I’ve not long returned from a great holiday trip to Singapore, where the lifestyle was easy and the culture was generally active. But this isn’t usually the case for the typical holiday and I wanted to share some tips on how to stay healthy and active even whilst you are on vacation! Having been home for a few weeks it’s easy to slip back to sedentary ways but these tips can work in the office, on the go, or at home.
Firstly, and aside from this blog topic, dress comfortably! This made the world of difference to me on such a long flight. Being comfortable is everything and these clothes were fantastic! You can shop the look at the end of this post.
On the flight
Regular movement is essential to keep your body content. Not only for the known flight risks such as DVTs and ankle swelling, but also because muscles are made to move and keeping them still for prolonged periods (in awkward positions in your seat) causes them to tighten and hurt. Try these simple stretches on your flight at regular intervals, hold each for around 10-15 seconds or repeat them a few times, and also get up and walk about when you can.
1) Sitting up tall, twist round to one side, whilst keeping your pelvis facing the front. This is great for your spine and upper back. Repeat to the other side.
2) Place one arm behind you back, and use the other arm to gently bring your ear down to your shoulder. This stretches the neck and upper back muscles. Repeat to each side.
3) Cross one foot over the opposite knee. Gently lean forwards and you will feel th stretch around the hip joint of the crossed leg. Repeat with your other leg.
4) Straighten both legs out in front of you and draw your toes up towards you. Slowly lean forwards and aim your bottom back to the seat. This will stretch the hamstrings down the back of your legs.
5) Place your hands on the back of your chair and gently lean your weight down on your arm pits. At the same time stretch your bottom back and push it backwards. This is great for the chest, arms, back, hips, and hamstrings!
Walking is the most convenient way to explore when you’re on holiday and we tend to do much more of this. It’s simple and easy to increase your activity levels just by walking everywhere. I used the “heart” app that’s installed in iPhones to monitor my activity whilst I was away. My app showed that I walked between 15-20km per day in Singapore! This is compared to a “normal” work day of around 5-7km. Ensure you stretch your legs properly at the end of each day if you’re walking the same distances as I was!
I also took the opportunity to step up my workout sessions. My accommodation had a great gym and outdoor pool that were easily accessible and this was a great start to each day. I was so stiff from the flight over, and then from the excessive walking that the workouts felt rewarding. Being at home there are so many distractions that I don’t always get to train as often as I’d like so this felt like a treat. Swimming is not something I do at home so it felt fun to try a different activity too.
Diet- Water and smoothies
Do you binge on indulgent foods when you’re away? Strangely enough I tend to eat better when I’m away. I like to really get in with the culture and spent the majority of the holiday eating all kinds of different asian food. Ok this may not always be the healthiest depending on the sauces or the restaurant, but noodles with veg for lunch was very healthy! I had ice cream to cool down in the afternoon heat, but I actually didn’t touch chocolate, crisps, or sweets for the whole duration of my stay.
I drank a TONNE of water! This was mainly to fuel the never-ending de-hydration feeling I had due to the intense humidity, but also because I was active almost the entire day I knew I had to keep my hydration levels up. I also quickly became a regular at the local BOOST Juice bar, a fab bar that made smoothies and fruit juices and this was my new way to get my 5-a-day if my restaurant meals didn’t provide this.
Disconnect- Wifi and schedules
Switch off your wifi access, social media and all things electronic that connect you to your normal world. This allows you to really embrace your holiday and not get distracted with the social media updates instead. So I didn’t completely switch off, I still had to check in briefly because email is the way for everything these days and I didn’t want to miss important things; however, with data roaming switched off I could only use wifi in my accommodation and the connection here was poor, so I was online approximately 30 minutes per day. I actually found this so refreshing to not be under pressure to send emails, reply, or just “be available”.
Hope that gave you a few ideas to make the most of your travels and stay healthy on the go!