This is the story of how I combined getting fit and healthy while having a fantastic time on holiday in Weymouth in 2015. It is still one of the best set of memories I made that year or any year but also one of the most active, playful and fun.
Day 3 was another epic day of fun. More relaxed than the day before but still full of laughs and memories. I didn’t set out with the intention of hitting any fitness goals but through play and holiday spirit I achieved them easily without even trying.
The image on the right shows the Fitbit statistics I accumulated over the course of the day to show that through all the fun I had also contributed a lot to developing my overall health
Day three saw me notch up over; 3,000 calories, 50 active minutes, 8 floors and 5 miles. This was a day of thirds with the first two thirds being about time with the family and the last third was a trek on my own. Everything was less intense than previous days because by this point to be honest I needed a break from so much walking :-). So I used the car more and spent more time sitting and chilling.
My initial excitement of getting to Weymouth and starting our holiday had abated and the intensity of the previous days had caught up with me. So while I was still so excited to see everything I could see I knew I would pay the price over the next few days if I did not ease up today.
This day was much more of a rest day than the previous two as we basically just chilled on the beach and had a quiet wander around the sea life centre. Normally I would stay in after the efforts from the past few days or at least have an evening off but being in England you never can guarantee the weather. So I was worried I would miss out and still explored in the evening. Using the car made it far more relaxing particularly later when I just wanted to get home and go to bed.
So this is an example of a more relaxed type of day where we hung out on the beach, wandered through the Sea life centre and finally I let the car take the strain when I explored Portland in the evening.
The third day
The pictures of things we saw, did and enjoyed act as a simple guide to how much good recovery, eating and movement you can get on holiday. Alongside I have described some of the things we do as a family to get the best out of the day.
There are three parts to this article,
- Part 1: Highlights are the morning chilling on Weymouth beach
- Part 2: Visiting the sea life centre in the afternoon.
- Part 3: Covers the evening where I continue my solo exploration of Weymouth venturing over to Portland, This time by car to give myself a rest.
Part 1: The morning
Chilling on the beach
After a busy couple of days it was time for a quieter day to recharge our batteries. So the morning was spent chilling on Weymouth beach and enjoying the view.
I had just got some binoculars from a boot sale so I was enjoying seeing how far I could see with them.
People watching is always fun and I had recently got into bird watching. So with a little one to keep an eye on a view to explore and plenty of nature to watch there were plenty of relaxing ways to spend the time.
Over the years I have learnt to value this relaxation and quiet time more because I have seen how important it is as part of a balanced lifestyle.
If you are on the go all the time then you have no time to recharge and though you think you are missing out and may not be aware of your tiredness it is important to focus on quality over quality in spending your time. Particularly on holiday since you wait so long for it and spend so much time and money planning it.
On previous holidays when we have tried to fit too much in we have always ended up rushing and not really paying attention to all that happens. We even find it gets hard to remember everything because you have done so much your brain just does not get to commit these things to memory.
Worst of all is that you are so tired you just cannot really enjoy things like you would if you were rested. So taking a rest day always pays off even if it does not feel like it at the time,
With a little one to look after as well, we have to accept that we have more to do than we used to and so we cannot do as much as we used to.
Kids know how to live!!!
The great thing about having kids around on holiday is that they remind you how to chill out and have simple pointless fun. In the pictures above and below you see me teaching little one how to skim stones and dig in the sand. It is all part of the fun and having kids just makes it right. What you can see is that the way we are living is the opposite of how we are at work when we are sat at our desks much of the day and being serious for a lot of it too. Holidays give us that break in our routine and a different way to pass the time and having kids, while being work and a challenge in its own right, is something I see as an opportunity.
Children have healthier ways of living than we do. That is what I have noticed and something I think most people accept. So being around them can be a great way to get yourself back into a healthy way of life and have fun at the same time. Kids use their body effortlessly and let the emotions flow through and out rather than holding them in tight. I know I cannot act like a child but I can take advantage of being around my own and let him teach me as much as I teach him.
I bet you have noticed how the natural enthusiasm kids have when let loose on a beach or anywhere really is infectious. I often let myself get swept up because it is an antidote to the restrictive life us adults generally live with all our responsiblities. letting ourselves go back to our care free chlldish state can help us let go of the mental, physical and emotional tensions that we all have.
The added value is that you end up ticking off bucket list items while you are making these fun memories. You see the photo of the jellyfish squished into the beach. Well you saw the jellyfish that we found on Day 1 that we were really excited to see. On this day we were really surprised to see another jelly fish, and then another, until we noticed they were everywhere. It turns out that this happens each year at Weymouth and we had timed it right to see them.
The thing is I still haven’t seen jellyfish much elsewhere, except an absolutely massive couple that washed up on a beach in France when I was 12. So it was awesome to be able to get really close and know that since they were dead they wouldn’t be as dangerous as live ones. That was our theory anyway 🙂
So the morning was about lounging, enjoying the beach and enjoying ice creams.
Part 2: The afternoon visiting Weymouth SEA LIFE centre
The afternoon was about visiting Weymouth SEA LIFE centre and as you can see from the pictures we had a fantastic time. The nice slow pace to the morning gave us back the energy to go exploring again and the Sea life centre was such a captivating place for us. It was nice that it was a largely outdoor place because the weather was so warm and sunny and we had not really done many sea life centres up to this point.
I really like wildlife in general so i am quite captivated when I get the chance to learn more about it and this centre had some nice ways to get us up close and personal with the sea life they had available.
The rockpool was the first place we came across and we loved seeing all these cool creatures at the bottom. Rockpools are so much fun because you can touch some of the creatures and many of them you will find on your adventures. Since this day we have come across Anemone a few times and each time it’s just fascinating watching them do their thing.
You can see little one checking out the Anemones which are just fascinating to look at. There are so many things wandering around the bottom and they had these floating eye glass things that gave you a better view onto the rock pool life itself. I lifted little one up so he could use one and he could not believe how much was going on.
Next we went through the aquarium and I love how they do immerse you in the experience. You go through dark rooms with the sea life around you. Jelly fish are just stunning in this set up and I took so many videos as well as pictures just trying to capture their simple yet mesmerising beauty. The way they glide up and down is just hypnotic and considering we had seen a whole bunch of dead jelly fish on the beach it was so nice to see these live ones doing what jelly fish do showing us what they are really like in the sea.
The hidden benefits of gentle movement
It is never obvious but every moment you spend can be used to benefit your health if you know how a human works. This period of gentle exploration reflects the benefit of gentle movement. Not the intense stuff you get in sports or hiking cross country but more the gentle meandering you get doing everyday things like shopping and sight seeing. Those days when you just go here and there taking your time and getting lost in the experience.
Time has taught me the value of this to our health because it is where so many of our body systems get to do their magic. For example, just the effort of standing puts more of a stress on our bones than lying down or sitting. Walking puts slightly more pressure and varies the pressure as we work through our gait.
So while we often think we are doing nothing healthy just getting off the sofa and getting out exploring has a positive impact on us. The best thing is how gentle this is and essentially effortless compared to more vigorous exercise. Wandering around a Sea life centre is not hard work but it does a lot more for us than just sitting down like most of us do for a large part of the day.
We have evolved to require these gentle movements so as we walk along we help our blood flow better around our body because our calf muscles help squeeze the arteries in our calves to push the blood back to the heart against gravity.
The gentle movements of walking create a rocking motion which helps massage food through our stomach and all the way along its path through our digestive system. Even something as simple as standing expands our abdomen giving our digestive system space and allowing gravity to help food through the digestive system.
These are some of the hidden benefits of regular movement whether it is exploration like this or chores like shopping they have more of an impact than we realise and they underpin any other health activity we do by preparing us for it or helping us recover.
So while little one was watching the otters, I was watching him watch the otters 🙂 and I was reminding myself of the value of just taking the time to quietly observe, explore and enjoy. Even standing leaning on the rail as you can see in the picture little one’s body is working through many of its processes aided by the fact that he is standing.
The benefits of intense movement
The same knowledge helped me when we made it to the splash zone at the end. To everyone else, this is just a bit of fun but to me, it has even more to give and is one of the biggest reasons why children are generally healthier than adults. The running around creates demand in the body for nutrients, and energy and asks the body to be at its best. It is the rest of the day that little one is recovering from this where the true benefit lies but the trigger is the fun he has in the splash zone.
Check it out in the picture and picture the impact this running has on his heart, his muscles, his bones and even his brain. It asks a lot of him, yes but because children do this regularly they have adapted to it. Children also move and play within their limits and range much better than we adults do. Of course, children over do it too but generally, I notice how at one kids are with themselves and their bodies and it is only as we mature that we lose touch with ourselves and our natural abilities.
Regaining our connection with ourselves is my focus in Fit2Thrive as I see that all those people I admire are in balance with who they are and so I have dedicated my life to learning how to follow their lead. As a parent it is truly rewarding being able to support my children in their journey with the deeper knowledge my parents lacked about how humans work and how to support our humanity in daily life. Parenting is something we are all left to figure out ourselves and I am grateful on a daily basis that I understand so many ways as simple as this to help my children grow properly.
Check out the gallery below to see more of the pictures from the Sea life centre. It was a ton of fun and we were so glad we went.
Part 3: The evening exploring Portland
Little one is in bed, time for Daddy to explore.
I was still tired from all the fun of the holiday so far but since the weather was still epic I made the effort to venture out again to see what new and exciting things I could find and experience. I can also have a very different experience without the family in tow and only myself to think about so, while I have a great time with the family, I also really value the opportunity to explore for myself at my own speed in my own way.
Over the previous two days I had
- walked north from our holiday park along the coastal path of Portland harbour to the edge of Newtons cove
- walked south along the coastal path exploring more of Portland harbour
I had enjoyed everything I had seen and it had given me a thirst to explore the Isle of Portland further. I did not really have time to explore it fully, I had an evening with a car to see what i could see and this time I wanted as little walking as possible because I was all walked out!!!
So I had a quick look at google maps and devised a simple itinerary then set off. After all that walking I had done it was a really nice change to be driving lazily across the causeway to Portland with the cool breeze running through my hair.
Portland is very much a rocky outcrop of land and much of it is high up so to get there it can get quite steep quite quickly which is another reason I wanted to explore by car. So I was quickly heading up to the top of this giant rock excited to enjoy the epic views I I have been reading about from the top.
Chesil Beach and the Olympic rings!!!
My first stop was the Olympic rings, which for me was just awesome. Ever since I started watching the Olympics I have been a big fan and for the Olympics to be hosted in the UK during my lifetime was such a joy. So to be reminded of this joyful event yesterday while exploring Portland harbour just got me super excited to see what other Olympic treasures I could find.
The first thing I notice when I park up is this tremendous view out across Chesil Beach. With the sun low on the horizon in the background and the haze over the sea, it is a real wonder to behold because I can finally see so far. To this point the holiday has been focused on sea-level activities and this trip up into the Portland hills really highlights what you get with a little bit of height. From this vantage point, I can see far out in all directions and I could easily spend hours just watching and taking it all in.
Alongside the epic view of the surrounding countryside and sea, I am also standing next to the Olympic rings stone sculpture. To many, it will seem pointless but to sport lovers like me, this is a relic from a special time I actually lived through.
The amazing Mulberry Harbours I saw yesterday and can still see from up on the Portland hillside represent a piece of history from long before I was born but these rings were built during my lifetime and represent an event I watched and enjoyed.
I did not visit the Weymouth event but I did visit the London event at Stratford where we watched the diving and walked past the Olympic stadium on the super saturday. Ok I am drifting off down memory lane but that is the point of this statue as it reminds us of an exciting time that we get to reminisce about.
Combined with such a location with this magnificent view it has made for quite an experience that I had no idea was possible until yesterday. Our Weymouth trip has gone to another level and the night is still young :-).
As much as I would like to I can’t sit here all evening taking in the view so I get back in the car and carry on my journey to my final destination for the evening.
Unless you live on the coast it is not every day in your life that you get to experience a living breathing lighthouse. It is even rarer at least to my limited knowledge to visit a lighthouse with a name. So when I saw the name Portland Bill Lighthouse I just had to check it out and it really did not disappoint.
The light was fading quite fast at this point so I could not savour the view like I had before. There was also another reason I did not want to hang around too long. Something that pictures will never express and the term lighthouse just does not convey.
You see I did not see a light emanating from the lighthouse the whole time. In fact, thinking about it I think it’s really a misnomer because the only experience I have of Bill the Lighthouse is that it is really, really, really loud. I’m not talking a little loud, I am talking,
Think of if a lighthouse could speak and that might be what it would say but it would not say it it would yell it really, really loud. So the whole time I was there there was a horn blasting out across the sea every few minutes. It sounded like a horn on a ship which it was probably borrowed from so really I think it should be labelled a sound house instead of a light house but what do I know!!!
So, yes the view was awesome and it was fun clambering over the rocks next to Portland Bill but having my head blasted with a ships horn every few minutes is not really my idea of a holiday. Maybe it is yours but it is definitely not for me. So I did my best to enjoy what I could before I set off home, away from Bill the sound house, back past the Olympic rings and back down to sea level. By now it was too dark to enjoy the view but what a reward for getting out and exploring.
I still have not been to a Lighthouse/Soundhouse since and those views. I will be going back to Portland someday because I only touched the surface of what there is to see.
Summary: Go play 🙂
All that fun gave me these fitness stats. Roughly 5 miles, 11,000 steps and 55 active minutes and it was all worth it because 6 years later it is still one of the best memories of the year. I told you there is so much active fun on holiday if you want it!!!
In writing this article I found a beautiful guide to spending 2 Days in Dorset’s Weymouth and Portland written by Richie a local walker from Portland. What is special for me is that of all the sites and experiences listed I had done pretty much all of them. Some with the family and some on my own so my reward for all this exploring is that I have got a real sense of the area and seen the sights that a local who knows the area recommends. I now have a real sense of what Weymouth and Portland are, the difference between them and the history behind them.
So the health and fitness statistics were not just arbitrary values they represent part of the effort I made in exploring this beautiful area over three days and part of the ongoing investment I am making in myself and my experience of life, not just this holiday or the past three days, but the ongoing journey that life is.
You have probably noticed that exploring is something I do. It is not restricted to holidays or special occasions but something I do on a regular, pretty much daily basis and these last few days exemplify the reason why. On my travels, I consistently find beautiful vistas and wonderful experiences like this which is the reason why I keep doing it.
So the fitness statistics I share can vary from day to day just like life varies from day to day but the results come from the continuous circle of enjoyable experiences which encourage me to explore more which gets me more fitness statistics that fulfil my daily needs. I have mainly focused on urban walking so far in the form of sightseeing so the story has largely been movement based and focused on what you get from getting up and out to see things.
In reality, I have explored far more than the value of movement in our experience of life and those lessons I will share in other articles. For now, I am excited to show how much you get in return from the simple act of getting up off the sofa and getting outdoors to explore the world around you.