I recently returned from a summer holiday in France, where I spent 10 full days relaxing by the poolside. Holidays are a real rarity for me, but with a lack of wifi at the Villa, a blessing in disguise, I was forced to give work a little breather. Whilst most people I know use their holidays to forget about their workout routine, I actually tend to challenge mine with a far more peaceful backdrop. It can be rare to come back from a holiday feeling fitter than you came, but that is always what I aspire to do. I don’t want to just feel rested, I want to feel completely rejuvenated too!
Of course, if you’re staying at a hotel you may have a gym and some good equipment at your finger tips but often I find myself staying in homes that have none, so have the need to improvise a little. In case you find yourself in the same position over the next few summer months, I thought I would put together a list of my go-to items to travel fit.
For the plane
The prep for a wonderful holiday starts on the plane. If my flight is 1 hour or 12 I approach my hand luggage in the same way – 20% entertainment, 10% beauty (normally just a hairbrush, mascara and moisturiser) and 70% self care essentials. These essentials are to help me have the most comfortable flight, keep my muscles happy and my body hydrated. Here are my go-to’s:
The socks work by applying pressure to the ankle to help blood flow, which during a long haul flight in particular can significantly reduce risk of DVT and leg swelling. I’m quite prone to swollen ankles on planes, so these are one of my musts.
2 – Swell Bottle
The lack of humidity in the cabin air can often lead to dehydration if you’re not careful. Despite the idea of using the airplane loo every 30 minutes not being all that appealing, the fact is that for muscle health keeping hydrated is absolutely vital. I carry my Swell Bottle around everywhere, it keeps the water cool, and is a good marker for how much water I’ve been drinking.
3 – Massage Balls
I always get foot cramp on planes, it may be the lack of movement, but I never can escape it, so always come prepared. A tennis ball or small bouncy ball is a hand luggage must for me. I’ll put it underneath the sole of my foot and apply pressure rolling it around to release tension. You may get one or two funny looks but it’s absolutely worth it.
The most common way to get traveler aches is the way you sleep. I’ve never been a huge fan of neck pillows but ones with memory foam have helped me considerably in my quest to get rid of those post flight pains.
For the Holiday
If only Ryan Air allowed heavier bags I could be tempted to bring most home workout gear, but sadly (or luckily) that isn’t the case. For the holiday I recently returned from I kept my fitness gear small and light, bringing just a few things to spice up my workouts. After all, you can do a billion different things with just your own body weight, and that doesn’t get a heavy luggage charge!
1 – Resistance bands
Resistance bands are my favourite way to incorporate strength-training exercises to a workout without weights. You can have a full body workout by increasing the intensity with the different band strengths. They truly are the perfect portable item, as well as being incredibly inexpensive and easy to store.
2 – Ankle weights
If you are able to bring a weight, ankle weights are my go-to when on holiday. I use ankle weights to enhance my core workout, strapping them to my feet as I do hundreds, russian twists, bicycles – the lot.
3 – Jump rope
I tend to incorporate a little bit of cardio into every workout I do, and a jump rope is a great way to challenge this in a small space. Of course you can use interval sprints or long distance running for cardio anywhere in the world but if you want something for a circuit, this is your guy.
4 – Boxing gloves
I love working out with people, it always inspires me to push a little harder and reach a new PB. Boxing always fires up my competitive streak, which makes for the best workouts. As long as you have a pads partner, and they don’t mind you punching them over (kidding), this is a really fun way to change up your routine.