With international travel still yet to be encouraged for Brits this summer, the chances of many of us jetting off to the sun-soaked territories of Europe is seeming rather unlikely.
While some may see it as a missed opportunity to laze by the pool or have a dip in the Mediterranean, there are plenty of exciting opportunities to explore the UK and discover new activities at the same time.
For many people, the idea of a holiday means totally switching off and sinking into the ‘out of office’ mindset of lie-ins, beach days and leisurely strolls. For others, a holiday means escaping the day to day by exploring somewhere new and immersing themselves in adventures and activities!
Neither is right or wrong, and sometimes we need to rest our bodies, but after the last year, it’s likely that you’ll want to embrace the escape of lockdown life by trying new things and spending time with your family in a new way.
Active holidays have seen a growth in popularity in recent years, encouraging couples, friends and families to spend time with each other and explore new places while trying fun and exciting activities. But heading straight into new activities or exercise you haven’t tried before might end up with you spending a bit more time resting than you had planned.
In this blog, we’ll be exploring 5 sporty staycation ideas and what you should do to prepare your body for them!
- Walking holidays
Upgrade your local lunch time walk by stomping through some of the UKs most beautiful scenes, exploring at a slower pace to take in all the views. Check out the AllTrails app for on-the-go routes or use the good old fashioned OS map to get you around.
Good locations: The Cotswolds, South Downs, Yorkshire Three Peaks
Prepare your body by: Getting used to longer local walks to build up your leg and core strength, endurance, and joint mobility. Longer walks can take a toll on your knees, hips, feet and back so make sure you are increasing distance and the difficulty of terrain incrementally.
Joanna’s advice: I am a passionate hiker so can highly recommend you upgrading your walking kit to include appropriate footwear. A decent pair of boots are an absolute life saver! And to avoid spraining your ankles when you are on rough ground or getting painful knees when you are descending steep hills why don’t you consider signing up for an injury prevention MOT where we can check your balance, control, coordination and strength well in advance of your holiday? That way you can have a tailored exercise program to help you prepare. Oh, and make sure to match your training program to your holiday, if you are going somewhere hilly, make sure to improve your stamina by fitting in regular climbs!
- Cycling holidays
Take your loved ones for a spin with a cycling holiday! Explore further afield by bicycle and rack up the kilometres or take it slow to soak in the views – it’s up to you.
Good locations: Kent, Gloucestershire, West Midlands
Prepare your body by: Building muscle in your quads, glutes and calves as well as your core and shoulders – you might not think it but these all get effected too! Cycling can be a burner so the sooner you can start building these muscles, the less you’ll seize up after a long day on the track.
Joanna’s advice: Having ridden around Germany, the French Alps, the Sierra Nevada’s in Southern Spain and up and down the coast line north of Barcelona more times than I care to remember, I know from experience that now is a good time to focus on developing your inner core and improving your posture. And whilst a sore bum from a long day in the saddle is definitely a high/ low light of the holiday, worse still are neck and shoulder issues brought about by poor posture. Get in touch to find out about how our Pilates Classes can help keep the pain at bay before you hit the saddle!
- Horse Riding holidays
2 wheels might be better than four, but four legs are better than two! Get friendly with these gracious beasts and explore new climes on horseback. Horse riding be an incredible experience and stables tend to place beginners on gentle giants so you can enjoy the views and relax.
Good locations: The New Forest, The Peak District, Dorset
Prepare your body by: Building your core strength in order to support good posture – there’s no back to a saddle, so engaging your core is necessary to protect your back. It’s also a good idea to start building your quad and inner thigh strength as you’ll be squeezing your legs to say, ‘go’!
Joanna’s advice: As a keen equestrian for a good decade, long distance riding was my passion. There is nothing more liberating than spending time in the saddle and really getting lost in nature. But with long distance riding comes a whole wealth of muscle soreness as well as an aching back. Being balanced and in control of your own body allows you to find a whole new level of connection with your beloved horse. So, think about joining in with our Pilates classes to help reconnect with your body!
- Camping holidays
Get back to nature with a camping holiday. These can be great fun, especially with the family! Explore the local area by day then pitch your tent, toast some marshmallows and snuggle down for the night. The coasts are great for camping because you can head to the beach during the day and stroll up to camp sandy, sleepy and ready for some quality time.
Good locations: Devon, Cornwall, Norfolk
Prepare your body by: Working to improve your overall spine health in preparation for camping beds or mats. Mobility and core strength can play a big part of overall spine health so consider Pilates or speak to our therapist, Joanna, if you are concerned about an existing spine injury.
Joanna’s advice: I am more than partial for a bit of camping, but being the owner of a former “dodgy back” I am well aware that a change in sleeping surface can wreak havoc on your back. Don’t hesitate to book in for an injury rehab appointment so that we can help you banish that bad back like a bad case of nettle rash with a tube of Savlon! If nothing else, a course of Pilates will help you strengthen up your inner core to help your back tolerate the harder sleeping surfaces.
- Golf holidays
Perhaps not the one for a family holiday but golf holidays are great fun for couples or friends and can keep that competitive spirit alive while enjoying time with loved ones.
Good locations: East Sussex, Warwickshire, Wales
Prepare your body by: Improving your upper body strength and spine flexibility. Golf courses have been closed for a long time so be cautious when starting up again. Core work is great for improving your golfing performance while protecting your spine from injury.
Joanna’s advice: Who doesn’t love heading over to a golf driving range for a session of smashing balls. For those more serious about golf, then it is likely that you may be dealing with back, neck and shoulder pain – during or after your session. A big part of preparing to play golf is adding in “anti” exercises. Think anti-flexion, anti-extension, anti-rotation. These help to develop your tolerance for the fast-moving swings. A course of Pilates or a bespoke 1:2:1 rehab program could be exactly what you need to help you enjoy your holiday, allowing you to play for longer and also help improve your game!
We know holidays don’t come cheap, so it’s important to make the most out of these experiences with your loved ones. Dormant injuries can often return once you start exercising again, so don’t wait until 2 weeks before your holiday to get in some training. It takes time to build muscle in a safe way without causing injury and exercising on an existing injury can do considerable damage leading to a longer rehabilitation.
At Balanced Bodies, we’re here if you are experiencing pain or discomfort with an injury, but we’d much prefer to help you avoid them in the first place. Please get in touch with our expert Graduate Sports Therapist, Joanna, if you would like to discuss more specialised treatment options that perfectly suit your needs – we offer a free 20-minute consultation so you can feel 100% confident and happy before committing to anything with us.
Screw the beach body sentiment, this is all about helping you feel strong and capable of trying new things and spending active time with your loved ones. Want to start building your strength or mobility for summer? Check out our Stretchy Bodies and our Strong Bodies classes in our April class timetable below: