8 places that will inspire you to stay active on your next vacation
Fret not, beginners. We've got your back
It’s tough to tear yourself away from the beach lounger, but a holiday can be just the refresher you need to kick-start a new fitness regimen. You can kayak down a river in Bhutan, cycle through wildlife sanctuaries or even learn scuba diving in the Andamans, building strength, endurance and good gams while you take in the sights. Plus, all the sunlight will do you so much good. So, why not try…
Achieve your fitness goals on your next vacation
Fit for: Everyone—provided you begin training now for this December’s expedition. Exercise on a turbo-trainer, include short high-intensity sessions for endurance and practise cycling on all terrains.
The circuit: If you’ve already ticked running a marathon off your bucket list, sign up for this seven-stage, 875 km mega-cycling group tour that will take you through the Nagarhole, Wayanad and Mudumalai wildlife sanctuaries. You’ll clock over 100 km every day as you pass rivers, villages, mountains and rainforests. Multiple support centres and good medical aid will keep your strength—and morale—up on this once-in-a-lifetime trip. Registration begins in May; start training now. (Tourofnilgiris.com)
Work it: Besides consistent fat-burning, pushing pedals will shape up your butt, thighs and calves. It’s also great for building bone strength.
Fit for: Those with all levels of climbing experience, but serious enthusiasts will find more to love.
The circuit: Nepal’s natural rock faces make it a no-brainer for active holidays. While you can do learners’ day climbs and pick tricks on using the equipment in Kathmandu, the real deal is at Hattiban, a village an hour outside the capital. There’s nothing for beginners here—the four-day climb through forested terrain includes short climbs on sheer mountain faces of very tough 5.9 grade routes. Your reward: unbelievable 360-degree views of the Kathmandu Valley. (Hardcorenepal.com)
Work it: Climbing builds muscle, and boosts endurance as well as brain function.
Fit for: Experienced riders who can endure four to seven hours on the saddle.
The circuit: This safari is a fun way to explore south Rajasthan on glorious Marwari horses. Your adventure begins in Udaipur, moves through the Pali district and ends at the 300-year-old Chanoud Garh. You roam virgin tracts that pass through the 16th-century Bhadrajun Fort, sand dunes and vast salt lands, with lots of wildlife including the famous black buck. Nurse your sore muscles during leisurely meal times. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Work it: Besides giving you thighs of steel, it also strengthens your arms, core and legs.
Fit for: Beginners as well as those who are experienced can find suitably challenging rapids in Punakha.
The circuit: With its clear waters and scenic views, drifting down the rapids of the Po Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers is arguably the best way to see Punakha—you’ll also catch a glimpse of Bhutan’s most stunning fortress, Punakha Dzong, during your adventure. While there are simpler, hour-long routes, the 12 km Mo Chhu river route is more challenging with seven hours of active kayaking and scouting. Along the way you are likely to spot the white-bellied heron (one of the world’s rarest birds), apart from some of the most gorgeous views of the Punakha valley. (Tourism.gov.bt)
Work it: Kayaking is great for building your core strength as well as your upper back, shoulder and chest muscles. It also compensates for your weekly aerobic class.
Fit for: Water babies who can swim 200 metres reasonably well.
The circuit: Sign up for a seven-day scuba camp on this pristine island. All the sightseeing here will take place underwater, as you swim alongside sharks, mantas, dolphins, corals and many small sea creatures. Work your way to an open water certification (PADI or SSI) over the week, after which you can go diving anywhere in the world. Spending every free moment in between lessons, lolling on the beach and watching surreal sunsets is a given. (Diveindia.com)
Work it: Diving and swimming are great cardiovascular and muscular exercises that don’t put stress on your joints.
Fit for: Exercise newbies. You can finish the four-hour round-trip with a few breaks—be sure to pack a power snack.
The circuit: Ditch the crowded Mall Road for an adrenaline-boosting walk through the wooded areas around Shimla. Start the 10 km trek from Shoghi (most resorts are located in this suburb) and hike through the main road till it turns off on to the path towards Suro village. After just a minute’s walk, all you’ll hear is birdsong and all you’ll see are towering pines. The path is ideal for beginners with a combination of uphill and downhill routes as well as long stretches of relatively straight walking. If you’re prepared to take it up a notch, try a spot of valley crossing on a zipline or guided rappelling. (Park-woods.com)
Work it: The hilly, undulating terrain is perfect for a full-body cardio workout.
Fit for: Everyone who enjoys walking.
The circuit: Score a major boost on your Fitbit along Oman’s ancient water irrigation system, also known as falaj. The water channel, carved into the rocky mountains of Jabal Akhdar near Muscat, winds its way across the hills and centuries-old mountain villages. Many of these villages are now deserted and people have started using the falaj system for hikes. It seems easy, but the parapet is narrow and one misjudged stride could send you tumbling down the al-Hajar. Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort organises falaj walks and a host of other adventure activities like rock climbing, mountain biking, abseiling and via ferrata, which involves walking around a
cliff’s edge with a rope tied to you. (Jabal-akhdar.anantara.com)
Work it: The walk is best enjoyed at a relaxed pace, just enough to keep your metabolic rate up.
Fit for: Anyone who enjoys slow, meditative workouts.
The circuit: Mumbai studio Yogacara’s tightly edited getaway introduces you to a new way of life in a little over a week. Led by founder Radhika Vachani, the retreat includes working on your asanas, hiking, meditation and sessions on learning to fix unhealthy eating habits. Pro tip: you can ask for the occasional momo minus any judgment. Sign up for their upcoming July or September retreats now. (Yogacara.in)
Work it: You’ll see big progress in your yoga and meditation sessions. And you will pick up more than just a few tips on living stress-free.