Today we’re talking recovery techniques.
If you’re looking at taking a Flash Pack adventure, chances are you already fancy yourself as a bit of an active person. Maybe you climb, take on long, country treks or you’re one of those maniacs that enjoys crawling through mud and electrified wire on a Sunday morning “for a laugh”.
Whatever you’re into, it can be hard staying in shape on holiday. Luckily, that’s not something you’ll have to deal with on a Flash Pack adventure because those itineraries keep your body pretty busy.
With that in mind, you can do a lot for your body to look after it and recover from the various mountain hikes, lake kayaks and rugged canyoning expeditions found on Flash Pack trips.
Having taken on several body transformations and fitness challenges during my time as a travelling, fitness-fuelled journo, here are three of my favourite recovery techniques to use when you’re out and about, taking on awesome physical activities.
Plus, there’s also one extra special bonus tip (my favourite workouts to travel with) for those of you active adventurers who just can’t get enough. Let’s go.
A good old stretch
I know it’s not cool and you’ve been ignoring this advice ever since P.E. class, but taking a few minutes to stretch out after a big day of pushing your body is really useful. In fact, it’s one of the easiest recovery techniques you can do whilst away.
Annoyingly it proves right everything Mr. Evans, your gym teacher, used to bang on about.
My favourite stretch (and the bare minimum you should be doing anyway) is what I call the ‘Lazy Boy Stretch,’ but it’s often called a ‘Couch Stretch’. It helps your hip mobility a lot and, even though you probably don’t even think about your hips, you use them a lot.
The guys over at Men’s Health have put together a good little explainer, to show you what I mean – please excuse the intense music and the fact that the instructor doesn’t seem to blink, like ever.
Water is your friend
Swimming might be a big part of your holiday anyway but a nice little dip at the end of the day can be one of the best recovery techniques.
Treading water is an awesome all-body exercise that keeps you toned but also exercises out all the muscles you’ve been using throughout the day. I like to pretend I’m in some kind of terrifying scenario where I need to tread water to stay alive – but then I’ve also seen way too many films and TV shows for my own good.
If you’re looking for more underwater inspiration, Muhammad Ali tricked the world with a photo of himself training underwater and said it made him a better boxer on dry land.
It was all nonsense but, actually, training underwater is an amazing form of active recovery. Olympian Michael Johnson is a huge advocate for it and it even makes a cheeky little appearance in the first trailer for Creed 2.
If it’s good enough for Michael B. Jordan, it’s good enough for you (and me).
Dance like your body’s watching
I can see some people not being into this and I am totally on board with that BUT hear me out. Dancing is one of the most entertaining – but handy – recovery techniques I’ve come across.
I was moaning to a yoga teacher friend once that my shoulders were always in pain after interval training sessions, no matter how much warming up and cooling down I did.
Read more: 5 ways to make every day an adventure
I put it down to the peril of trying to get in shape at age 32, but she recommended a dance cool down and sent me a bunch of videos. Now, there are lots of vids on YouTube, of instructors doing all kinds of mad dancing, but my favourite technique isn’t really that official.
It’s the ‘strip off and just f***ing go for it’ method. As perfected here, by Abi in the TV show Broad City:
I know, dancing to cool down.
But, seriously, it’s a form of active recovery, which aids blood flow to aching muscles so that they can repair themselves. The point here is that you’re getting everything moving and warmed up, but not to the point of exhaustion. So, I guess it doesn’t have to be dance…it could be a simple run. But it really worked for me – maybe just don’t take the naked part too seriously.
BONUS TIP: Get back on it
I’m a firm believer in ‘hair of the dog’ after a night out and I honestly feel the same way about exercise. Technically, this isn’t a ‘recovery technique’ at all but more of a ‘hungry for more’ technique.
Even on particularly active holidays, like this Flash Pack trip to Peru, you might find yourself in need of a little bit extra. Or you might be on a more relaxed trip, like this one to the white beaches of Bali, and need to keep your fitness up.
Read more: Upgrade your workout with kickboxing
I’ve got two workouts I keep in my back pocket because you can do them anywhere – all you need is your own body.
The first is an absolute killer, so be warned.
It’s called the ‘69 Workout’ and I got it from personal trainer, Fabrice Le Physique. I do this whenever I find myself getting a bit too fond of the local beer and custard tarts on holiday – and whenever the hotel gym looks more like a hobo’s bedroom.
Basically, you smash out 69 push-ups, burpies, jumping jacks, squats, crunches and high knee jumps in as little time as possible. My record is 12 minutes and 36 seconds and it almost killed me. What more could you want on a holiday?!
The other is a tiny bit more fun but also pretty horrific (in that strangely satisfying, max calorific burn kind of way). I stole it from one of my favourite fitness blogs, Live Hard and it’s called The Roxanne.
Start by getting the song Roxanne by Sting queued up – a lovely little ballad concerning a lady of the night. Then get into a press-up plank position and hold it.
Next whenever Sting sings “ROXANNE!” do a full press-up.
And that’s it.
I can see your doubting face right now but that’s because you’ve never tried this. Have a go and then come back to me with your findings…
So, there you have it. These recovery techniques are by no means exhaustive and are just a few of the best ways to cool down after a strenuous adventure holiday but they’re a good start. Looking after your body on an active holiday will save you a week of sore muscles, you can thank me when you get back.
But, remember, you are on holiday after all so don’t go too hard on yourself!