When you’re on holiday or travelling, the last thing you may want to do is stick to a diet or exercise. After all, taking a break is about abandoning your regular stressful schedule, relaxing, and indulging yourself.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t still take care of yourself. Regular physical activity improves your fitness, and eating or snacking on nutritious foods will keep you feeling healthy and energetic as you go about your trip.
Besides, staying healthy and being active shouldn’t just be something you do when you are not travelling, says George Tng, a fitness trainer with EnergyOne Gym at SAFRA Toa Payoh.
“You shouldn’t take a break from looking after yourself. You may not always have the time to exercise or the inclination to eat wholesome foods, especially when you’re travelling across different time zones and have a lot on your itinerary; but when these good habits become an intrinsic part your lifestyle, you’ll realise how much better you’ll feel overall.”
Here are seven tips to incorporate exercise and healthy eating into your holiday schedule.
1. Carry a fitness tracker or use a fitness app
Accumulating steps is easy while on holiday, especially if you’re doing a lot of walking. Don’t leave your hotel room without your fitness tracker, as you will want to make sure you’re getting 6,000 to 10,000 steps a day. Your fitness tracker or app will also tell you how many calories you’ve burnt and how many kilometres you’ve walked that day. Every morning, try to set new distance and step targets and make it a point to accomplish them by the time you go to bed at night.
Add in these workouts to elevate your daily fitness regime!
2. Sightsee on foot
One of the best ways to enjoy your new surroundings and check out the local attractions is by walking. Not all cities or towns are conducive to walking, but if you’re travelling to a place that’s relatively safe for walkers and where the streets are organised and easy to walk along, you should take full advantage of it.
Walking is an excellent cardiovascular exercise that tones all your muscles, especially if you swing your arms back and forth. You should walk fast enough so that you’re a little out of breath but still able to have a conversation. Look for steep roads that challenge you to walk uphill, and remember to stay hydrated while you move, wear comfortable shoes, and take breaks when you need to.
3. Plan your meals ahead of time
If you want to continue to eat healthily while on holiday, it helps to figure out what fresh foods you’ll be able to access and what you can dine on in restaurants. Look up menus online, email the restaurant to ask if they can prepare specific dishes to your liking, and check out your hotel’s breakfast buffet so that you can decide what to eat – and how much – before tucking in.
And, what’s a holiday without treats? It’s fine to splurge on a high-calorie meal, dessert, local snacks or a couple of sugary cocktails, but be mindful of how much you’re consuming, and how often, and try to balance it out at your next meal.
4. Stock up on healthy snacks
George says to buy plenty of fruit and nuts to snack on during your trip. These will give you the energy you need to get through a busy day, plus they’ll keep you full, so you won’t be tempted to snack on junk food. Apples, bananas, pears, almonds, walnuts and cashews are good options. When buying nuts, check the label to make sure that they haven’t been roasted in oil and coated in sugar or honey.
5. Stay hydrated
It’s easy to forget about your daily water consumption target while on holiday. To simplify the task, carry a 1.5L bottle with you when you go out and leave another large bottle in your hotel, and aim to finish them both before turning in for the night. Try to drink a couple of glasses of water at mealtimes, too, especially if you’re ordering dehydrating beverages like coffee and alcohol.
Regular hydration is important – it regulates your body temperature, delivers nutrients to your cells, helps you stay energetic and alert, facilitates waste removal, and benefits your digestive system.
Get more tips on how to ensure you stay hydrated.
6. Have breakfast every morning
Don’t be tempted to sleep in and skip breakfast. Eating first thing in the morning gives you fuel for the rest of the day and helps kickstart your metabolism.
Go for foods that will give you energy and help you stay full until lunchtime. These include high-fibre ones like oatmeal, wholewheat flakes and other wholegrain cereals, fresh or dried fruit, and wholegrain toast. Foods like yogurt, smoked salmon and eggs add protein, while veggie juices and fruit smoothies give you extra vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Rice porridge is a healthy and filling choice, too, if it’s available.
Minimise your intake of processed meats like streaky bacon, luncheon meat and sausages, which are packed with fat and salt; calorie-laden breakfast pastries like croissants and danishes; sugary cereals, which can cause your blood sugar levels to spike and then crash, leaving you feeling sluggish; and oily, fatty foods like fried rice and fried dumplings.
7. Continue your regular fitness routine
If your hotel has a fitness centre, jogging track and/or pool, you’ll find it easier to stick to your usual workout routine. You can also look for yoga, cardio-boxing, Zumba, rock-climbing, Pilates, and other workout classes nearby and find out if you can purchase a few sessions.
If you’re staying in a resort, ask if they offer activities like kayaking, skiing, snowboarding, and the like. These are all fun ways to stay in shape while you’re on holiday.
“In case your accommodation doesn’t have fitness facilities or offer any sporty activities, just pack your own fitness equipment in your luggage and use it in your hotel room,” George says.
Resistance equipment, like bands, are a great idea. George recommends the TRX Fit Suspension Trainer, which activates your core and strengthens your body, and offers more than 100 different exercises.
“Squats, chest presses and the Latissimus Pull are the perfect combination for a complete body workout,” he adds.
Watch our video below for more exercises you can do with the TRX Fit Suspension Trainer!
George advises against using the furniture in your hotel room as exercise equipment. These can be troublesome to work with and you may damage them by accident.
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