A common lament that tourists make about their holidays abroad is that after a few weeks of eating out and not exercising, they have lost their usual momentum toward optimal good health. There is no reason, however, why travellers need to fall behind in their fitness routines. Indeed, a holiday can provide tourists with an opportunity to recharge their exercise batteries by trying something a little bit different. Instead of working out in the static environment of a gym with state of the art machines, tourists can go “back to basics” and make running their exercise of choice while on holiday.
Reasons to run
Modern transportation systems are wonderful for helping travellers get around efficiently, but they do leave some tourists feeling a little bit disconnected from the fascinating world regions they have journeyed so far to see. Taking a morning run each day can help a tourist to gain a true feel for the land and its people, bringing them into contact with scenes from everyday life that are often missed when visitors do all their exploring by car, train, or subway. The small produce market located up a side street or the young mothers playing with their children in a local park will be barely noticed by passengers in motorized transport. Running, of course, gives tourists a chance to soak in the culture and ambiance of a new region so that they can truly claim they have come to know it.
Well-travelled tourists who have made running a part of their normal holiday routine stress the importance of enjoying the experience. At home, an avid fitness enthusiast may be committed to running five miles per day on a treadmill. On holiday, however, it is best to remain flexible. Setting a target of 30 or 60 minutes “on the run” may be more practical than trying to measure miles, even with a pedometer.
It is also important to remember that all runs are not created equal. Running along the beach, for example, is a great deal more strenuous than pounding hard pavement. This can mean that a shorter run provides just as much exercise.
Tourists who want to make sure that they run every day will probably find that a morning run works out better than one in the evening. Sightseeing and other activities can take longer than expected and might push an evening run into the hours of true darkness, when running may not be safe, particularly in rural regions without excellent street lighting. Running in the morning is also the coolest option in some regions, where daytime heat can linger long into the evening hours.
One of the most important tips for running while traveling abroad, however, will resonate with all experienced tourists: plan ahead. In generations past, this might have posed a challenge, but with the availability of detailed information online, travellers can now call up maps for cities all over the world and research their running routes in advance. This allows running enthusiasts to avoid the “hit or miss” approach to touring an area on foot. Instead, they can deliberately plan routes that take them past fascinating local sights.
It is easy to see, then, that a “holiday on the run” may be the most enjoyable kind of all.
Top image by Josh Janssen