Fitness holidays are fast catching on in Kenya as people inspired to test their endurance book trips with an exercise element. They travel to do boot camps, cycle in the wild, do yoga, triathlons or marathons.
Running holidays are among the most common, especially with establishment of groups like ‘The Medal hunters’ which plan weekend runs. Also, more Kenyans are taking up running to train for Majors, where they run six marathons across the world.
Jedidah Wairimu, an avid runner, always plans short touring excursions shortly after doing her half marathons.
“I just did Tigoni Half Marathon a few weeks ago, and I feel that the sight of the tea bushes as I ran was holiday enough for me,” says the businesswoman.
She started running to lose weight then the habit stuck. She then enrolled for Kilimanjaro Marathon which she participated in with a group of friends. She has several half marathons under her belt, with her most memorable one being The Big Falls Run.
“I recently went for Victoria Falls Run in Zimbabwe with Bucketlist Adventures. After running the half marathon, we visited the falls and even toured neighbouring Botswana. I have also done the Rak, a half marathon in Dubai, Kigali Peace Marathon and other local races that help me tour Kenya. I was in Shompole in Magadi earlier in the year and in Iten just a few weeks ago,” says the mother-of-two.
Jedidah believes that anyone can run or take up their favourite activity and incorporate it into their life such that it does not feel like a burden.
“I am planning to run five half marathons this year starting with one in the Czech Republic and another in Portugal. I therefore have to plan to ensure that my business and my personal responsibilities as a wife and mother are not hurt but enriched by my fitness activities. I am hoping to see several tourist sites after the runs too,” she says.
As to anyone who would like to hop onto the trend, Jedidah advises that one should take it at their own pace. She is a firm believer that Rome was not built in a day, an adage that rings true in fitness.
Dance holidays are also becoming common. Jose Rogarow, known for his roga roga dance exercise moves, is a big advocate of fitness holidays. He is a rhumba instructor who organises holidays centred on dance and outdoor workouts. Sandra Nakweya never misses a rhumba retreat.
“I honestly love adventure and dancing so much. Marrying the two for me was a genius idea. I have gone to Sagana for the rhumba retreat, to Uganda and even to Mombasa. Each location feels different and brings with it its own scenery,” Sandra says.
“There is always an itinerary so you can pick which fitness activities to do or which ones to skip if you feel tuckered out from the previous session. You can then proceed to bungee jump or swim in the ocean if you so wish.”
Dan Odemba, a business man and rhumba enthusiast also recently hopped onto the fitness holiday bus.
“I enjoy rhumba as it is fun and cardio and always manage to squeeze in time to do it at least twice a week. I therefore do not feel that holiday and fitness have to be two mutually exclusive. I went for a rhumba retreat last April to Kampala and in October to Arusha. I feel like fitness and going on holiday is not as arduous as people think it is and is quite enjoyable,” Dan says.
Monica Fauth, the founder of Lamu Yoga Festival, a weeklong fitness retreat says fitness and wellness is becoming a lifestyle.
“I feel like people should treat themselves with kindness. Wherever you are at on your fitness journey, celebrate it. If it is doing 10 minutes of yoga daily and indulging in your favourite delicacies, that is fine. Wellness is a journey. It is true that we are what we eat, but it all starts with recognising that and slowly working your way to where you envision yourself. Find what wellness means to you and nurture that,” Monica sagely advises.