A summer break is an ideal time for recharging your batteries and getting some well-deserved R&R. In our previous blog, we highlighted that holiday time was a great time for investing in yourself. It’s recommended that you do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity each week, and although we might tend to slow things down a bit whilst on holiday, it is still possible to achieve enough active time.
But how easy is it to stay active whilst on a #staycation? We have a few practical tips from Dr Christos Theodorakopoulos, sports nutritionist and exercise professional to help us plan for active and healthier holidays;
- Pack your walking or running shoes. Walking and running is a free and easy way to crank up your active minutes. You may find a 20-minute window here and there to fit in a quick walk or run whilst your children or partner take a nap, which can help you explore new areas and local gems that you were unaware of.
- Avoid ‘sport drinks’ and ‘soft drinks’. One of the key purposes of physical exercise is to make our body more efficient in burning fat as fuel. By providing a readily accessible form of energy such as sugar, the main ingredient in these drinks, before or during activities we are essentially instructing our body to switch off fat oxidation (aka ‘fat burning’) and use sugar instead. This provision of energy is extremely useful for athletes taking part in high intensity activities, but for the rest of us mere mortals it is unnecessary and, in this context, counterproductive. A diet rich in fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, dairy products, nuts, pulses and non-processed meat (or meat alternatives) will provide us with ample energy to sustain long walks, jogs and resistance training. If we partake in high intensity activities and we feel that we need an energy boost, the best option would be water and fruit that we can easily carry around with us. One of the most practical solutions would be a bottle with an internal compartment to store fruit and flavour the water…. and voila! You have your own version of flavoured water PLUS a fruit snack that the whole family can enjoy.
- Outdoor gyms appear to be popping up all over the country. This free to use gym equipment often include pull-up bars, static bikes and parallel bars. Why not set yourself and your family a challenge, who can achieve the highest reps in one minute? Or who can maintain a routine over a period of two weeks etc. Having a simple and realistic goal helps to maintain motivation. Alternatively, if you want to do something at home you can aim to perform one set of two or three multijoint exercises (e.g. squats, lunges, sit-to-stand, pull ups, press-ups etc.) for a number of repetitions that feel a challenge to complete. This can be performed before the main meal of the day. For example 20 x bodyweight sit-to-stand, 20 x press-ups and 20 x rows with water bottles, dumbbells or elastic bands, before lunch. This may take only a few minutes to complete but if performed every day (or even every other day), it may help us maintain our lean mass and strength.
- Racket games. You can pick up a bat and ball from most supermarkets, providing you with endless hours of fun for your family. Tennis and rounders will have the whole family running around and can help us accumulate those 150 mins of active time.
- Morning stretches. Before you get started for the day try following a few yoga or pilates-type exercises to stretch your back, shoulders and neck. These areas have been heavily affected by our sedentary lifestyle the past few months, but there are lots of quick routines that we can embrace to help alleviate some of the problems. Youtube can be your friend here, pick the area that you want to target and look for an appropriate video … but make sure you start slowly and aim for a gentle stretch; pain means NO GAIN in this context.