Holiday. Just the word itself evokes the idea of lounging by the pool, cocktails in hand, eating whatever you want. Holidays are usually about indulgence, making it difficult to pass up that ice cream sundae or those really cheap beers and wines on offer. It’s easy to leave that nutritionally savvy and active version of yourself at home when you get to another country, and though trying to stay healthy while on holiday can be challenging, it doesn’t have to be impossible. So here are some tips.
Let’s be honest, the point of going on holiday is to feel relaxed and refreshed, right? Well the main component to that is making sure you’re getting enough sleep.
Travelling itself is tiring, so if your plane journey is long, why not consider taking the time to close those eyes and catch some z’s. Trust us, it beats feeling uncomfortable in your seats, plus you know that when you arrive at your destination, you’re wide awake and ready to explore wherever it is you are.
But it’s also important to make sure you are getting a good night’s sleep while on your holiday. Sure, you can have a late night once or twice – it is your holiday after all – but if you can get a regular 7 – 8 hours of sleep for the majority of your nights, you’ll definitely feel the difference. In fact, you’ll wake up every morning ready for a day of doing anything you want.
As we mentioned already, holidays are traditionally the time to indulge on food. How many times have you eaten junk and fast food only to justify your behaviour with the line “well I’m on holiday!” We’ve all probably done it at least once (or a hundred times) in our life. But being on holiday doesn’t mean you have to eat unhealthily.
Eating well starts on the plane. Who says you have to eat those tasteless, frozen meals they dish up during your journey? Or what about those overpriced and unhealthy bag of crisps you’re likely to buy at the airport? One word – avoid. Pack healthy snacks for your plane journey. Whether it’s some fruit, or some granola bars, or even some trail mix, keep it light and keep it healthy. Nuts are a good choice too, but with some airlines restricting nuts due to allergy precautions, maybe leave those at home, or at the very least, unopened.
But what about eating while at your holiday destination? No-one is saying that you can’t have the occasional treat – we’d never tell you to not eat the cake – but try to keep your meals relatively healthy. You’re likely to start the day with a breakfast at the hotel, so instead of having sausages, bacon, fried eggs, and fried bread, why not have poached or scrambled eggs with smoked salmon on wholemeal toast, followed by a piece of fruit and some natural yoghurt. You’ll definitely feel lighter and your body will love you for it. And throughout the day too, pack light snacks like fruit and nuts to stop your body getting into starvation mode. Let’s face it, when we’re starving, we go straight for the quick and unhealthy options to satisfy our hunger, and that’s likely to make you feel heavy and sluggish. Oh and one last thing, at dinner time, try to keep up with the veggies. It’s still important to get the vitamins, minerals and hydration that your body needs!
Talking of hydration, staying hydrated should be very simple, but it’s actually something that many of us don’t always get right. And it can be even trickier when we are on holiday somewhere sunnier and hotter than normal. That’s why it’s more important to stay well hydrated on holiday than it usually is.
Holiday hydration doesn’t just start when you reach your destination. It’s fairly common for people to be so excited to be going on holiday that they want to toast it with an alcoholic beverage while on the plane. And why not? It’s a time to celebrate of course. But did you know that plane air conditioning is notorious for drying and dehydrating your skin? Add to that the fact that alcohol itself actually dehydrates you, think of the effects this will have on your skin and your body. And let’s talk about the effect of drinking alcohol on a plane. During a flight, the barometric pressure of the cabin is lower than many places on Earth. This decreased pressure environment reduces our bodies’ ability to absorb oxygen, and can cause lightheadedness or even sickness. So add alcohol into the mix, and it can feel like you’re drinking way more than you actually are. Our advice – stick to the water on plane journeys. It might sound boring, but you’ll be thankful for it.
Once you get to your destination, it’s important to remember to keep hydrated there too. We get it, how can you say no to those really cheap beers and wines that are literally staring at you waiting for you to buy them? Perhaps they are free as part of your all inclusive package. Sure, have a few, treat yourself. But try not to drink excessively. We’re not saying that you can’t have a night or two letting your hair down, you definitely deserve that. But for the most part, remember to drink lots of water or even some fruit juice. Whether you are taking leisurely sightseeing strolls or strenuous hikes, visiting the beach or playing a game of tennis, keeping well hydrated is the most important thing you can do. It doesn’t even have to be that difficult. Keep your water bottle in your bag, ready to sip throughout the day, and you won’t have to worry about dehydrating at all.
And try not to spend endless amounts of money on buying plastic water bottles. It’s not good for your wallet or the environment! Take a reusable bottle with you and fill it up throughout the day, wherever you go. This will remind you to keep hydrated, which is super important. One of our favourite brands of reusable bottles to take on holiday with us is Water-To-Go. These work as a filtration system, which means you can fill up your bottle with water from anywhere in the world – from the sea to a puddle – and the filters in the bottle will eliminate 99.9 % of microbiological contaminants found in that water. Incredible, isn’t it? Take a look at their website.
You might think that holidays are for sitting by the pool and relaxing for eight hours every day, but you need to remember to keep your body active. It’s the foundation of good health. These days, all modern, higher standard hotels offer a gym or other recreational facilities to keep you active during your holiday, so there’s no excuse not to do even a short workout every day. And some of it might be easier than you think.
Even half an hour at the hotel gym every morning can keep you feeling fit and healthy. Don’t fancy that? You could always go for a run along the beautiful beach you’re near. Perhaps there is a tennis court in your complex you could use to keep active. Or why not actually swim in the pool instead of just sitting next to it? We think that sounds manageable. Whatever you choose to do to stay active and healthy, it will make all the difference.
Another important thing to do while on holiday, especially if you are exercising, is stretching. Let’s talk about the most important place to stretch your legs and arms – the plane. Honestly, Deep Vein Thrombosis – known better as DVT – is no laughing matter. Studies show that DVT affects about 1 in 1000 people every year, and sitting for extended periods of time in cramped plane seats may slow blood circulation and increase your risk of getting it. And it’s obvious to say, the longer your flight time, the higher your risk. That’s why it’s super important to stretch your legs and feet at least every half an hour, and these can be done straight from your seat. It’s also important to walk around every couple of hours too, stretching your legs and arms, to get the blood flowing around the body as normal.
But stretching exercises aren’t just limited to on the plane. Even a simple stretching routine in your hotel room every evening before you go to bed, can make all the difference. Maybe you’ve had a busy day walking and exploring the area you are staying in. Maybe you’ve been keeping fit all day with swimming and tennis and playing with your kids. Or maybe you’ve had a good workout at the hotel gym. Whatever you’ve been doing, before you soak your aching body in a hot bath or collapse on your super comfortable bed, stretch out those burning muscles. If you don’t, you may find it difficult to get out of bed the next morning or worse, may cause yourself an injury. So take five or ten minutes to stretch before bed, you’ll be glad you did.
Everyone is at risk of skin damage, therefore it’s super important to protect yourself and actively reduce the risk of skin cancer by wearing sunscreen. Make sure to apply – and reapply – a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15, or even higher depending on your skin type. Try to avoid lying in direct sunlight during the hours of 10am and 2pm, when the sun is at its strongest. We get it, you want that golden natural tan, we all do. But try to limit your exposure to damaging UV rays. Be aware and be sensible.
While it’s easy to talk about the importance of protecting your skin from the sun, it’s also important to protect your eyes too. Try wearing polarised sunglasses when you are out in the sun to avoid squinting and wrinkles, and you could also throw in a cute hat to protect your face too – that’s exactly what we do!
Let’s not forget bug spray if you are in countries that have a lot of biting bugs, and of course sunburn remedies just in case you do have the misfortune of getting burned in the sun. And one last thing, come prepared with plenty of sanitizer, especially if you have children, because let’s face it, as much as we love travelling, going on a plane and touching things around the hotel complex can put us in contact with many germs. So stay clean!
Relaxing is one of the most important things to do in your daily life, and even more so when on holiday. After all, to feel relaxed is one of the main reasons we go on holiday in the first place. So after a day of exploring or exercising or looking after the kids, it’s important to make time for yourself too.
Reading is a somewhat slow and relaxing pastime. Take a book – or your Kindle – and sit by the pool during the afternoon, or sit in the comfort of your hotel bed in the evening before sleeping. It’s a sure fire way to unwind and de-stress. Other ways to relax include taking a gentle stroll, taking a nice hot bath, or if you’re feeling a little bit more spiritual, you could even try a bit of meditation!
A little bit of indulgence isn’t a bad thing, it is a time to treat yourself after all. Try not to feel too guilty about the extra calories (holiday calories don’t count anyway, right?) But remember, there are lots of things you can do to stay relatively healthy while on holiday.
There are plenty of ways to keep active, from hotel gym workouts to evening walks. There are many opportunities to eat well, just try not to go for the easy and fast choices – veggies are still important when you are on holiday! Keep well hydrated throughout the day, water should be your number one holiday accessory. Sleep better by getting regular amounts of sleep, at least eight hours a night if you can. And of course protect your skin with sunscreen and your eyes with some polarised sunglasses. But the most important thing to do to keep healthy on holiday, is to relax. You may be on holiday with a partner or your children – or even both – but take time for yourself. Give yourself moments to relax, unwind and de-stress. It’s the most important thing you can do to maintain your physical and mental health while on holiday. Now go and have the most amazing time, wherever you go!
Oh, and we couldn’t finish without letting you know that here at the Reynolds Retreat, we offer a wide range of pre-holiday treatments. From leg and bikini waxes to eyelash and eyebrow tints, spray tans to manicures and pedicures, we have everything you need to feel prepared for your best holiday ever! And to be honest, you could even treat yourself to a relaxing spa day to really get you in the holiday mood!