Walking in soft sand burns almost twice the number of calories as walking the same distance on a flat surface. Picture: Pexels
Walking in soft sand burns almost twice the number of calories as walking the same distance on a flat surface. Picture: Pexels

6 tips to finding the fun in holiday exercise

By IOL Supplied Time of article published Jan 1, 2020

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Healthy lifestyle choices don’t need to take away from the enjoyment of being on holiday.  By capitalising on the activities you have already planned, you can easily fit a exercise into your holiday programme.

Shaun Lamont, Managing Director of First Group, which manages 30 local and international hotels and resorts, says: “Instead of over-indulging in restaurant splurges and spending your days with little physical activity, choose a resort or hotel that goes the extra mile to help you improve your health and leaves you feeling better than when you arrived.”

Here’s 6 tips on how to get some daily exercise without turning your holiday into a workout routine.

Walking on the beach

Whether you enjoy a contemplative stroll to watch the waves or prefer a brisk walk in the sand, the beach can clear your mind and exercise your body. Walking in soft sand burns almost twice the number of calories as walking the same distance on a flat surface. Until you’ve had a chance to train your muscles, it's best to keep most of your walking on hard-packed sand near the water so that you don’t spend the rest of your holiday stiff and sore. Alternatively, ask your concierge about any planned beach activities, like First Group’s #TheLastStraw To Save the Sea campaign where you can do a fun beach clean-up and exchange your bag of trash for a complimentary cold drink – which is a great workout with an added reward.


Swimming is more than just a way to cool off on a hot day. It is one of the most comprehensive workouts you can get and because it's gentle on the joints, almost anyone can do it – even if you not in the best shape yet. Just 30 minutes of leisurely freestyle burns around 250 calories, so include a few laps while cooling off. Mount Sierra, situated at the foot Table Mountain, has recently completed a massive R11 million refurbishment which includes a new indoor heated swimming pool. This is a great facility to have on holiday as it gives you the opportunity to swim anytime of the day or year regardless of the weather.

Bicycle rides

Long leisurely bike rides are a great way to see the area and get in some low-intensity exercise. If you take your time and go all day, you will burn calories without even thinking about it while enjoying quality time with your loved ones and away from technology. Bushman’s Nek Berg and Trout Resort in the southern Drakensberg is a popular holiday destination for exploring nature trails on bikes as well as horse-riding amongst the many other activities.


Hiking has plenty of perks - great views, fresh air and the sounds and smells of nature. Plus, when you add elevation to your walks it becomes a powerful cardio workout that burns more calories. Remember to start off with short flat hikes and gradually work up to the trails with more hills or uneven terrain. We are fortunate that our country offers an abundance of invigorating coastal and mountain walking and hiking trails, such as the Magalies Park Resort at the foot of the Magaliesberg mountains in the North West Province.


Golf holidays offer an abundance of natural beauty and exercise whether you choose to go inland, beach or bush.  Instead of riding around in a cart, capitalise on a better workout by walking the course and carrying your clubs, this way you will burn around 200-300 calories per hour. Golf courses and holiday resorts is a concept that has grown tremendously over the years, but it is a little-known fact that Selborne Golf Estate, Hotel and Spa was the first ever golf housing estate in South Africa. Situated on the KZN south coast is the beautifully restored Selborne Hotel that has direct beach access and an onsite La Vita health and wellness Spa.


While on holiday, tennis can help shape the focus of each day. You can wake up early for a few games before heading to the beach, or spend your day exploring and head back to the court for some evening rallies. Tennis is well-suited to family holidays and is a great way to meet other people while mixing and matching play. Qwantani Berg and Bush Resort, situated on the banks of the Sterkfontein Dam, has excellent tennis facilities along with other sporting activities such as squash, badminton, netball, volleyball and canoeing amongst its long list of onsite entertainment.

Whatever activity you choose, aim for 30 minutes of exercise each day and don’t forget to keep your body well hydrated and to use sunscreen. But most of all, remember to have fun – it is your holiday after all.

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