From hiking in Hawaii to wild swimming in Scotland, we round up the best active destinations to take your workouts worldwide.
There’s not a lot that’s particularly inspiring about a treadmill. Or the peeling paint of a boxy gym’s off-white walls. Which is why getting outside is sometimes the key to getting your fitness fix. Thankfully, a number of alfresco active retreats are offering up a place to train while also taking in some truly glorious scenery, from staggering mountain ranges to shortbread sand beaches. Where better to bash out burpees than the rainforests of Costa Rica, or practice your front crawl than the glittering seas of the Caribbean? Here’s our pick of the seven best outdoor fitness retreats where you can sweat it out among the elements.
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Salt Escapes, Costa Rica
Salt Escapes offers fitness retreats with a side of adventure, meaning you can sweat it out, explore and then kick back in some of the world’s most picturesque destinations. The company pulls together small groups of like-minded travellers, putting them up in beautiful villas for the week and taking them firmly through their paces. This Costa Rican retreat takes place overlooking the beautiful golden sands of Tamarindo on the north-western Pacific coast of the country. A team of expert coaches delivers two workouts a day, from HIIT and functional strength sessions, to boxing and team-based workouts. Yoga instructors are also on-hand to provide daily classes, breath-work sessions and meditation, and the rest of the time is yours to surf, hike waterfalls or simply lie back and soak up some truly idyllic sunsets.
From £1,600 per person for six nights, excluding flights; salt-escapes.com
Wildfitness specialises in taking your usual gym-based workout and moving it out into the open air. But instead of dumbbells, yoga mats and sweaty gym equipment, you’ll be using the natural environment – think rocks, trees and mountains – to facilitate your workout instead. There’s throwing, running, lifting and tough combat drills involved, but time is also spent on more gentle pursuits such as journaling, cooking lessons, stargazing and sunrise yoga (there are also stress management workshops for those who are finding it difficult to cope with the strains of everyday life). It’s a holistic programme, designed to help you get back to nature and reconnect with the outdoor environment.
From £1,155 for six nights, excluding flights; wildfitness.com
Run Wild, Italy
If you’re serious about trail running, you won’t find a more picturesque place for a training run than the Italian Dolomites. Known as the Pale Mountains, the UNESCO World Heritage Site is preserved for its staggering natural beauty, and you’ll take it all in on this mindful, women-only running retreat. Every day will focus on a different natural park within the Alta Badia region, covering wildflower meadows and stunning limestone mountains, and at times you’ll use sky-high gondolas to access the valley’s upper elevations (for a truly breathtaking session). Back at your accommodation, there’s wellness workshops, gourmet Italian food and free time to explore the spa.
From £3,520 per person, excluding flights; runwildretreats.com
BodyHoliday, St Lucia
It’s pretty much impossible to get bored at BodyHoliday, an activity-filled, all-inclusive wellness resort in sun-slathered St Lucia. But best of all, most things here take place outside, making the most of the island’s almost absurdly picturesque scenery. On offer is (take a deep breath): sailing and scuba diving, beach boot camp and aqua fit, hikes, bike-rides, climbs, yoga classes and treks (including one to the top of Mount Gimie, the highest mountain on the island of St Lucia). That’s not to mention the themed months with specialised programmes (such as wild swimming, solo travel and dance) overseen by industry experts. Accommodation’s not to be sniffed at, either, with rooms ranging from bijou garden-view suites to sprawling ocean-front villas.
From £464 per night, all-inclusive, excluding flights; thebodyholiday.com
Ketanga Fitness Retreats, Hawaii
Led by experienced coach Beth Roberts, this week-long retreat combines daily workouts with authentic cultural experiences, all set to the backdrop of Kauai’s lush rainforests and dramatic waterfalls. Catering to all levels of fitness, workouts include strength training, restorative stretching and body conditioning. But exploring the destination you’re in is a key part of Ketanga retreats, and you’ll spend plenty of time hiking coastal cliffs, hula dancing and kayaking along the Wailua River to visit the sacred waterfalls. For something even more sedate, there are ukulele lessons, lei making and language classes.
Seven nights from £1,759; ketangafitness.com
Retreat Life, Scotland
Retreat Life is on a mission to restore and re-energise weary souls while reconnecting them to the nature of Britain. The very first retreat will take place in April in the beautiful Craigellachie Hotel in Scotland’s Speyside (otherwise known as whisky country) and will include daily fitness classes with former Team GB synchronised swimmer Sophia Cuell, daily yoga and guided meditations and individual mindset sessions with Team GB consultant Scott Stevenson. Alfresco activities across the four days include hiking up mountains, wild swimming and canoeing across flinty lochs, and each guest will also receive a complimentary Omnos genetics test, which looks at your DNA to identify any potential health and wellbeing issues.
From £1,775 per person, double occupancy; retreatlife.co.uk
Mountain Trek, Canada
Tucked away in the craggy Rocky Mountains of Canada’s British Columbia, Mountain Trek’s retreats are designed to help you take a step back from frenzied urban life and reconnect with yourself and nature. Their all-inclusive programmes – which host a maximum of 16 guests – run Saturday to Saturday and are focused on elevating cardiovascular fitness and lowering levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. There’s sunrise yoga, forest bathing, health lectures and evening fitness classes, but most days are structured around three-to-four hours of Nordic fitness trekking – a full-body workout that strengthens muscles, allows you to take deep gulps of clean air and takes you though some of Canada’s most awe-inspiring scenery.
From £4,369 for seven nights all-inclusive; mountaintrek.com
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