‘HOLIDAY PLEASURES LIKE ICE CREAM ARE DOUBLED WHEN EARNED THROUGH SWEAT’
I was drinking iced coffee at a harbour front café in Parga, on the north-west coast of Greece, writes Sam Murphy.
Colourful buildings spilt down the surrounding hillsides; the sea glistened in the bay. I emitted a relaxed and, I admit, selfsatisfied sigh.
I’ve earned this, you see. I – along with the dozen-or-so other participants of the triathlon holiday I was on (rnrtricamps.com) – cycled here, along quiet roads through olive groves, passing whitewashed churches and empty beaches that we’d otherwise never have seen. As we slapped on sunscreen and topped up our water bottles for the 16-mile (27km) return ride to Sivota, a party of tourists shuffled off a coach and into an adjacent café. I couldn’t help feeling they wouldn’t savour their drinks as much as we had.
That’s one of the things I love about exercise holidays. The pleasure to be gained from those holiday staples – a doze on a sun lounger, an ice-cold beer, a gooey ice cream – is doubled when you’ve earned it through sweat.
It’s surprising just how much activity you can manage on a fitness holiday without keeling over. There’s not just more time for exercise but also for recovery, so you feel energised.
Holiday exercise has another trump card to play – its novel context. It was on a Wildfitness retreat (wildfitness.com), while walking on a slackline strung up between two gnarly trees in the Cretan mountains, that I discovered honing balance could be fun rather than boring. That week, we also ran on beaches, weight-lifted rocks and hiked through the Topolia Gorge – all the while marvelling at our surroundings rather than dwelling on how much exercise we were doing. I went home fitter and feeling that I’d truly explored the island.
Sam Murphy is a fitness journalist and a columnist for Runner’s World.