Whether you’ve just booked a solo adventure or you’re still in the dreaming and planning stage, here’s how to make the most of it by preparing your mind, body and soul for what’s sure to be the trip of a lifetime.
Joan Murphy is the Co-Founder and CEO of London-based fitness studio FRAME, which aims to create a more positive approach to health and fitness. As a Fitness Expert and avid traveller herself, Joan takes us through her top tips to help you get the most out of your adventure before you go, whilst you’re travelling and once you return home. Let’s get into it.
PREPARE YOUR MIND
Breathing and meditation
As exciting as an adventure can be, it can sometimes be overwhelming with travel times, meeting new people and taking in new cultures or environments. Having a simple meditation or breathing practice to hand can be a life saviour in these moments. I’m a huge fan of box breathing and you can do it literally anywhere. Here’s how:
- Step 1: Slowly exhale. Sitting comfortably with a straight back, exhale slowly through your mouth until your lungs are empty.
- Step 2: Slowly inhale. Inhale through your nose counting 1 to 4 seconds slowly in your head. Fill the lungs and the belly.
- Step 3: Hold your breath for a slow count of 4 seconds.
- Step 4: Exhale through your mouth for a slow count of 4 seconds until the air has left your lungs and belly.
- Step 5: Hold your breath at the bottom for 4 seconds.
Repeat as many times as needed until you feel calm again. It works every time. If you’re feeling a little extra stressed, try using essential oils – orange and peppermint mixed together is a personal favourite.
Try something new
As a warm-up to your solo adventure, you could also try something new by yourself. It can be as small as going for a walk in the park, a solo trip to the cinema or maybe a gym class? There’s a tonne of choice in most cities, and studios like FRAME have a wide variety of feel-good classes from yoga and pilates to HIIT and even Dance Cardio or Rebounding (mini trampolines). A perfect way to give yourself a little endorphin and confidence boost before your solo adventure, albeit on a slightly small scale.
PREPARE YOUR BODY
Whichever solo adventure you choose, it’s most likely going to involve moving more than you usually would in your day to day life.
It’s a good idea to strengthen and condition your body so you can make the most of the adventure. And it’s just as important to think about mobility, stretching and recovery so you can stay injury-free.
The most recent health guidelines recommend a minimum of two muscle-strengthening exercises to maintain good health. So, beyond your solo adventure, it’s a good routine to keep up.
If you’re planning to workout by yourself, keep things simple and work with compound movements. These include squats (great for glutes and calves that will come in handy for any hiking activity) deadlifts and weighted glute bridges.
If you’re going to do a class choose something like HIIT, cardio or boxing, all of which are great for building strength. The bonus of opting for classes is that all you have to do is turn up and let the instructor motivate you and push you to your limits, in the company of a group of like-minded people. Just like a Flash Pack adventure.
Once you’ve got the workout routine that suits you, you should think about mobility and stretching. Travelling, sitting for hours on a plane and being more active than usual can really wreak havoc on your joints and muscles. Having a simple daily stretching routine is key. Check out my favourite stretch below. It works wonders on the neck, back, glutes, hamstrings and calves. Plus, you can literally do it anywhere.
Standing Hamstring Stretch
- Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, arms by your side and knees slightly bent.
- Bend forward by hinging at the hips, lower the top of your head towards the floor – keep your head neck and shoulders relaxed.
- Hold the back of your legs to deepen the stretch and hold for 90 seconds.
- To come out of the stretch, bend your knees and roll up slowly – head coming up last.
PREPARE YOUR SOUL
Mind and body sorted, now to think about the soul. I’ve got three tips for you on this. Keep an open mind, say yes to new experiences and don’t take yourself too seriously. This has always been my motto. Life can be serious, especially with work and modern-day stresses so this is a great opportunity to have fun and be carefree, take full advantage.
When you find yourself back home after your adventure and need to remind yourself of this – there are many small things you can do solo that offer a similar sense of independence and freedom. It might be a solo meal, or a trip to the cinema. For me, I book myself into one of FRAME’s dance classes. Guaranteed fun, never serious.
READY FOR YOUR SOLO ADVENTURE?
Flash Pack has partnered with FRAME to offer all new London-based Flashpackers 50% off their first month membership with FRAME when they book their Flash Pack adventure. Just get in touch with one of our travel experts who can help find you your perfect solo adventure, and provide more information about the partnership.