Summer is when many of us are taking a longer break to explore new places or to relax in the sun. We get away from our daily routines, including our fitness regimes like Pilates or Yoga.
Sometimes, although we are enjoying the freedom we have on our well-deserved break, we cannot help but feel guilty about not exercising to stay in shape. We may be relaxing externally, but our little internal voice tells us about the day when we will face Pilates class again with stiffer joints, tighter muscles and a little bit more padding.
To help you feel better; remember that our bodies and minds need downtime to recharge their batteries. Surprisingly, things can work better after a break. This is perhaps because our nervous system still digests and assimilates recently learned movements long after the physical action.
However, if your system is used to regular exercise a complete and sudden stop can be unhealthy. Not only may we become sluggish when no class "kick starts" us but we can also become irritable and less able to deal with stress because exercise produces chemicals in the body that boost your mood and stimulate hormones and neurotransmitters (communicator between nerve cells), that can help reduce stress (and lets be honest, going on holiday can be stressful as well).
Exercise also regulates our blood sugar, so without it we may feel hungrier than usual. This means we are moving less and eating more, a combination not many of us would find ideal.
My recommendation is to try to challenge yourself in other ways than you are used to in order to activate different muscle groups and thought patterns to create more balance and to allow tired muscles time to rest.
Four WaysTo Stay Fit Whilst Enjoying Your Holidays:
1) One of the simplest ways to stay fit this is by walking. You can do it a brisk walk the beach, climbing in the mountains, sightseeing through cities etc. This improves your stamina almost without noticing since you are probably distracted by the many new things you see. Should you feel tired or get lower back pain, it is a sign to engage your lower belly muscles as you would in your Pilates class.
2) Swimming is another fabulous workout that strengthens the entire body. The water creates resistance without overloading your joints and breaststrokes are extremely effective for hip joint mobilisation.
3) If you plan far ahead you can scan the area for local studios where you you will be able to join sessions. However, if you are in a remote location with no studios available or language is the barrier follow my simple routinebelow that you can do at your own leisure.
4) Set aside a certain time of the day or a few days a week where you train for 10 to 30 minutes. You could start off with some simple mobilisation and move to more challenging core strengthening Pilates exercises followed by gentle stretching (see some instructional pictures below):
- shoulder and arm circle
- side bend
- roll downs
- cat and cow stretch
- threading the needle
- opposite arm and leg
- abdominals curls
- pelvic lift (bridge)
- hamstring stretch (can be used with a band/belt)
- adductor (inner thigh) stretches (can be used with a band/belts
- swan prep.
- downward dog
- releves and calf stretches
- COOL DOWN
Make sure you keep breathing. Don't worry too much about when to in- and exhale just try to breath in rhythm with your movements.
Try to execute all movements slowly and with control.
As you already know Pilates and Yoga are both excellent methods to keep your body in shape and increase its overall fitness.
It strengthens and lengthens the body from within leaving you taller and energised. Also remember that moderate exercise will keep you fit and more active throughout your holiday so you can return with renewed enthusiasm.
Approach your first week back in Pilates class with patience. The first class after a break can feel really great as the adrenalin created by the excitement of moving again gives you more than normal strength. Yet strangely, the second class often seems incredible difficult, your muscles may be sore and your legs need to get used all those frogs and circles again.
Don't get frustrated, this is normal. Within a week or two you should be back to your usual level if not a better one.