TO WORKOUT OR NOT ON HOLIDAY?
It’s that time of year again where everyone is off on their summer holidays. Whether we’re jetting off to a poolside on a foreign shore or we’re taking a staycation in the UK, we all wonder whether we should continue our workout routine while we’re away.
Opinions are divided on this; there will always be that one friend who tells you that your body needs to have that break (usually while they’re shoving a cocktail into your hand), but others will tell you that if you have too much of a break you’ll lose the strength you’ve worked so hard to build up.
Pros of taking your workout on holiday:
● It really doesn’t take long for the body to begin losing the strength, mobility, aerobic power and general endurance we build up with a regular workout routine. In some cases, it can be just a matter of days before we begin to see a decline in ability. The longer you’ve been training, the less noticeable it will be – but there will still be a decline in ability.
● If you keep up with your training regime while you’re away, it won’t be such a struggle to return to the gym when you come home. You’re also less likely to come back with those extra pounds so many of us return from holiday with.
● Working out while on holiday can be a chance to take advantage of a different terrain, for example running on the beach, hiking in the mountains or swimming daily in an outdoor pool. You might also find that your hotel gym has different equipment you can try out and some will hold outdoor classes which can be great fun.
● Continuing to exercise while on holiday gives you the chance to workout with your partner or family members – people you might not usually exercise with. It’s a great way to spend time together that isn’t just lounging by the pool, reading a book; much more sociable and rewarding!
● Running, hiking or power walking can mean you get to do a lot more sightseeing, and perhaps visit places not on the normal tourist route. So often when we go on holiday we might venture from the pool to the beach and back again, perhaps go on an organised excursion. If you take your running shoes with you though, you can make exploring a part of your workout too. It’s a great way to see some different scenery.
● If you’re a regular gym goer, you might find it really hard to just laze about on a sun lounger for two weeks. Your fellow holiday-goers might thank you for bringing your sports gear and burning off some energy and frustration! Many of us exercise for stress relief and to feel good as much as physical health, and if you’re going on holiday with friends or family you don’t usually spend more than a couple of hours with per day, bringing your trainers can be a wise idea.
● If you’re training for an event you don’t really have any choice but to bring your workout kit along with you for the ride. A two-week break mid training schedule will effectively put you right back to square one, with not much time to catch up on missed sessions.
Cons of taking your workout on holiday:
● If you see your weekly gym routine as another chore to tick off the list, then two weeks away in the sun might be slightly ruined by feeling that you still have to make use of the hotel gym. If it’s going to ruin your holiday to bring your trainers along, just leave them at home.
● If you make the decision not to workout while away, then you won’t need to pack all of your sports gear in your case – which means less to lug around the airport, and less to try and cram back in when you come home.
● It can be good to give your muscles some real time off to recover. A nice, relaxing holiday can work wonders for you and we all need a break sometimes.
● If your family don’t share your enthusiasm for the gym, they might appreciate you actually just spending time with them rather than racing off on a bike ride or to lift some weights. If you’re not working out you can spend some dedicated time relaxing with your family without worrying that you’re neglecting them.
● Taking a break from your training routine might help you to appreciate it more when you return. Also, if you’ve been hobbling about with sore legs for the past few months, you might have forgotten what it feels like to get out of bed in the morning without an ache; taking a break can help you to see where changes might be needed in your routine.
If you are going to workout while you’re away, remember to take into account the change in temperature. Check out our recent blog on working out safely in the heat, and ensure you adapt your routines for the warmer weather.
Similarly, if you decide you’re really not up for any exercise while you’re away, you will need to adapt your workout routine when you come home. You will find that your strength, flexibility and aerobic ability have decreased, and that you need to build back up to where you were before. It’s easy to just fling yourself back into your normal routine, but that puts you at risk of injuries from lifting a weight you can no longer comfortably handle. Take everything down a notch or two, and work you way back up to your pre-holiday levels. Your body will thank you in the long run!
The decision as to whether to workout on holiday is yours and yours alone; just remember that whichever option you choose, you will need to make allowances and adaptations to your workout either on holiday or when you come home.