When you've worked up to the wire before your holiday and endured airport hell, you could be forgiven for just wanting to lie around doing nothing when you get there. But while it's important to get plenty of rest on holiday, you don't want to come home having lost your fitness and gained a spare tyre.
Luckily, staying active while you're away doesn't have to spoil your holiday - in fact it can make it more fun, and you'll go back to work feeling more energised than if you'd lain on a sunbed the whole time. Here are some fun ideas for staying fit on holiday plus a few tips for keeping your weight down.
- Take the plunge
Going to the beach is the highlight of many holidays. When you head to the coast, make sure you make it into the sea. It'll cool you off, and research shows that swimming increases sleep quality by 40% - great for recovering from the pressures of work.
- Surf's up
If you've ever fancied surfing consider this - balancing on a board is great for your abs, and swimming out to catch a wave is great exercise. You don't need to be a blonde beach babe to give it a try. Surf schools cater for everybody, and if learning to surf sounds too scary, buy a cheap foam boogie-board and start splashing around.
- Saddle up
Whether it's pony trekking through the hills or a donkey ride on the sands, riding is fun, great for the whole family, and works your shoulders, core and thighs. It's also a lovely way to explore the countryside at your destination.
- Walk the walk
If you prefer to keep your feet on the ground, get out walking. It will tone your legs and butt and burn off loads of calories, especially if you include a few hills. Instead of taking the car to see the area, explore on foot. All you need is some sensible shoes, some sunscreen, water and snacks to keep you going.
Of course you don't want to sit around nibbling a lettuce leaf when you're away - one of the joys of a holiday is sampling local delicacies - but if you're smart you can enjoy your food without overindulging.
- Slow down
Take your time and enjoy the fact that you don't have to eat your meals against the clock. Eating slowly allows you to appreciate your food more and will stop you eating so much.
- Veg out
Make fruit and vegetables the main focus of the dishes you order - it'll make it easier to feel full without having gigantic portions and the vitamins and minerals will make your skin glow.
- Snack attack
It can be the casual grazing that causes the most damage when you're on holiday. Avoid the crisps and snacks between meals - or stick to fruit - and save your appetite for a delicious dinner.
Patricia Carswell is a freelance journalist and award-winning blogger specialising in health and fitness. She has written for the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian, the Observer, the Independent, Times Online, the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, Metro and a wide variety of national magazines and websites. She blogs at www.sportyoverforty.com and www.girlontheriver.com and has a particular interest in fitness for the over-40s.