiked up Montjuic to an ancient castle ruin resplendent with dark history. Spying long stretches of green hills, distant peaks of the Pyrenees and being up close and personal with the old storied monument. A major highlight.
Safety First: You know those tourists who try and conquer The Grind in jeans and high heels. Don’t be one of them. Pack proper footwear, bring lots of water and snacks and be sure to know your distance and daylight hours.
3. Savour the Spa.
Plenty of destinations have their own forms of spa and relaxation techniques. It’s inherent in their culture and a relaxing, rejuvenating way to experience your destination. Amid your sightseeing tour, allow one day for an indulgent spa-like experience. Find a steam room for another kind of sweat.
You know what they say: ‘When in Rome’… Well, while in Bath I decided to follow in Jane Austen’s cohort’s footsteps and spend the morning at Thermae Spa Baths. Complete with aromatherapy steam rooms and a rooftop hot mineral pool overlooking ancient, Peter Pan-esque rooftops and green hills of the Unesco World Heritage town, I was doing the best form of multi-tasking around: soaking & sightseeing.
4. Yearn for Yoga.
Yoga is everywhere these days, meaning a little stretch-out after a long train, plane or bus journey shouldn’t be out of the question. Don’t fret if your mastery of the local language doesn’t extend beyond your compulsory ‘hello’, ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ – it’s a fun and humbling adventure in itself trying to follow the flow when cued in a foreign tongue. (Besides, your knowledge of Sanskrit pose names will come in handy!)
Extra tip: Get yourself a super lightweight, grippy lolë travel mat – they pack down extremely well – you won’t even notice the weight.
5. Ready to Run.
Lace up your runners to see more of a big park or trail area.
After a famed run in Italy a few years ago in which I got lost for a couple of hours in the dark and pouring rain (conveniently there also happened to be a thunder and lightning storm), I’ve learned to take some precautions when setting out for sightseeing runs. Luckily while in London, my run ‘round Hyde Park – checking out landmarks and getting a sweat on was pleasurable and memorable without being traumatic.
Safety First: If running by yourself, try to avoid deserted or heavily treed trail areas and make sure you’ve got a map, you’re carrying a phone and/ or know where you’re going.
We can’t wait to hear about your sweat-seeing adventures! Show us your healthy holiday outings on your next vacation – just tag @tujawellness.