If you want a change from sightseeing on trips or sunning yourself on a beach, where you will most likely gain a few pounds during your vacation, then there’s a great alternative that will keep you fit and let you explore your chosen destination in a different way. Opt for a new kind of break by planning a vacation filled with physical activities. Choosing an active vacation will help you stay in shape, burn a few extra calories and enjoy a wonderful adventure. If you’re not sure where to start, then here are a few ideas to inspire you.
Among the more energetic activities or sports that you may want to try on your vacation are:
- Rock climbing
- Swimming or scuba diving
- Canoeing or kayaking
There are also extreme sports, many of which have evolved from these, although in some cases, they bear little resemblance to the original.
If you’re going to try an activity for the first time, then you need to be sure to prepare. You’ll also need to consider purchasing essential clothing, shoes and any accessories required for your chosen activity. Suitable helmets, gloves, gauntlets and appropriate footwear are all important for your safety.
- Choose your activity first and your destination second. Not every terrain is suitable for everything that you may want to do, so if you plan to hike and swim, for example, then you’ll need to make sure that you’ve picked an appropriate spot.
- It’s a good idea to get started on a program of practice sessions before leaving for your trip. Remember that it can take your body up to 12 weeks to feel the benefit of new levels of activity. If you want to take a skiing vacation, for instance, then it makes sense to take some lessons beforehand and try out some nursery slopes at your nearest ski center. For other activities, you can practice on a rock-climbing wall, swim laps at your neighborhood pool or bike on a cycling track. Undertake several short hikes during the few weeks prior to embarking on a long one.
- Improve your fitness level in advance of your vacation by trying a few workouts to strengthen both your upper and lower body muscles. You can join an exercise class or make regular visits to the gym. Consult a fitness expert to work out a routine that will help you build your strength appropriately. You can also try cardio exercises at home. Basic examples include leg raises, squats, jumping jacks and hops. Aerobic exercises such as swimming, cycling, brisk walking and jogging are also useful.
- Choose clothing that will help you stay fit when active and minimize injury. You may want to use a back brace or compression clothing such as a shoulder support shirt by Tommie Copper. If you’re planning to hike, then you may find it useful to wear compression socks to give your legs and feet additional support and keep them comfortable. Doing strength exercises before you leave will help build up your leg muscles.
- Make sure that you have all the correct equipment. If your hiking boots feel overly clumsy or your feet don’t feel properly supported, then buy a new pair and break them in before your vacation. If you’re using your own bicycle, then give it a good overhaul and check its tires. Bring spare parts with you as well as a puncture repair kit, especially if you’re planning on cycling over rough terrain.
If you’re considering extreme sports, then get some expert advice on which to choose. Bodyboarding or surfing might be of interest if you’re a strong swimmer and want to do something different. The same goes for kitesurfing, windsurfing and jet skiing. Whitewater canoeing will certainly give you a more exciting experience than floating gently down a calm river, while cliff jumping is at the extreme end of “ordinary” rock climbing. Hang gliding and paragliding are exhilarating, and wingsuit diving is truly a daredevil option unless you suffer from vertigo, in which case it is best to give them a miss.
There are several different kinds of extreme biking sports, including BMX, trials and mountain biking. Sandboarding and sand kiting will give you a very alternative beach holiday, while snowboarding and snow kiting are fun winter sports that make a great change from skiing.
Mental preparation is also important before going on your activity-filled vacation. Remind yourself that it’s your reward for all the practice that you’ve done during the weeks beforehand and that you aim to return refreshed and super fit.