Angela Braden has researched and reported on wellness and lifestyle for a decade. She has been published hundreds of times in national and international magazines. Angela serves as a speaker for Alive! Expo (health convention) and as the Editor and Founder of www.angelicindulgence.com web magazine, where you’ll find more indulgent health tips and articles updated monthly.
Summer vacation doesn’t have to mean abandoning your healthy lifestyle. With exotic dining choices, miles away from the neighborhood gym, vacations have traditionally been loaded with wellness landmines. But as it becomes more compelling just how much our lifestyle choices affect our health, more savvy vacationers are jetting off with their health top of mind. According to AAA, “wellness vacations”, the new leisure-travel buzzword, defined as travel focused on achieving, maintaining, and/or enhancing one’s overall health and well-being, are on the rise.
If you’d rather return to work rested, decompressed, fit and energized instead of hung over, exhausted and five pounds heavier, embrace the wellness vacation trend whole heartedly with these ideas:
The best part of vacation is—what else— the destination itself, so forgo the hotel chain and live like the locals by renting a local home or villa. You’ll benefit culturally from shopping farmer’s markets (so long mini bar) and you’ll benefit physically from cooking that fresh, nutritious food en la casa. Of course you’ll want to indulge in the local tourist excursions for your destination’s unique, signature experiences, but nothing compares to the intimate feeling simply walking the local streets (or beaches, mountain paths, etc.) provides. So remember, some of the best sightseeing can be taken in on long walks (or on a bike), while hundreds of calories melt away and your body is filled with fresh air, sunshine and exotic local aromas. That’s a complete vacation experience.
You’re bound to have copious choices when planning your vacation activities. Why not chose those that interest you and get you moving? Sea kayaking in California, cycling in the French countryside, snorkeling in the Caribbean, and of course endless walks on the beach wherever you go. Gordansguide is an excellent resource for healthy, active vacations. Look for Yoga retreats, like those at Morgan’s Rock Hacienda and Ecolodge, which bring together some of the best practitioners in the field, or Pacifica in Cabo San Lucas, which offers each guest a “wellness path” orchestrated by a holistic M.D. to complement their whale watching and beach bumming. These wellness-centered retreats make the activity or therapy part of the vacation experience, so it’s easy not to simply stay on track, but to enhance, renew, and return invigorated!
Mixing MRI scans and fitness assessments with gourmet dining and spa therapy is also a growing trend, even at five-star hotels. A medical vacation might include an “executive” (90 minute) in-depth physical (as opposed to the typical 7 minutes your regular doc spends with you) and alternating sightseeing with nutritional cooking classes, DNA-damage testing, blood-work, and state of the art imaging, along with a sleep study. The California Health and Longevity Institute, for example, located in The Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village, California, offers signature health packages, a “wellness kitchen”, lifestyle consultations, and plethora of complementary and alternative therapies right in the world class hotel. For those struggling with vitality-depriving conditions like allergies or chronic fatigue, there may be a wellness or integrative medical center with a lot more to offer than your local M.D. Progressive Medical Center, in Atlanta, Georgia, draws people from all over the country to find the root cause of their condition or disease and treat it through a blend of the best therapies, from botanical to conventional. Successfully treating allergies, thyroid disorders, autism, fibromyalgia, and much more, often for those who had been told there is no treatment for their condition, wellness centers, like Progressive have become “destinations” in themselves.
Whether you’re looking for the best Yoga practices or for treatment of a serious illness, a wellness vacation could be just what the doctor ordered.
*Opinions expressed are solely those of the writer