Preparing for an action holiday
Keen to try an ‘active’ holiday, explore the outdoors a little more, or even just get in shape for some summer sports? It’s not that far away, although the current weather would have us think differently.
It’s a great idea to do a little prep work. Now I know this might sound boring and a bit over the top for a holiday or change in sports but if you have been a little sedate over the winter months or just plain busy doing other things then this is a must-read for you. There is nothing worse than preparing for a great holiday or getting into some new sports or routine and you get knocked with either an injury or a sickness and it spoils your great plans. This happens more often than you think. But by incorporating a few simple foundation hacks, you can be ready for a great new adventure.
This is not something we often think about as a preparation tool and perhaps not so much in winter either however it is fundamental to ensure we are at our best. Don’t wait until you are in the middle of your game or three hours into a hike before you think about hydrating yourself. Start 1-2 weeks out if going on a bit of an adventure and build up slowly if you are not used to drinking a lot of hydrating fluids.
Goal: Aim for 38mls per kg of body weight of good, clean water spread throughout the day
Upgrade: Add some chia seeds into your water for extra hydration and energy
Whether you are going on a ‘bucket list’ hike or heading over to the squash courts for a game with some friends, it pays to do some small moves on a daily basis for a week or two to ensure the body is in a position to handle some extra load. Stretching the body past some of its general moves is a great idea to ensure you don’t pull a muscle or strain something when you overextend yourself.
Goal: Stretch daily, especially hamstrings and calf muscles
Upgrade: Try stretching after a warm bath or shower and before bed as you will heal and recover overnight in this new, elongated state.
Check your Foods
Take stock of the foods you are eating on a regular basis – are these foods that will provide lasting energy and sustain you when pushing the body and asking it to do more than it is used to? Switching out some of your foods for others will aid in improved energy and focus.
Goal: Swap any packaged and processed foods for natural, wholefood options – think apple instead of apple juice, berries and oats instead of boxed cereal, kumara instead of potato fries.
Upgrade: Adding in chia seeds or coconut oil to your foods can help boost energy – try some chia seeds in your morning scrambled eggs or mix some coconut oil through mashed kumara.
Find a mini version
It’s a great idea to try out what you will be doing beforehand and to a lesser degree. If you are going on a big hike or outdoor adventure, try getting out and doing a few smaller walks first. Maybe some local tracks so you can wear in any new shoes or equipment, check you are comfortable and have everything you need. If trying a new sport, pick a few key moves and add them into a daily walk or routine. Squash, for example, has a lot of quick side moves so you could add in a few side lunges to your day or some stair jumps to get the body used to some of the moves and see how you are feeling. It might help indicate where you need some extra support
Goal: Choose 2-3 moves or walks and add them into your routine for a few weeks to gauge how comfortable and prepared you are.
Upgrade: Add a little extra weight to your moves or your walks every now and again – some tin cans in your hands or in a backpack to overload the body a little – when it comes to the event you will find things a little easier simply from exerting the body a little more in preparation.
Taking a little extra time to think about what you will be doing and how you can support your body will pay huge dividends. Not only will you enjoy what you are doing more, but the risk of injury and sickness is also greatly reduced.
Lee-Anne Wann is a fitness specialist, nutritionist, presenter and author. She currently runs a health and fitness consultancy business providing companies and organisations with health, nutrition and wellness solutions and content, she also runs a private nutrition practice and was a television host for TVNZ’s ‘Kiwi Living’.