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Dr Jane Read

Whether you are jetting off to relax on the shores of a tropical island, or planning an adventure vacation, don’t forget the importance of staying fit and healthy on your trip.  Exercise is vital to keeping you healthy and helps prevent chronic disease.  It also can improve your mood, give you more energy, improve strength and prevent weight gain.  A few small studies have looked at changes in body weight during holiday periods, concluding that people gain small but significant weight during their vacation.


Here are some tips and easy ways to help incorporate exercise into your next vacation.

  • Make sure you always pack your running/walking shoes and exercise gear.  Take a fitness tracker with you. This is the perfect way to monitor your activities and keep you motivated to do exercise on the trip.
  • Schedule time for a ‘workout’ each day. It might mean you set your alarm an hour early, so you can complete your ‘workout’ before the day starts. 
  • Walking and running are great ways to explore any city and keep fit at the same time.   When planning your trip, find some good city walking tours, or design one yourself!  Try and walk everywhere.  It is surprising how far you walk when spending a day in a foreign city seeing the sights, and it’s a great way to explore!

girl traveling europe

  • Book a holiday that automatically has you being active.  Try some adventure activities if you are physically able.  You could keep it simple and hire bicycles to get around, or if adventure is what you are after, try some rock climbing, hiking or snow-skiing.  Water activities such as surfing or stand-up paddle boarding also provide an effective workout, and are much harder than they look!
  • If staying in a hotel, book somewhere with adequate gym or pool facilities. Have a 30-minute circuit that you have tried and are comfortable with. This will enable you to fit the circuit into your schedule when it’s convenient to you.  Research supports the use of high intensity interval training (HIIT) with intermittent recovery times to burn energy and get fit.  Thirty minutes of HIIT is more likely to produce results than an hour of wandering from different pieces of equipment without a plan.  
  • Have an online workout you can perform in your hotel room.  Many highly-qualified fitness trainers have taken their programs online.  It’s easy to squeeze in some exercise before you start seeing the sights, or lazing around the pool.  There are plenty to choose from that are freely accessible online.  Set up your smart device before breakfast, and complete a ‘workout’ before you even step out for the day.
  • Aim to meet the national guidelines of 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise at least 5 days a week. Check with your doctor if you haven’t exercised for a long time, especially if you have any chronic illnesses.

Now that you’re set for adventure and know how to keep active, you’ll have an even better holiday than you had dreamed of.  You’ll return feeling invigorated and avoid the excess weight often attributed to holiday fun!


Dr Jane Read is a Sydney-based GP Registrar who also holds a Masters Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Deakin University in Melbourne. In addition to working in general practice, Jane works as a freelance nutrition and medical writer, and has been a nutrition consultant to various corporate clients.

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