Take an Active Holiday to Benefit the Whole Family

There are many ways to get fit and have fun on holiday, from activity breaks to motivating your kids to get active.

active-family-holidayOne of the main excuses for not exercising is lack of time. But when you’re on holiday you’ve got plenty of time, so make the most of it.

A holiday is the perfect opportunity to get more exercise because you can be as active as you want.

A holiday that involves more than lying on a beach can be an incentive to get moving. The trip can leave you feeling rejuvenated, positive and full of energy.

“Holidays are a golden opportunity to get active,” says Robin Gargrave of YMCAfit, one of the UK’s leading trainers of fitness professionals.

“You may think that you want to lie by the pool all day, but that will make you more tired. You’ll feel more rested at the end of your holiday if you’re active.”

Active holidays are the perfect opportunity to get children moving. They may want to sit and play with their portable video game, but once you get them doing something they like and they make new friends, they’ll forget the video games.

“Holidays are a great way for kids to discover activities that they’ll like and will want to keep doing once they return home,” says Robin.

Taking part in activities with the children brings the family together and sets a good example.

You can opt for an activity-focused holiday, such as cycling, hiking or sailing, or choose a destination where you can do a variety of activities.

The most important thing is to do something you enjoy. The health benefits will be a by-product. “Choose something you’re going to like,” says Robin. “If you’ve never been on a horse before, why go pony trekking?”

Good Preparation

You may need to build up your fitness levels before your trip if your activity is physically demanding, such as skiing, mountaineering or windsurfing.

Start preparing for your trip 12 weeks before departure. “Start a conditioning programme to cope with the physical demands of the holiday,” says Robin. Read our guide to exercising safely and effectively.

“If all goes well, you’ll have a great time during your trip. On your return home, you’ll feel healthy and good about yourself. Your holiday can spur you to keep going.”

Preparation, selection of activities and safety are essential ingredients for a memorable active holiday. “Otherwise, it can put you off exercise in the long run,” says Robin.

Holiday Activity Ideas

Here are some ideas for making your holidays more active:

Camping and Hiking
Camping holidays are affordable, and most children love being outdoors. There are lots of opportunities for exercise, from raising a tent and gathering firewood, to nature hikes.

Volunteer Vacations
Whether planting trees or helping to build houses for underprivileged families, people who spend their vacation time helping others get much more than a physical workout.

Closer to Home
Be a tourist in your own neighbourhood. Exploring the museums, parks and historical sites near your home will be active and enriching. Head out to the countryside for hiking and biking fun, or take a day trip to a nearby city.

About the Author

NHS Choices (www.nhs.uk) is the UK’s biggest health website. It provides a comprehensive health information service to help put you in control of your healthcare.


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