Fitting in exercise when you’re on holidays

fitness on holidays

What’s the first thing you pack in your holiday case? Your trainers obviously!

Holidays is a great time to exercise, you have more time, the sun is shining and there is plenty of delicious, nutritious food on offer. You can even indulge in a post training siesta – just like a pro athlete!

It’s really interesting how some people perceive exercise on holiday. I’m often met with, why would you want to exercise when you’re on holidays? Well why would you not want to?

Whatever your motivations from training, the immediate feel good benefits of exercise are undeniable. However, when exercise has become a habit, or you ‘re focused on a particular goal, you can take for granted and forget the everyday benefits that it brings.

Exercise improves our mood, helping us to feel happier and more relaxed. It boosts our energy and our memory, keeping the aches and pains at bay and helping us to sleep better! We often don’t realise the impact of our training, until we stop and begin to stiffen up.

Do you ever find yourself turning to sugar and caffeine as a source of pleasure and energy because you’ve been missing out on the benefits of exercise, which you’ve been accustomed to? This is a trap which many of us fall into, especially on holidays.

I don’t know about you, but I want to feel good when I’m taking a well-earned break from work. I want to enjoy wearing my holiday clothes and sleep well. I want to recover from the odd late night and enjoy red wine and the extra cake related treats along the way!

I’m not suggesting that you need a ridged holiday routine. In fact, if you train intensively, for more than 5 days a week, holidays can be a great time to plan in a de-load week, so a lighter and less intense week to allow time for your muscles to fully recover. If you’re usually committed to a sport, it’s really useful to have a week without that level of focus and intent, so you can return back to your usual routine or training plan, feeling mentally rested and raring to go.

Fitting in exercise when you're on holidays Thrive Health & Nutrition Magazine

With all this in mind, here are my top 5 tips to take your exercise on holidays:

  1. A simple run is a great way to have a good sweat and to explore your surroundings, whilst enjoying time to yourself. If you are on a family, all-inclusive holiday, you can somehow get locked into an intense routine within your environment with no time to yourself. Before you know it, it’s day 5 and you feel like there no point in starting now! So, two things here. Start on day 1 or 2 and create your holiday running habit early,  by working out a route. And if you get to day 5 and you’ve still not got going, remember that day 5 is an also a great day to start!


  1. Body weight exercises. There are so many body weight exercises which require no equipment. My favourites are lunges, squats and press-ups. You can also get the family involved and bring them into your workout too. Partner carries, crawling, piggy backs and wheel barrows are always popular with the kids. Check out my latest blog “Holiday WOD” for a simple routine which you can do with limited time and space.


  1. Take exercise bands. Some of us like to use equipment to feel like we’re doing something, if this is you, be prepared with some light weight equipment. Pop a skipping rope or some resistance bands into your suitcase and utilise them in your workout. You can easily build a routine walking forwards, backwards and side to side. Monster walks are my favourite, so banded side stepping – it’s a great way to feel the burn in your leg’s, hips and glutes.


  1. All the extra sitting and lying can take its toll on our posture, leading to back and neck pain. Be proactive about this and take care of your mobility. You can follow a simple routine which includes flexion, extension and rotation of the spine. There are loads of Yoga based programmes which you can download from the internet in advance, or just replicate the moves of the classes you have attended.


  1. Try something new! What a great opportunity to try out water sports and different activities on offer or utilise the pool to improve your swimming. Set yourself a daily goal and gain satisfaction from achieving it. I did this on my last holiday and surprised myself by how much my swimming improved. I also returned home 2 kilos lighter!


So, think about holidays as a time to train differently. The heat,  change of diet, coupled with disruption in sleep can affect your energy levels so, it’s vitally important that you take these things into consideration and choose activities wisely, being mindful of hydration. The main thing to remember is that exercise improves your quality of life and how you feel each day. This will no doubt improve the quality of your holiday and the quality time you spend with those holidaying with you.

Big thanks to Thrive Expert Emma Howells-Davies for this post about exercising whilst on holidays. Read more from Emma at:

Emma has recently qualified to represent Great Britain for the World Functional Fitness Championships in Australia! Read more about her journey and get involved here: