Taking a holiday should be the most relaxing time of the year. The homeward journey should see your sense of well-being reach an all-time high, but holidays are often a time of overindulgence, which can result in weight gain and a feeling of sluggishness. What can be done about this?
Holidays do not have to be unhealthy. With a little research and careful planning, it is not impossible to find an enjoyable, relaxing holiday that doesn’t include adding inches to the waistline.
A Happy Balance
For those who really don’t want to miss out on a beach break, perhaps combining a trip to the Greek or Spanish islands with activities that soothe the mind, stimulate the body and rejuvenate the spirit will strike a happy balance. Sun-seekers can try yoga for some gentle exercise or Pilates for building muscle strength. There are aqua aerobic classes as well as cycling and walking, not to mention water sports such as paddle-boarding, sailing and kayaking.
Follow the physical activity with some pampering and you’ve got the perfect holiday. Try out a massage or full-body treatment. You can even try a facial or seaweed wrap. If your mind is in need of some pampering, meditation classes might be your best option.
Yearning for the Exotic
If you yearn to visit exotic places there are healthy holidays that can help you to see once-in-a-lifetime places while giving your mind and body the break they deserve.
Visit an Ayurvedic Spa in the foothills of the Himalayas and receive treatments that help to balance the mind and body. Cleansing, detoxing and rejuvenating treatments can be combined with yoga and fitness activities to give an all-round spa experience. You can have your diet monitored, but this is no diet boot camp, with Pan-Indian and Oriental cuisine available in the restaurant.
Take a hardcore Pilates break in Cape Town and receive professional instruction from renowned Pilates experts. This type of break is especially good if you have back or posture problems or want to sort out a flabby tummy. Within three Pilates session, back problems will be greatly improved and by the end of the holiday you’ll have a much flatter stomach as a bonus. Besides the Pilates classes, there is a range of other outdoor activities to keep you busy and active. You can explore the region around Cape Town, take trip up Table Mountain, pay a visit to Seal Island and enjoy an overnight safari to watch the lions. There is even a trip to a vineyard to compensate you for all the exertion.
Strong swimmers might want to challenge themselves with a trip to the Red Sea in Egypt and an island adventure with a difference. Getting from island to island involves swimming, so don’t forget your goggles. You won’t be entirely alone, though, with boats trailing nearby in case you become too tired. Even those who are not especially confident about their swimming ability are covered with pre-holiday training sessions in the UK to build strength and stamina.
Yoga can even be mixed with skiing in the Alps. Start your day with a yoga session, followed by some time on the piste. Then take a stretching session, before returning to the lodge for some top-notch vegetarian supper. You can end your day soaking in a hot tub under the stars, with the snowy Alps as a backdrop. Choose from Reiki or Shiatsu massage for total relaxation or take a Tai Chi class to soothe your mind and strengthen your body.
The great benefit of any of these breaks is that they are suitable for single holidaymakers, groups and couples. A healthy trip that includes some pampering could be the perfect choice for a hen weekend, or something that involves lots of physical activity, including white water rafting or similar water sports, would suit a stag party.
Of course, the traditional boys-only weekend would involve a great deal of overindulgence and the average Newcastle Stag Party wouldn’t involve much more physical exercise than throwing the dice at the casino table. However, it is possible to find the right balance between hedonism and healthy activity. Take a golfing weekend or try out quad biking. Paintballing is great fun. For something unique, why not hurl yourself down a hillside in a giant hamster ball (or Zorbing, as it’s known)?
The trick to finding a healthy holiday is to seek out activities that you really enjoy. A little indulgence is fine and the physical exercise will burn off the extra calories anyway. Best of all, you can round off a busy day with some relaxing time to yourself.
Sarah James is travel adviser who specialises stag and hen party locations. She writes regularly for a range of travel websites and blogs and recommends Newcastle stag party weekends.