21 Ways to Stay Fit During School Holidays

Just as kids can suffer from school holidays brain regression, so can your fitness and health efforts. And with end-0f-term-itis high on the agenda this week, it’s easy to slip into a panic about the weeks of relentless, “Muuuuuuuuuum……” ahead.

But your physical health really can survive the long break. In fact with a bit of creative planning you could even use the long break to get fit.

It seems like a tall order but I’ve come up with an essential guide to surviving the school holidays without a spare tyre and a drop in fitness levels:

  1. Have a schedule. I used to think keeping an Excel spreadsheet for the school summer holidays was a bit overkill but with two young children, a business and a healthy fitness habit I completely understand it. It might seem like a long time but with so much to fit into six weeks – especially if you’re catching up with distant family or friends or taking a holiday – keeping up with kids, your regular commitments AND your own health requires a tight schedule. Grab a bit of paper or calendar and schedule your regular fitness commitments. Just 1 or two per week should keep you on track.
  2. Remember your health and happiness is important. It’s easy to feel guilty about your exercise time when you could be spending time with your kids. But just because school’s out doesn’t mean you have to be a martyr to the parenting cause. If you need wellbeing space during term time when your little darlings are in full-time education, you’ll arguably need it more during the holidays when you are fully mum AND fully teacher!
  3. Choose holiday activities for your kids where you could be active too. So if they’re doing a swimming crash course, take your swimmers too. If they’re doing a cycle day, pack your bike or trainers and get half an hour in before you head home or pick them up.
  4. Sign yourself up for an event in September or October. I notice a lot of our Fit School members shy away from early autumn events because of the school summer holidays. But nothing will hold your feet to the training fire like knowing you have an event to train for.
  5. Get a 20 minute workout in early on in your summer holiday. We’ve all been there. You pack your trainers and stare at them in your suitcase every morning. But you feel too chilled out or lethargic to use them. Yes, holidays are a time to kick back but a couple of 20 minute workouts aren’t going to hinder your relaxation, in fact they’ll help. Aim to get a workout in within the first few days or arriving to ensure you don’t slip into a holiday food haze. Or if your hotel or resort has fitness classes, check them out and make use of them.
  6. Keep track of your nutrition. Even if you can’t move as much, there’s no reason for your good nutrition habits to slide. In fact if you’re moving less, you need to eat accordingly. Summer is full of healthy treats. Perhaps you could set your family an ‘eat the rainbow’ challenge or try new fruits or vegetables every day. And if you’ve got a holiday coming, check out our top 5 dos and don’ts for a flat tummy.
  7. Go fruit picking. Local fruit picking is one of my favourite things to do with my children. It’s easy and good for the soul plus you get nature’s jewels to take home.
  8. Grow your own salad. It’s not too late to get growing your own. You can even grow salad leaves in old egg or cream cheese boxes. No pots required.
  9. Cook together. Why not take advantage of the extra time you get with your children? From chopping and picking to stirring and licking bowls or making salad dressings, cooking healthy food together can be a really fun way of encouraging healthy eating and cooking habits.
  10. Take advantage of relatives spending time with your children. If you’re visiting grandparents or distant aunties during the holidays, why not pack your training kit and head out for a workout whilst you’re there? See if there’s a gym or pool nearby or a nice running track.
  11. Work out your alternative training schedule for the school holidays. Rather than getting frustrated that you can’t stick to your regular schedule, perhaps you need to re-jig it for the school holidays. You might have to switch your post drop off run for a shorter one before dinner.
  12. Start a new habit. Whilst we’re on the subject of adapting schedules, you might find that an early morning run or an evening walk works well for you. It could be the start of a beautiful new habit.
  13. Learn something new with your children. Whether it’s paddle-boarding or tennis, what better way to help you children understand about learning than to learn with them? You can show them that it’s okay to fail but then get up and try again and probably have a good laugh in the process.
  14. Find daily exercise habits for you and your children. Perhaps one of your kids is learning to ride a bike or a scooter. Make a point of doing 10-20 minutes practice together every day. It’s a way of getting you both out and you’ll make great progress.
  15. Get more sleep. One of the best ways of improving your wellbeing and fitness motivation is to get more sleep. If your schedule is reduced, get to bed earlier or make the most of summer holidays to get early nights (get to bed when the kids do).
  16. Do swapsies with friends. If you have a fellow fit friend, perhaps you could get creative with playdates to enable you both to get a workout in.
  17. Schedule a post holiday detox. We’ve all got comfortable with holiday food and drink before. You get home and it’s hard to get back to good habits. Gin and tonic at 5pm anyone? Why not set yourself a holiday cut-off to ensure those snacking habits don’t last until Christmas party season?
  18. Keep attending your regular classes. If you do go to evening classes and you can still make them, go. It’s easy to slip when classes are quiet or you have an excuse to not be there.
  19. Try some new classes at different times. Summer is the time for adventure and new challenges. Why not inject a fresh take on your fitness life with a new class or sport? You could try tennis or even open water swimming, or just find a new class to try one week. Trying something new helps you and your body manage plateau.
  20. Find a great online programme or a mini workout you can do in the garden.
  21. Plan active days out. A day out in the park or on the beach can be active and fun. If you haven’t read our 101 free and fit(ish) things to do with the kids, check it out for inspiration. Fresh air and nature is good for the soul and if you work up a sweat you can always have an ice cream after.
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