With active, adventure and wellness getaways on the rise, travellers are increasingly searching for holidays that allow them to shake up their fitness routine.
Step out of the gym and head to one of these top #FitTravel destinations, recommended by travel experts.
Hit the slopes in the Alps
Did you know that moderate downhill skiing can burn up to 400 calories an hour? Not only is skiing great for your balance and core strength, but it gives the quadriceps and hamstrings a good kick up the gluteus maximus.
The slopes also offer a fantastic workout. “Snowboarding tones virtually every muscle in your body,” reports Teresa Richardson, Managing Director of The Travel Corporation in South Africa, which operates guided holiday brands Trafalgar, Contiki and Insight Vacations.
“From the chic winter sports resort of St. Moritz in Switzerland’s Engadin Valley to the pretty Austrian town of Hopfgarten, the Alps are a stunning outdoor gym,” she adds. “Contiki’s beloved gasthof in Hopfgarten has been given a facelift, just in time for the winter season. It’s the perfect place for travellers to enjoy some après-ski action.”
Europe in winter is also a magical experience for South Africans more familiar with post-braai swims in December than snow. “It can also be more affordable to travel to Europe in winter than in summer, and there are fewer tourists and queues.”
Top tip: Up the cardio workout by walking up the slope rather than using the ski lift.
Take to the water in Mauritius
Think all you can do on your favourite tropical island is sleep, eat and chill on the beach? Not so (although we love doing that, too).
“Most Mauritian resorts offer snorkelling, waterskiing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, kayaking and stand-up paddling,” says Nicky Potgieter, Leisure Marketing Leader at Flight Centre.
“These water-based activities get the heart rate up, allowing you to keep fit and have fun in an island paradise. Many resorts, such as Beachcomber’s properties, include complimentary watersports in your holiday package.”
When you’re done with your activities, sink into a poolside lounger for a well-deserved rest, cocktail in hand. After all, wellness is about balance. Right?
Find your centre in Bali
Some refer to Bali as the last paradise on earth, and this Indonesian island is heaven for those looking to stay fit.
Hike the lush sweeps of forests on volcanic mountains or the steeply terraced rice paddies. Dive into the depths of the warm waters off of Menjangan island to snorkel or scuba dive.
But it’s not only cardio or strength training that’s important for keeping fit. Wellness and self-care are essential to keep body, mind and soul healthy.
G Adventures’ newly launched wellness itineraries offer the fit traveller the perfect balance between rest and relaxation. “From Costa Rica to Bali, Iceland and Thailand, there are rejuvenating activities, healthy food and small groups of only 12 passengers, which allows you to connect to the destinations and yourself,” says Jane Davidson, Director of Development Promotions, which represents G Adventures in South Africa.
For spiritual seekers, Bali has a multitude of options to soothe the mind, body and soul. From daily yoga and meditation sessions, traditional healing ceremonies and holy baths and visits to Hindu temples such as Tirta Empul, you can ensure that your mind and soul is as fit as your body in Bali.
Salsa in Spain
You only need to watch a few minutes of saucy salsa to see how fit these dancers must be. Throw on some heels and swirl your way to Barcelona, one of the most salsa-friendly destinations in the world, revered for its abundance of salsa clubs. Antilla Salsa, Habana Club and the Mojito Club are some traveller favourites in Barcelona.
“Watching flamenco dancing is an absolute must-do experience when in Spain,” says Richardson. Flamenco dancing is a highly expressive, solo Spanish dance form. “Our Trafalgar travellers in Seville get to experience this colourful cultural performance for themselves, and always dance their way out with huge smiles on their faces.”
There’s never been a better or more fun way to get fit than jetting off to a new place.
Keep fit hacks when travelling
Think beyond the gym. That stretch of glorious beach, swimming pool or exciting new city can become your new gym. Hit the road, do some laps or carry portable workout gear for a cardio session in your hotel room. If you’re a runner, look on the Parkrun website to see if there is one near you. As a bonus, you’ll get to meet some locals.
Use active apps. If you prefer a set workout, use your phone as a personal trainer. With Apps such as the Nike+ app for running and workouts and yoga apps such as MindBody, which locates yoga studios in your area, there’s no excuse for letting your fitness slide.
Get creative with weights. A water bottle or rolled up towels or clothing can be used as weights.
Written by Jenna Berndt
Author: Pedro van Gaalen
When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.