This change can mean that your fitness and activity levels alter over the course of a holiday, often in one of the following ways:
…might mean holidays spent beach lazing, book reading and slacking-off time from your usual run, yoga, swim or x routine.
Perhaps you’re on a cycling training camp riding intensively for several hours a day. Or you’re a hill walker graduating to big mountain walks. Or you may be sticking around the sunny UK and just doing more of your favoured activities.
… applies to most of us. Instead of desk-sitting for the day you may be chasing the kids around a beach or campsite. Perhaps you’ve actively chosen an active holiday doing something new and different – discovering Yoga, learning to windsurf or having a go at some bike skills.
(N.B: I always want to include a huge variety of sports here - the popular and the less so, so in case you do Qigong, skydiving, circuits, boxing, triathlon, netball, archery, squash, climbing, unicycling, horse-riding, sailing, kayaking, WHATEVER - the relevant bit is the change in activity).
Because with holidays and any resultant change in activity, the stresses and strains on your body will change accordingly. These changes can leave you more exposed to picking up an injury. If a client in my clinic tells me that they’ve been on holiday recently it’s not unusual that I can provide a probable link between the reason they’re seeing me and the recent holiday-related change in their activities and fitness. Not wanting to put a damper on your break but a little awareness could make your holiday even better!
If your holiday involves no change in activity in any way then you’ve probably nothing to worry about. But if you tick the ‘less’, ‘more’ or ‘different’ boxes then be a little cautious on your return. If you’re young and fit, you’ll probably get away with chucking your body back into its normal routine. But for those who’s 20’s are somewhere in the distant past, you are fortunately wiser and can probably appreciate the need for caution!
Your fitness levels will reduce. I’m borrowing partly from a previous article here on avoiding injury. Essentially on your return to your norm, you probably need to take it slightly easier than you did immediately pre-holiday. Ease off and then back in gently. The longer you do less for, the more fitness you lose. As a result, the easier – and the longer for – you’ll need to take it (activity) on return to normal life. That all sounds a slightly serious doesn’t it? And it can be a bit depressing knowing that you’ve lost fitness. But providing you ease back in gently you should be back to normal pretty quickly, in anything from a week to a few if you’re taking a standard week-or-few holiday.
Great! Perhaps 🙂 If you’re doing more of your norm – perhaps you’re a runner and the time off is a chance to boost your mileage. Whatever you boost, just make sure that you boost it by a sensible amount, in line with a training plan or just a sensible head, in the same way that you would do at home. And don’t get carried away by some sun and an empty diary: exercise smart!
And be aware that if you’ve had a ‘more than usual’ holiday, then on your return to reality your body may be tired, leaving you more exposed to niggles and injuries. Back home you may need to slacken off from your holiday levels, just for a little while to give you a chance to recover.
Holidays can be an opportunity to try something new and again this can be great news; our bodies love variety and doing something different is a chance to work different muscles, give our usually-worked body bits a break and often provides a great mental boost as well.
The caution with doing different is to be aware that you’re doing something your body is not used to and to let yourself in gently. So if you’re a biker who’s trying out being a climber, you’ll be using a lot of less-well-used muscles in a lot more strenuous ways.
Therefore, start at a level that feels fairly easy and see how you feel the following day – if you feel great then you can up your game a little. Don’t climb – or do whatever new activity yours is – until you’re ready to drop; less is very much more when you’re trying something new.
Say you box 3 times a week and then take a two week holiday that involves no boxing. On your return it might be wise to box your 3 times a week but to put in a little less effort than you did just before you left: reduce reps slightly, don’t hit all-out ’til you drop and maybe shorten the session slightly. Definitely don’t go back in harder than before you left – your body needs a little time to readjust to previous levels.
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