Fitness holidays: Inspiration for perspiration in 2013
Time to get healthy on holiday? These fresh ideas for active breaks should help you work up a sweat, says Aaron Millar
Get fit, lose weight … New Year's resolutions rarely last. A week into January and most of us are already wavering in our promise to work off that Christmas turkey. What's needed is a little inspiration to keep us going. Adventure holidays can do just that by putting fun at the forefront of fitness. Why pound the treadmill when you can run in the Himalayas? Why stay static on a fitness bike when you can cycle amid splendid mountain scenery? Or lap the pool when you can swim the Caribbean? Stick to your New Year's resolutions with one of these adventure fitness trips.
Mountain bike the Yukon
Swap static gym bikes for the wide-open vistas of the Yukon Territory in a new mountain biking trip to the wild north-west of Canada. Pedal through gold rush history and the land of the grizzly bear on more than 800km of mountain trails that surround the region's capital city of Whitehorse. Stay in luxury yurts, and dine on home-cooked Yukon food and locally brewed beers.
H&I Adventures Mountain Biking Worldwide (01463 239716; mountainbikeworldwide.com) offers an eight-day Yukon mountain biking trip; the price of £1,600 per person includes guiding, accommodation and all meals; flights not included. Departs 14 July and 11 August.
Kayak the coast of Scotland
Kayaking is excellent upper-body exercise, and with dramatic coastal views, you'll hardly notice the calories burning off. This new trip on the northern section of the Scottish Sea Kayak Trail – Europe's only long-distance sea kayak route – explores the wild, unspoilt coastline of Scotland's north-west coast. Share the water with seals and dolphins by day and stay in local family-run guesthouses by night.
Wilderness Scotland (01479 420020; wildernessscotland.com) has a seven-day Scottish sea kayak trail from £895 per person. The price includes guiding, equipment, B&B accommodation and daily packed lunches. Departures between June and September.
Freedive the Red Sea
Freediving conditions the body and relaxes the mind, as you focus on holding your breath underwater rather than relying on scuba gear or a snorkel. Learn the techniques of real-life mermaids and mermen as you explore the underwater world of the Red Sea in Dahab, Egypt. Stay in a resort on the beach, become a certified freediver and be at one with the marine environment.
Active Adventures (0845 512 1600; activeadventures.co.uk) offers an eight-day freediving trip. The price of £456 per person includes B&B accommodation, a four-day certified advanced freediving course and all equipment. Flights to Egypt are not included.
Hike to Everest Base Camp
Walking is one of the best low-impact exercises, and there are increased benefits to fitness from training at altitude. Celebrate the 60th anniversary of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay's first ascent of Everest with a special anniversary trip to Everest Base Camp. Spend a night in Tenzing's village and visit the school in Khumjung that Hillary founded along the way.
The Adventure Company (0845 287 1198; adventurecompany.co.uk) is offering the 18-day Everest 60th anniversary trip for £1,959 per person, including flights, B&B accommodation, guides and porters. Departs 24 May.
Rock climb in Thailand
Rock climbing is a great total body workout that requires skill, as well as physical and mental strength. From Railay, on the west coast of Thailand, scale some of the world's best climbing cliffs straight from the beach. Combine expert tuition from local guides with pampering in a world-class spa and feasting on healthy Thai cuisine.
Adventure Temples (0843 508 5005; adventuretemples.com) offers an eight-day, five-star climbing trip from £2,495 per person, including flights, B&B accommodation at the Rayavadee resort, a three-day climbing course and a spa treatment.
Work mind, body and soul while hitting the slopes. Expert-led morning and evening yoga sessions – specially designed for skiers and snowboarders – bookend strenuous days on the pistes of La Rosière, France. Your stay is in a chalet complete with outdoor hot tub, in-house holistic treatments and gourmet French food.
Adventure Yogi (01273 782734; adventureyogi.com) has an eight-day snow yoga trip. The price of £650 per person includes half board, local transport, twice-daily yoga sessions and a ski guide for three days. Flights, ski passes and equipment not included. Departs 9 March.
Swim the Virgin Islands
Made up of more than 100 islands, cays and reefs, the British Virgin Islands are ideal wild swimming territory. Stay in a resort on the marina of Virgin Gorda and explore about 5km of warm open water each day – including the chance to say you've swum from Britain to America (the British Virgin Islands to American Virgin Islands, that is).
Swim Trek (01273 739713; swimtrek.com) offers the seven-day BVI swim trek trip for £1,200 per person, including half board, swim guides and the services of a safety boat. Flights not included. Departs 23 and 29 March.
Run the Himalayas
Get off the treadmill and get into the mountains. Spend a week running expedition-style, village to village, from the foothills of Helambu, near Kathmandu in Nepal, to the holy lakes of Gosainkunda. You'll cover an impressive 88km of terrain on foot (with the longest day at 17km), retreating to family-run tea-houses each night.
Wide Open Trails (01865 577147; wideopentrails.com) offers the 10-day Helambu and Gosainkunda trip from £1,595 per person, including half board, transport and running guides. Flights not included. Departs 11 October.
Snowshoe the Pyrenees
Snowshoeing is excellent cardio-vascular exercise and a great way to take in stunning mountain scenery in winter. KE Adventures (01768 773966; keadventure.com) has an eight-day central Pyrenees snowshoe trip based at the spa town of Luchon, with easy access to a wealth of superb snowshoe day walks from easy forest trails to steeper mountain slopes. The price of £695 per person includes accommodation, equipment, most meals and an expert guide. Travel to France not included. Departs 20 January and 10 February.
Kite surf Mauritius
Work your upper body and abdominal muscles while having fun on the waves. Le Morne in Mauritius is one of the best places in the world for kite surfing, and the newly opened St Regis Mauritius Resort is minutes away from the best breaks. It's also home to the world's first luxury kite surf school, featuring one-to-one lessons, "kite butlers", and specially designed kite surf massages.
Luxury Holidays Direct (020-8774 7297; luxuryholidaysdirect.com) offers an eight-day trip to the St Regis Mauritius resort. The price of £1,619 per person includes flights and half board. Private two-hour kite surf lessons cost £150 (00 230 403 9000; stregismauritius.com).
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