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Meandering thoughts, travel

Active Holidays – Getting your exercise on the Road

What moves you?

Cheryl Richardson

Some say that a photo is worth a thousand words…well, an annotated photo must be worth a million!  I came across this photo, most likely on Facebook, ages ago, and it stopped me in my tracks.  My life has changed a lot of the last few years.  I used to join the gym every winter for 6 months.  I beat my body senseless on the elliptical, pulled muscles with the weight machines and fumbled my way through aerobics.  Seems coordination is not one of my strong suits!

Then something changed.  My favourite gym went out of business.  My travel schedule at work became erratic and I was spending more and more hours driving my car to meet my clients.  It was a downward spiral with an expanding waistline.  Sure, I brought my bike on the road with me, but it didn’t always make it out of my car.  The best intentions are easily derailed after a 5 hour drive!  I bought some running shoes – that is the easiest on-the-road exercise after all, isn’t it??!!  I lost interest.  I am not a runner – finding a route in the dark after a long drive didn’t help to inspire either!  What’s a girl to do?


Cheryl Richardson’s photo really hit me.  If I am going to stay active, it has to be in ways that bring me joy and pleasure.  Simple right!  Yet time challenges still creep in.  Work, family, commitments…they all eat up the active opportunities and procrastination sets in.  But, the buck stops here!  Personally, I am most active when I travel.  I walk almost everywhere and most of my holidays centre around activity.  I know I need to set a goal to keep it alive at home.  What about you?  What are your favourite active holidays?

When we cycle for two weeks in Mallorca, we ride our bikes all around the island, and I can guarantee we see more of Mallorca than most of the sun seekers ever do.  It is so much easier to train at home knowing that I am about to climb some serious hills and need to be in shape!  Spain – last year I embarked on a 43 day walk across the country as I walked the Camino de Santiago.  It felt so good to be out in the fresh air every day, and use my body.  For the months leading up to my departure, I could be found walking the trails close to home with a loaded back pack to get ready for the adventure.  Dubrovnik – while I spent much of my time on foot, exploring the city, I took a morning to get out and kayak for a different perspective of the ancient walled city!   Talk about a great workout – and if you get too hot…a splash in the water to cool down!  Love it.

Active vacations

What happens when I come home?  I am back in front of the computer far too much and my activity levels suffer.  It is time to get back to action!

What about you? Do you do active holidays?  How do you keep it alive when you come home?  

Running and walking is still the most transportable exercise going.  A descent pair of shoes, t-shirt and shorts, and you are ready to roll.  This year, I plan on incorporating more run into my regular life.  I can do it virtually anywhere!  Check with your hotel front desk for routes when you travel.  I was so impressed on my recent visit to Montreal – the InterContinental (hotel review) actually had running routes on cards in your room.  Makes it so easy!

My goal for 2013 – 2 fun runs!  Last year I traveled to Boston to do the New England Colour Run.  Had a blast.  This year – I plan on doing another color run and will add in the FireFly run – another 5K option with a host of destinations to choose from!  Are you a runner?  Where will you travel to run?

Boston, New England

after the Color Run

Cycle touring will always be a love of mine.  It is a brilliant way to get out and really see a place.  Don’t speed by in a car or bus but pedal your way around for a day, a week or a month.  The popularity of cycle tourism is on the rise and there are options for everyone from the complete do it yourself to the all inclusive luxury tour on two wheels.  Savour the flavours of wine country as you pedal your way through picture perfect vineyards and rolling countryside.  There are so many cycling destinations that are bucket list worthy.  My all time favourite cycling destination: Mallorca.  Where I dream of cycling next: Tuscany!

Water Sports including kayaking, snorkelling and swimming with animals (Hello dolphins! Sea Turtles – I see you too!).  I can’t get enough of being on the water.  In the water.  Near the water.  I see a trend here!  While my choices have tended to be a little more passive, adrenaline seekers – white water rafting and tubing may be more your speed!  Doesn’t matter which way you go – getting out and getting your heart beating is where it’s at!  Scuba diving is another great option – what about spending a week somewhere warm getting your scuba license!  So many amazing destinations around the world – I could see spending a week in the Cayman Islands or for something a little more exotic…snorkelling in the Red Sea.

trekking in Nepal

My first view of the mighty Everest. The moment is breathtaking.

Mountain Climbing and Trekking inspire images of snow covered peaks and far off lands, unless of course if you are lucky to call one of those far off lands home!  No matter which corner of the globe you seek, climbing and trekking opportunities abound.  I was first introduced to hiking in Lake Placid as part of an outdoor education program at school.  We did simple camping trips, learned how to plan a weekend in the woods and had a lot of fun doing it!  Nepal and Everest were the next to capture my interest and I fell in love.  Machu Picchu was my next major expedition – seeing the lost city of the Inca’s unfold before your eyes is tough to describe.  It was a tough climb with a lot of altitude gains as you climb over the various passes.  Definitely something worth training for.  Next major climb on my bucket list: Kilimanjaro.  This will take some more hard core training – how would you prepare for Kilimanjaro?

Skiing in Switzerland Photo credit to the lovely Lola, Leah and Mrs O

Skiing in Switzerland Photo credit to the lovely Lola, Leah and Mrs O

Winter sports are a blast!  Why hibernate when you can get out and embrace the cold?  There is so much to choose from.  How does skiing in the Swiss Alps sound?  Snowshoeing across powdered stretches of forest?  How about a weekend of cross country skiing inn to inn?  Who would have guessed how physical dog sledding would be?  I certainly didn’t when I signed up for an exhilarating day with the dogs.  Hold on tight – it is fast and furious.

Winter to me is cross country skiing.  With Gatineau Park on my door step, winter activities are easy to come by.  For others in Ottawa, skating on the Rideau Canal is a popular activity – really, who doesn’t want to skate the world’s largest skating rink?

Yoga retreats may offer a more spiritual and soothing approach to the active holiday, but what a great way to incorporate a more spiritual side to your holiday. I have to admit, I know very little about yoga retreats…that is something I may just have to rectify!

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About Anita Mac

The bucket list just keeps growing! The more I cross off - the more exciting new destinations and activities I find! I have been fortunate enough to travel a considerable distance over the years. My love of many things, including travel, cycling, kayaking and photography fit together like hand and glove. I have to keep asking myself....where to next? I am happy to share my travels and photography through my blogs: http://traveldestinationbucketlist.com and http://anitamacphotos.wordpress.com Hope you enjoy them as much as I do! On to the next adventure!


14 thoughts on “Active Holidays – Getting your exercise on the Road

  1. I at least try to walk every day while traveling. Then I give myself a day or two to get back into the gym again when back home. So far it has been working. Great Post – Happy Friday:)

    Posted by cravesadventure | March 1, 2013, 2:42 pm
    • That is awesome! I need to do a better job of transitioning back to home…if not the gym, most of the travel activities can translate to activities at home. Of course, being in Canada, most are seasonal! Time to make active holidays active home!

      Posted by Anita Mac | March 1, 2013, 3:07 pm
  2. I’m not a great one for organised sporting activities. While I dream of cycling tours of Tuscany and kayaking the inlets of the Turkish coast the reality is I’m probably never going to do it. What I do make sure I do when I’m traveling is walk, walk, walk, and use the stairs as much as possible – like coming in and out of the metro, in galleries, at the hotel etc.

    I often come back with my legs super toned to a standard I rarely achieve at the gym, and despite a hefty traveling diet, never gain weight.

    Posted by frugalfirstclasstravel | March 1, 2013, 5:40 pm
    • So true about all the walking…love how my legs look after a vacation in Europe – we walk everywhere and it shows! Feels so great to be out so much too! Guess that’s just one of the reasons a vacation is so healthy for us! Happy travels.

      Posted by Anita Mac | March 3, 2013, 11:41 am
  3. What a wonderful uplifting post — not just about exercise. But about life — and the world and energy and possibilities!. I own two pieces of equipment, inverter table and rebounder. After reading this, I want to run and swim and climb something too. PEACE

    Posted by Wambui Bahati | March 1, 2013, 11:05 pm
    • Thank you – glad you enjoyed it! I have found so much joy in the activities of my holidays…it is no wonder I really feel so alive while on the road! Whatever activities you get up to next…enjoy…the possibilities are endless!

      Posted by Anita Mac | March 3, 2013, 11:42 am
  4. Love this post. Of course it is no secret that I love cycle touring. You can see and experience so much more when on the bike. Sometimes it is so much fun that it doesn’t seem like exercise, yet it keeps those calories off. Now that we are active, we plan trips based on where we would enjoy riding (usually the mountains).

    Posted by aaronwest | March 2, 2013, 10:18 am
  5. Love the pictures of the mountains… I don’t do active vacations because I use them as my “time-off”! In the last 3 years or so I’ve taken my training a lot more seriously so vacations are recuperation time 🙂

    Posted by Bashar A. | March 2, 2013, 12:55 pm
    • Fair enough. I usually take a week in the Caribbean for total recuperation…although I find I get a little stir crazy if I sit for too long! Love it when the resort has a kayak or something for me to putter and play in the water. Doesn’t even feel like exercise then.

      Posted by Anita Mac | March 3, 2013, 11:45 am
  6. Your plans for active holidays are wonderful! I like to walk when I travel – it seems to help offset the gelato in Italy… 🙂

    Posted by megtraveling | March 8, 2013, 9:26 pm


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