Summer holidays are a time to relax and let go. But it doesn’t mean our good health habits need to go on vacation, too. Here, health experts share some easy ways to help you feel rested and energised during and after your summer break.
Being lazy is one of the great pleasures of balmy summer holidays. Sleeping in, not rushing anywhere and savouring time to read, lie about and to enjoy leisurely meals.
It’s when vacation means letting go of sensible eating and regular exercise that we can run into trouble, and wind up returning from our break feeling heavy and guilty.
So these summer holidays, take a little inspiration from our leading health experts – and how they keep their own holiday health on track.
Zoe Wilson is HFG’s dietitian, and also has a private practice specialising in weight loss.
Claire Turnbull is a registered nutritionist who runs a private nutrition practice.
Rose Carr is a nutritionist and writer, who hopes to help people understand the facts and dispel the myths about nutrition.
Dr Gary Deed is a medical practitioner with 20 years’ experience and a special interest in diabetes.
Glenn Cardwell is a leading Australian authority on nutrition, and has written a number of books on healthy eating.
Dr Helen O'Connor is a senior lecturer in nutrition at the University of Sydney and a leading sports dietitian.
Catherine Saxelby is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and author of Catherine Saxelby’s Complete Food and Nutrition Companion.
Michael Hennessy is the senior exercise specialist at OUTFIT health + fitness, with a passion for marathon running and the outdoors.
Professor Jennie Brand-Miller is a founding researcher of the Glycaemic Index and author of 16 books in low-GI eating.
Our experts’ tips
“Download a calorie counter app. Sometimes it all clicks when you see where your holiday kilojoules come from.” – Catherine Saxelby
“The first thing I pack when I go away is always my gym pants, T-shirt, trainers and my iPod – having the right stuff with you is a great start!” – Claire Turnbull
“Try doing 20 lady push-ups [push-ups on your knees] three times each day. Good for the arms and the core body muscles.” – Prof Jennie Brand-Miller
“Before I go away, I check out where local walks are and try to plan in some interesting and active days as part of my trip.” – Claire Turnbull
“Be prepared. Make sure you’ve got adequate supplies of any medicines that you are taking as well as investing in a first aid kit for the car or for overseas.” – Dr Gary Deed
“I always carry a water bottle on holiday and aim to fill it up a certain number of times a day (maybe 3–4 depending on the size of the bottle!). It is very easy to forget about hydration when you’re out of your normal routine.” – Claire Turnbull
“Watch out for boredom eating – when out of your routine you may find yourself grazing in your spare time. Instead, use this time well to catch up with stuff you never get time to do. Get out of the house – walk the dog, get a massage, or even just read a book and hang out in the backyard” – Dr Helen O’Connor
“An exercise DVD (or two) can be used anywhere you can find a DVD player. And your friends are bound to join in!” – Rose Carr
“A summer barbecue is the perfect time to try a lower-alcohol wine. There are some great options available now, and you can enjoy a drink without adding too many kilojoules.” – Zoe Wilson
“Don’t sit for long periods of time… it’s toxic to your metabolism. Break up long periods of inactivity (eg. in front of the TV, watching a DVD) by just getting up and about, even if it’s just for a minute.” – Prof Jennie Brand-Miller
“Try to fit in 60 minutes of brisk exercise if you’re away or on leave; say an early morning walk for 30 minutes and then later in the afternoon a swim for half an hour when it’s hot.” – Catherine Saxelby
“I have some healthy snacks stashed in the car for long trips. Otherwise, if I get hungry, I tend to grab whatever’s at the a service station to keep me going – and often that’s not something I really like or want.” – Rose Carr
“Take advantage of the extra sunlight and go for a walk every day. Comfy shoes. Take the dog. Or cycle. Perfect for those of us who don’t like golf.” – Glenn Cardwell
“Resistance bands are perfect for dozens of strength training exercises and will fit into your suitcase. A skipping rope will also take up next to no room.” – Michael Hennessy
“When I go away with a group of friends, rather than eating out for every meal, we try to have a night where each person or couple will cook dinner for everyone. That way we avoid some of the nutrition pitfalls of eating out – and save money, too.” – Zoe Wilson
“Try this a couple of times a week while you’re away. Choose four exercises for your ‘mini-maxi circuit’. Complete the circuit of your four chosen exercises (using 10 or 15 repetitions) as many times as you can in 15 minutes. You’ll soon see this workout gets its name from the ‘maximum benefit in minimum time’ you’ll need to invest.”
Push-ups, squats, lunges, tricep dips, abdominal crunches, sit ups, planks, burpees or mountain climbers as these are all easy to do in a small space like a hotel room. If you have access to stairs, hills, a park or a gym then the options for your four exercises are endless.
10 push ups
10 lunges (each leg)
10 sit ups
Having done these, repeat the cycle over for 15 minutes.
“I completed over eight cycles and felt fantastic all day. My legs certainly felt like they had worked hard, even though it was only a 15-minute session.” – Michael Hennessy