Here’s how to stay active, healthy and fit while enjoying your holidays – for a great start to the new year

Don’t be tempted to slack over the holidays. We all tend to overindulge and little over December. Not to mention the temptation to just switch off and relax a little too much.

While you totally deserve the rest, keep in mind there’s a multitude of benefits to staying active over the holidays. It’s the ideal time to start focusing on your health and fitness goals for a perfect start to the new year.

There’s no need to overdo it, just a few good habits to keep in mind while you’re enjoying our glorious South African summer. At the end of this post, we show you a few quick and easy exercises for the holidays.

Discover your surroundings on foot

Whether you’re away on holiday or at home, now’s the time to rediscover your immediate surroundings and neighbourhood. And do it while walking, running or cycling – why not?

And get everyone involved. Exploring is great fun for couples or the whole family.

Remember to stretch every day

Just stretching properly every morning is already adding a lot of value and vitality to your life. And the holidays are no different. You can benefit from a little stretching on even the most relaxed days over the holidays. We did a post on the best stretches for an awesome day.

Pack your running shoes

Flip-flops are great for the beach, but it pays to actually pack a pair of running shoes when you go away. That way, they’ll remind you to squeeze off a little time to go and explore your surroundings – and burn some of those Christmas calories off in the process.

Use nature as your gym

Just because the place you’re holidaying in doesn’t have all the facilities you are used to, doesn’t mean you can’t keep up your routine. Yes, gym showers and being able to refresh your look after a workout is great. But going for a run on the beach or in a park or forest is a completely different kind of fitness experience. It’s almost therapeutic in a way. Go on. Give it a try.

Create a simple but effective daily workout

Again, you’re on holiday, so by all means relax and recharge. But we suggest doing a simple daily workout routine you can easily go through whenever it suits you. Here are a few great exercises you basically do anywhere, ideal for holiday fitness:

1. Bulgarian squats

With one foot on a bench, stump or bucket behind you, lower your body (almost like you would with a lunge) and hold it there for two seconds and come back up. Do about 10 on each side.

This 20-second video shows you how it’s done:

2. Inclined side plank (and push up)

You’re going to love this one! On an incline, using the side of the bed, a chair or the park bench, do a normal push up. But then rotate your torso as you reach the top and extend your hand up to the sky – like a side plank. Keep it there for a few counts and return. Do 7 reps a side, alternating left and right.

Let’s this 10-second video show you how:

3. Lunges

The good old lunge. Just stand comfortably with feet a little bit apart, step forward and lower your body until your thigh is parallel to the ground. Stand up and do the same with the other leg. Or complete your whole set with one leg and then do the other. Do about 10 reps on each leg.

This 11-second clip shows you what each leg lunge should look like:

4. Tricep dips

Here’s another one you should know quite well. Sitting on a chair, light yourself off with your arms, bending your elbow to lower your body to the floor. Push back up and repeat about 15 times.

This 1-minute video shows you how:

5. Standing row

This one’s a little more tricky because you’ll need to pack some equipment. One popular way is to use resistance bands (for exercise). Just attach them to a wall, door or even around a tree, and keep your core muscles tight as you pull your hands towards your chest. Then extend your arms and repeat. Repeat for 15 reps.

An alternative is using dumbbells. Hold them relaxed in your hands at your hips. Tighten your core and pull your elbows up either side, bringing the dumbbells to your collarbone. Focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together while doing this one.

Here’s a 10-second clip showing how it’s done with dumbbells:

6. Hip crossover

This one works equally well as a stretch in the morning. Lie flat on your back, arms out and palms up. Bring your knees up so they form a 90-degree angle. Tighten your abs and drop your legs sideways, almost like a spinal twist stretch. Bring it back up and repeat on the other side. Do 10 of these.

This 20-second clip show’s it nicely:


Please remember to protect your skin from the sun when exercising outdoors this summer. Note that, these days, even SPF 50 is only effective half of the time. So, exercise in the shade and wear clothing to cover your body, along with every precaution you possibly can take.

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Got a hot holiday exercising tip or question? Let’s chat in the comments below.

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