How to Keep Fit & Healthy on Holiday

In Cycling, Fitness / Health, Outdoor, Places, Running

For many people, their fitness and health is a regime, which means having a structure in place and plenty of planning to make sure they maintain a healthy lifestyle. But what about holidays? For some, holiday exercise means the stroll from breakfast to the sun-lounger. But the trouble with forgetting it all is that can leave you feeling guilty, defeating the point of the holiday, and all that hard work is very quickly undone. Holiday exercise doesn’t have to be a chore and we’ve put together a few tips to try to help you maintain a healthy balance, without being a killjoy...

Two women on holiday paddleboarding - a great form of exercise. Photo credit Ishan via Unsplash

Exercise Opportunities

First up: consider what constitutes a normal amount of exercise for you. From there, you can work out if you want to sustain that level, maintain a base level, or even use your holiday to accelerate your fitness regime.  The main thing to consider is activity and energy expenditure and a holiday could be the perfect opportunity to try something new. So, for instance if your main exercise back at home is cycling, you may want to take the opportunity of a beautiful pool in warm surroundings to boost your lung capacity. Water-based activities, such as swimming, aqua aerobics or water polo, are just as challenging on your fitness and may well use muscle groups that you wouldn’t normally tap into while cycling. For example, wind surfing requires an enormous amount of upper body and core strength, which is going to be beneficial to your overall physical fitness and your cycling legs are probably up to the challenge. 

Lady on a green, grassy patch doing yoga

Alternatively, if you’re all about the aerobic fitness, why not see if your hotel runs a yoga class and give your mental health a gentle workout? Or, take advantage of the surroundings and see if you can get some rock climbing in. Each type of exercise works to your body’s different strengths and abilities.

The trick is to find something that ticks the right boxes for you. If it is new and exciting, it’s more likely to feel like part of your holiday experience, rather than a chore, while helping you to maintain your core level of fitness. Plan this when you book your holiday, or if someone else has booked the holiday for you, do your research and work out which activities are available and realistic before you go.

For some, lying by the pool, or relaxing in beautiful cities is the key to a holiday. If this is the case for you then pick the time of day that suits you and explore your new surroundings at sunset or sunrise, go for a run, a swim or a hill climb. Use one of the many mapping apps now available to find interesting new routes. Once it’s done, relax!

Hiking in the summer on holiday

If you are on a family holiday, finding time to exercise around your children can be hard, but again, consider water-based activities with your children. Even swimming while pushing them in a rubber dingy keeps the heart working and the muscles toned. If your children are very small, there are lots of places where you can hire bike trailers, or off-road buggies, which means you can see some sights and put in some leg work.

Windsurfing is a fun, adrenalin-fuelled way to exercise on holiday


It’s never been so easy to find healthy food options now, so wherever you go, the chances are there will be delicious, nutritious choices on offer.  Be prepared to try new flavours and cooking styles. If you’re off to the south coast of England, you don’t have to eat heavily battered, deep fried fish and chips. Fresh fish, beautiful salads and elaborate seaweeds are on offer everywhere now. Likewise, the US isn’t just about the ‘all you can eat’ burger bar anymore. It has some of the best health food shops, diet specific cafes and amazing sushi.

Greek Salad is an obligatory dish if you're trying to be healthy while still enjoying delicious food.

A  few things to remember:

  • take some of your favourite, trusted healthy snacks with you;
  • don’t skip meals – many of us have a tendency to stuff our faces at breakfast and skip lunch. It’s better to have a little of everything;
  • eat protein at each meal and plenty of fruit and veg – if you’re off somewhere hot this can be the perfect opportunity to try new, local varieties, or simply discover what certain foods are meant to taste like;
  • avoid carb-loading, unless it works with your exercise programme;
  • keep hydrated at all times, especially if you are enjoying a cocktail or beer (or both!) in the evenings;
  • when choosing from a menu, consider replacing creamy sauces with a tomato or herb-based one. Avoid battered, deep fried food. Of course desserts are an integral part of a holiday, but otherwise keep the sugar levels down to a minimum;
  • don’t lapse on your nutritional supplements, if you normally take them.


Hopefully your holiday will incorporate some time out and indulgence, after all, that is what holidays are for, but they are also opportunities to see new sights and try new things. Why not make exercise a part of that? Have a great holiday!

Image Copyright: Greek Salad: seewhatmitchsee / 123RF Stock Photo Hiking in Summer: ammentorp / 123RF Stock Photo Wind surfer: beisea / 123RF Stock Photo Yoga on the grass: adam121 / 123RF Stock Photo