What is a fitness retreat and why is this type of travel rising in popularity?

What is a fitness retreat and why is this type of travel rising in popularity?

Many people need more time for self-care, including a healthy diet, exercise and time to relax. Perhaps that’s why the benefits of a fitness retreat are seeing a rise in popularity for this type of travel.

Should you consider such an escape when the time comes to use your vacation time or annual leave? Could your workplace benefit from this trend?

Understanding what a fitness retreat is and what you can gain from such an excursion can help you make the right choice for yourself and possibly wow others, too.

What is a fitness retreat?

A fitness retreat is a getaway or break from your normal routine that often incorporates a health and wellness focus.

While there’s no specific format, these excursions typically revolve around physical activities and exercise, and may encompass other wellness aspects, such as nutritious food, meditation, various health-related workshops, and time for relaxation and reflection.

Types of fitness retreats

Fitness retreats take multiple forms, including the following:

  • Individual retreats: These include booking a spa getaway at a location that offers retreat-style activities, putting together such an itinerary a la carte-style or even planning a staycation focused on fitness activities.
  • Group retreats: This style might involve bridal party getaways and friendship weekends, or offer a fitness-focused retreat in a group setting.
  • Corporate retreats: You’ll attend one with your organisation as a team-building exercise or even as a reward for well-done jobs.

Benefits of a fitness retreat

Do you hesitate to part with your hard-earned money for holiday? Consider these benefits of a fitness retreat — most find the perks more than justify the price.

1. Devote time to wellness

Far too many individuals lack time for self-care, and healthy eating and exercise are often the first things to go out the window when life gets hectic.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of a fitness retreat is providing time to reset, reconnect with positive wellness habits, and mindfully observe how your physical wellbeing influences your overall mindset and productivity.

2. Develop healthier daily practices

Some people never learned healthy habits at home, and many schools have cut PE classes. As a result, many children reach adulthood with little idea of how to care for their wellbeing.

They might get bits of advice from social media, family and friends but have little idea how to integrate them into their lifestyle. Fitness retreats often feature workshops that teach participants how to make more positive daily choices and devote time to self-care practices.

3. Improved mental health

Poor mental health can affect your overall wellness as much as physical complaints, with equally devastating results. For example, approximately 13 fatal drug overdoses occur daily in Pennsylvania alone — multiply that figure by the nationwide scale.

Burnout is one cause of poor mental health. Most fitness retreats provide plenty of time to rest and recharge between activity sessions, and offer workshops that teach positive methods of managing stress.

4. Connection with self

It’s easy to lose sight of your purpose in the hustle and bustle of daily life. Fitness retreats provide a valuable opportunity to reconnect with your inner self, get mindful about your values and make lifestyle choices that honour who you are inside.

5. Connection with others

Fitness retreats also encourage the ‘tend and befriend’ state in your nervous system, facilitating a genuine connection with others.

Those on individual retreats mingle with those who also value wellness and self-improvement. Such getaways offer corporate retreat-goers a chance to sweat side by side with others in the organisational hierarchy they might not interact with daily.

There’s tremendous value in managers and staff members mingling with each other as humans, not direct reports. Furthermore, healthier employees drive higher productivity, lower healthcare costs and reduce sick days, directly benefiting ownership as well as staff participants.

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Tips for organising your fitness retreat

Maybe you crave the benefits of a fitness retreat for yourself. Perhaps you’re in charge of organising a group holiday or corporate retreat. Whatever your role, the following tips can help you make the most of your event.

1. Timing

Fitness retreats vary in length, from afternoon escapes to month-long excursions to destinations like Goa, India.

If planning for yourself, consider setting brief monthly getaways from one day to a long weekend with at least one lengthier holiday per year. Even the most time-crunched can sneak away for a single afternoon to focus on wellness.

It’s harder to find a time that works for everyone when planning a corporate retreat. However, those who can’t attend often worry about the impact on their careers, so avoid times when your staff members frequently request time off for other reasons. For example, September and October are usually good months — children return to school, but most people haven’t yet embarked on year-end holiday plans.

2. Pricing

Fitness retreats vary in price depending on:

  • Where you go: In general, the least expensive fitness retreats keep you close to home. Plane, train or cruise ship fares increase rates.
  • The included amenities: Some fitness retreats include everything except transportation — they take care of lodging, meals and scheduling activities. Such versions often cost more, so compare all-inclusive prices against selecting a la carte experiences.
  • Accommodation: Those choosing an all-inclusive retreat rely on on-site lodging. Individuals planning a more a la carte fitness retreat might bed down in anything from a luxury hotel room to a yurt under the stars in a beautiful natural setting.

3. Location

A personal fitness retreat might take place in your own apartment. However, many such events take place in beautiful outdoor settings to combine the healing power of nature with activities and workshops.

When planning a fitness retreat for yourself, you can go as rugged as you like. However, those scheduling for a group should remember that participants have varying abilities. What may be a rugged getaway for some could pose impossible barriers to others.

4. Activity selection

Group fitness retreats should include activities all participants can enjoy. Therefore, seek experiences with the following points in mind:

  • Inclusivity: Are the suggested physical activities gentle enough for everyone, or are the instructors well-versed in modifications to suit all fitness levels? Can those with physical disabilities also participate, and does the facility have sufficient resources to accommodate everyone?
  • Desired purpose: What’s your ultimate goal — what do you hope to achieve from your experience? Some fitness retreats focus on general wellness, while others target more specific needs, such as managing Type 2 diabetes or overcoming addiction.

Unwind your way with a fitness retreat

A fitness retreat could be just what the doctor ordered for your precious holiday time. It’s also a fabulous idea for group getaways, allowing you to focus on wellness and mastering healthy new habits with others in your circle.

Consider planning a fitness retreat for your next getaway. Whether you indulge in a budget staycation version or jet off to an exclusive wellness retreat, you’ll return feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

Beth Rush - Writer - SHE DEFINED

Beth Rush

This article was written by Beth Rush.

Beth is the nutrition editor at Body+Mind and has more than 5 years of experience writing about how to sample global cuisines sustainably. You can find Beth on Twitter @bodymindmag. Subscribe to Body+Mind for more posts by Beth Rush!