Healthy Getaways: The Trend Toward Health & Fitness Vacations
By Joey Lee
Nearly every vacation I take involves some level of fitness, racing or training. There’s no better way to see a city than by going for a long run along its streets (I like to carry a small camera). I oftentimes pick vacation spots not by tourism brochures but by race flyers. I’ve been to Brazil, Morocco, Death Valley and many other places for various races. But once the race is over, I’m strictly a tourist, seeing the sights, eating the food, drinking the drinks and meeting the locals.
But there’s a new trend in vacationing that’s taking hold, unlike my vacations where the fitness part ends when the race is over, these are full-on health and fitness getaways, the entire time.
You can find health and fitness vacations all over the world with a wide range of intensity levels. Some take a traditional approach and feature hikes, aerobics-type classes and calisthenics. But others focus more on yoga, pilates, tai chi and relaxation techniques.
When it comes to intensity levels, you can find boot camp style trips that are very intense from the minute you arrive, or you can find settings that are much more serene and spa-like.
The majority of these vacations, at least the ones most appealing to the average person, are the packages that combine spa-like pampering with gourmet, low-calorie meals and exercise.
Some health and fitness destinations are better suited for those who are already in good shape. I know of bike tours where you can precede the Tour de France through the Alps, have a rock climbing adventure or participate in a triathlon camp in the Pyrenees Mountains where you train and learn from experts on how to improve your racing. I’ve got friends who have been to hockey camps and biked through Costa Rica and Tuscany.
There are even fitness and health cruises where the helipad is converted into a Spinning deck, the atrium into a yoga studio and “vacationers” run a 10k on the ship on the last day of the cruise!
But if you’re not ready for that level of “activity,” fear not, there are many vacation plans that are designed for rookies in the fitness arena, where you can learn the basics of fitness and healthy living while also relaxing and enjoying yourself.
There are plenty of different vacation options designed to help you accomplish your goals, whatever they may be. Before you book such a vacation, ask yourself a few questions:
What is my objective? Do I want pampering, hard-core boot camp-style workouts or to kick-start a healthier lifestyle?
What fitness level can I handle? Am I a beginner looking to start a healthier lifestyle? Am I moderately active or highly active and looking to become more competitive?
What kind of accommodations am I looking for? Do I want luxury, rustic, country, city, mountains, beach, desert, domestic or international?
What kind of food do I want? Do I prefer gourmet, international, basic and nutritious or vegetarian?
What other activities do I want to include? Since nobody can work out all day, do I want a pool to lounge by, tourist sites to explore, a porch to sit on and gaze at the mountains or other activities?
How do I want to spend my evenings? Do I want to chill and relax, learn more in workshops and lectures, shop or taste the area nightlife?
How much do I want to spend? Of course budget realities will ultimately determine basic vacation options. How far can I go, how long can I stay and what type of accommodations can I afford?
By answering these questions, you can customize a fitness and health vacation that will invigorate and inspire you, no matter what your fitness level, goals or financial resources.
So the next time you start planning a vacation, ask yourself, “When is the last time I devoted an entire vacation to my physical and mental well-being?” I’ll bet your answer is never. With more and more vacation destinations realizing that wellness is a big priority, you can assuredly find one that fits what you’re looking for, in a location that’s just right for you. Give yourself a break from the normal lounge-on-the-beach vacation and get out there and do something fun that’s good for you.
There are numerous health and fitness vacation websites out there, so I won’t presume to send you to just a few. I recommend that you search for the type of trip you’re looking for; you’ll find there is something for everyone. Decide what you are looking for and then narrow your choices to the ones that best fit your needs. Instead of trying to fit some time for fitness into a traditional vacation, design your vacation to fit your health and fitness goals. You’ll not only enjoy your get-away, but you’ll come back to real life stronger, healthier, smarter and rejuvenated.