Having an established exercise routine is brilliant. Once your body is used to it, routine makes it easier to find the willpower to hit the gym for a workout or head out for a run. However, when you get too attached to a routine, it can be a bad thing.
Many will be heading off for a much-needed summer holiday – but while we’re all happy to leave work behind for a while, the break in the routine can leave some of us struggling to maintain our usual training regime.
A little exercise while on holiday is no bad thing, but if you find you’re still working out every day because you’re worried about losing the fitness you’ve carefully built up over time, we’re here to set your mind at rest.
“The body will not ‘forget’ your gains from exercise or totally relapse during a short vacation – even exercise at a top level of sport is programmed using phases,” says Marvin Burton, head of fitness at Anytime Fitness. “At the end of each phase, there are breaks and natural reductions in physical activity.”
If it helps, try to remember that even the best athletes in the world go on holiday and ease off their training regime.
“Having a break isn’t a crime,” says Burton. “Every professional athlete has breaks, so why can’t you? Use the time to re-evaluate your training, celebrate your hard work and come back with a new plan, a fresh approach and a rejuvenated body.”
If that hasn’t convinced you, here’s Burton with five more reasons why relaxing during your holiday will probably do you more good than harm.
1. You Can Prioritise Recovery For Once
“The most important part of any training plan is recovery,” says Burton. “Allowing your body time to recover will give your central nervous system time to settle, and afford your muscles time to repair and for tissue to develop.”
2. You Can Dose Up On Vitamin D Naturally, Instead
Assuming you’ve gone somewhere sunny, hitting the lounger rather than the gym will do your body a world of good.
“The time in the sun will provide you with some much-needed vitamin D,” says Burton. “This can contribute to an array of health benefits, including supporting the health of the immune system, brain and nervous system, and having a positive impact on lung function and cardiovascular health.”
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3. Your Body May Be As Stressed Out As Your Mind
“The reduction in physical stress created from exercise will reduce your cortisol levels and could even lead to further fat reduction,” says Burton.
4. You Can Catch Up On Sleep Instead
Assuming your holiday plans don’t include too many late nights, you’re likely to get more kip than usual, which again will boost your recovery.
"The additional sleep can reduce stress, improve your alertness and speed up reaction times,” says Burton.
5. Time Off Can Help Avoid Overuse Injuries
“Having a break will reduce your risk of injury by allowing your joints time to recover,” says Burton. “We often don’t worry about overuse injuries until it’s too late. Regular training creates inflammation in the body, so rest is vital to success.”
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Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.