I got inspired by my recent holiday in the Greek island of Astypalaia and I decided to write about different ways you can easily keep fit on holidays. This list is more suited for summer beach holidays, but some of the ideas can be applied elsewhere. You can do just one or all of these ideas. Or a different one each day. If you are in a hot and sunny country, don’t forget to stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun by wearing a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. Here you go.
Swim in the sea for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Just stay in the deep water and keep yourself afloat or, even better, swim a few meters back and forth. Make sure you are safe and can easily get out if you get too tired. Best to stay close to the shallow part, in case you get too tired and want a break. Or you can just float on your back to rest.
2. Do exercises in the water
Water is one of the best places to exercise, because it offers resistance, protection from injuries (water acts as a shock absorber) and the best of all, you don’t sweat! Just make sure you stay safe, in a depth where you can easily go back to shallow waters, if you feel tired. You can do exercises that you usually do at the gym, like lifting your knees to your chest, open/close your thighs, moving your arms up and down by your side, pretend to walk in the water and more.
3. Walk on the shore
Walk on the shore with your legs covered in about 15-20 cm of water. The water gives a little extra resistance and the uneven terrain (sand or pebbles) makes it more difficult to keep your balance. This means that more of your muscles need to work to keep you going, than walking on an even surface. You can make this more difficult by running with the water at knee height. This is easier if the seabed is sandy.
4. Walk or run on the beach
Walk or run on the beach, in an uneven terrain like sand, pebbles or rocks. You can do it with or without your shoes, although I would recommend with shoes on, especially if you run, to protect your feet from sharp debris or very hot surfaces. The uneven terrain requires more energy to keep your balance and you exercise more leg muscles. Especially if you are in one of those beaches with deep, dry or wet sand and your feet keep sinking.
5. Climb those rocks!
If you are in a rocky beach and you enjoy climbing rocks, this would be great. I love climbing rocks on the beach, because I like exploring and finding ways to go where I have never been before. Especially if there is no clear path and I have to find it myself. I love the challenge of ‘where should I step on next’? Again, stay safe and go up to where you feel comfortable. Don’t put yourself in danger. If you like jumping in the water and there is a safe place to do it (deep and without rocks underneath), go for it. You could go back swimming! Personally, I don’t like jumping from high rocks, because I’m afraid of heights. Wear long pants and shoes if there are dangerous sharp rocks or plants. Shoes are highly recommended if the rocks are too hot, or you might burn your feet.
6. Walk instead of driving
Walk or cycle to/from the beach instead of taking the car/bus/motorbike. You can do this if the beach is close to where you are staying. Otherwise you could walk to the next bus stop, instead of the one close to your accommodation. Or you could hop off the bus one stop before your destination. If it’s very sunny, make sure you wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.
7. Paint a wall
Well, I don’t know why you would do that while on holiday, but it is good exercise. I did it in my summer house in Astypalea, because the house is quite old and it needed a hand. Bananas, remember? I didn’t expect it, but I got so tired. So, if you are staying at your own house or a friend’s/relative’s and you have time to spare, that might be a good idea.
8. Take the scenic route
Why not take a longer way to town, to the sights, to the restaurant? Go up the hill to take panoramic pictures, chase that sunset, go to town on foot, get lost in the side streets, take a different route to the beach every day. Especially Greek islands are very suitable for wandering around on foot and they usually have many uphills and stairs. If you walk one big hill once or twice per day, it will do wonders. I’m telling you, there is a big hill to go to my place and I walk up and down at least once per day. It only takes about 10 minutes to go up, but every time I come here for holidays, I go back thinner. Even though I eat a lot of nice local foods and ice cream.
If you go out at night to a bar, club, beach party or local festival, dance your heart out! Dancing is one of the best exercises, both for physical and mental health, and you can do it anywhere. If you are travelling to Greece, why not learn some Greek dances while you are at it?
Bonus: Play beach rackets
Of course you can play rackets on the beach!! I didn’t forget, but I wanted my list to be an even number. It’s a sport similar to tennis, but with different rackets. The aim is to keep the ball in the air for as long as possible. You can buy the wooden rackets and tennis balls from the mini market and find an empty part of the beach to play. This is better on a sandy beach, but you can put your shoes on and play in a pebbly beach as well. It’s great exercise and the best way to get tanned. Just don’t forget your sunscreen or you might end up looking like a lobster!
Are you going to or have you tried any of these? Do you have any more ideas on how to keep fit on holidays? Tell us in the comments.
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