Top 10 Holidays For Improving Fitness

Combining a holiday with exercise can be just the thing to either kick-start your fitness or take your training to the next level.

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Time to train and, just as importantly, time to recover, means that you can bring some real quality to your sessions and still return home refreshed and relaxed. To help you choose a holiday that can improve your fitness and is matched to your goals and current fitness levels, take a look at our guide.

This guide covers a broad range of holidays, each of which is rated for its benefit in improving the following fitness components:

  • Flexibility
  • CV training
  • Strength
  • Coordination

The rating system runs from 1 to 10 stars, with one representing the fewest benefits and 10 the most. Simply browse through the ideas and select a holiday that both interests you and matches your fitness goals. And if you’re looking to take your fitness further, then check out ‘The next level’ category at the end of each holiday - which will really challenge your fitness!

Skiing and snowboarding

As well as being great fun, a holiday on the piste can be tailored to a wide range of fitness levels and bring about CV, strength and coordination benefits. Leg strength is particularly key, and a week on the slopes can really tone up your legs and buttocks.

Ratings

Flexibility 5
CV training 5
Strength 8
Coordination 8

The next level: Try offshore sailing on an ocean-going yacht, as this involves continual exercise that will test even the fittest person.

Walking and trekking

Walking is one of the best exercise disciplines available and has numerous benefits, including building CV fitness, building strength, improving coordination and protecting against osteoporosis. Additionally, if you’re carrying even a small rucksack through the day, you will be adding an upper-body-strength component too.

Ratings

Flexibility 3
CV training 6
Strength 7
Coordination 6

The next level: Try backpacking with a full load each day to really boost your CV fitness and strength.

Cycling

A cycling holiday is a great opportunity to explore a new area, improve your CV fitness and build leg strength. Almost everyone can ride a bicycle and cycling brings a dose of fun as well. Some holiday companies will transport your luggage between daily destinations, but even if you travel unsupported, your bike can carry the load and you won’t need a great deal of gear.

Ratings

Flexibility 3
CV training 8
Strength 7
Coordination 4

The next level: Try a mountain biking holiday. Off-road riding is more challenging - even on the downhills - and will help your coordination too.

Relaxing at the beach

Yes, you read this one right. Believe it or not, a relaxing beach holiday can actually improve your fitness because if you’re a very frequent exerciser, the chances are that you rarely take any time off from training. This means that your body has precious little opportunity to recover from the cumulative stresses of your fitness routine. However, a relaxing week on the beach could allow you to ‘bounce back’ and return home mentally invigorated and raring to achieve new personal bests. With all that lying around soaking up the sun, a beach holiday is also the ideal opportunity to really work on your flexibility.

Ratings

Flexibility Up to 10
CV training No stars
Strength No stars
Coordination Up to 10

The next level: See ‘Surfing & bodyboarding’ below.

Surfing and bodyboarding

If a relaxing week developing your flexibility on the beach is not your thing, then a more active sun, sea and sand holiday of surfing and bodyboarding will be much more fun and challenging. Both disciplines require good all-round fitness - with CV fitness, strength and coordination being the key components.

Ratings

Flexibility 5
CV training 6
Strength 7
Coordination 7

The next level: Kite surfing is an exciting fusion of white water surfing with a large, kite-like sail for extra lift. Try it - it’s seriously fun and challenging!

Golf

A very popular holiday activity - and also one that can easily be added to an existing break. A golfing holiday can be enjoyed by all ages - and although it’s a lower level fitness activity, it still brings about several opportunities to add to your fitness.

Ratings

Flexibility 5
CV training 3
Strength 5
Coordination 6

The next level: If you’re looking for something extra, try doing a completely different activity before or after your round of golf - and make sure it’s more challenging than your usual 18 holes!

Scuba diving

A diving holiday is a fantastic experience where you can explore the generally unseen underwater world, and is an activity which requires a blend of CV fitness, strength, coordination and flexibility. A week or more diving every day can make noticeable improvements to your fitness - which could prove to be an advantage to your usual exercise routine once you return home.

Ratings

Flexibility 6
CV training 6
Strength 6
Coordination 6

The next level: Deep-sea diving is a very different discipline, requiring even greater fitness - so it’s not for the faint-hearted! But if you think you’ve got what it takes, then give it a try.

Horse riding

If you’ve never tried equestrian sports before, you’ll be surprised at how fit you need to be to successfully control a horse. Whether it’s a horsemanship element of the sport such as dressage or a faster-paced discipline such as racing, a few days in the saddle can challenge muscles that you didn’t even know you had!

Ratings

Flexibility 4
CV training 5
Strength 5
Coordination 6

The next level: Try endurance riding - which covers distances up to 161 km (100 miles), and requires excellent stamina and local muscular endurance.

A sports-specific holiday

These days, many people are looking to either learn or improve in a new sport or activity, and so they select a holiday precisely to do just that. From running, cycling and triathlon training camps to alpine breaks where you can learn to paraglide, every conceivable activity is catered for.

Ratings:

The ratings depend upon the exact type of holiday that you choose, but as it’s a sports-specific break, each fitness discipline is likely to score highly.

The next level: How about going on a holiday that includes an event or a sporting competition? For example, you could go on a trip to compete in a foreign marathon or a similar event.

Fitness first

Whether it’s a niche market holiday that caters for a specific activity, or simply a vacation where you can combine R&R with regular exercise, you have plenty of choice when planning which fitness holiday to go on.

If you’re looking to return home with something more than just a suntan, then why not try one of the fitness holiday ideas above? By going on one of these holidays you’ll enjoy the usual benefits from your normal break plus gain more energy and have improved health and fitness on your return.