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So Spa,So Good. How to make the most of a spa weekend to kickstart your fitness regime.

Article by Anne Elliott

The days are getting shorter, there’s a seasonal chill in the air, the summer holiday is a distant memory and food portions get bigger as the weather gets colder. It’s the perfect time to consider a nice little break with a friend and catch up on recent news. You’d have to travel a fair distance now to get some rays, the snows not there yet so what’s left?

A nice long weekend at a Spa can be a welcome break. You don’t even have to travel that far. There are some lovely places to visit in Britain. If you’ve never considered it before, why not take a look now. However, I have often come across people who report that their visit was alright but they’ll never bother going back again. Why should this be?

I feel one of the main reasons is that people go to spas not knowing what they want to achieve. When you book a summer vacation in Greece you have already made many decisions. I want to only relax and sit in the sun all week or I want to go and visit some interesting tourist sites that I’ve learned about, or I’m in it for the beer and the shopping-fest. However, when people book into a Spa, they aren’t always sure of what they want out of it apart from a vague sense of wanting to relax and do some exercise and be pampered and lose weight and eat lots of lovely food and….   Its all a bit contradictory really and is really setting the holiday up for a fall.

What do you want from your spa visit?

Decide exactly what you want whilst in the spa:
• pampering only,
• a kick start to lose weight,
• learn how to change your nutritional habits,
• start an exercise regime etc.,
• be put through your physical paces,
• take up a new activity with good tuition.

The next thing to do is your research. Go out and find what each institution has to offer. Your needs will be much better met and you will find the experience more fulfilling. Don’t shy away from phoning quite a few, saying exactly what you want and ask how they would meet your needs. Different spas will focus on different specialisations and be better equipped in some areas than others. Compare and contrast how they would cater for you. Be exacting in your requirements and ask if there are any special events or offers that might focus on your area of interest.

If you are going to jump into an exercise regime, ask what programmes are on offer, how qualified their instructors are, if they have any ‘specialist’ instructors, what equipment they have, do they offer educational aspects, are there group activities, do they offer ‘sports’ or is it just exercise.

It will be worth the effort, after all, it’s a lot of money just to walk around for 3 days in a fluffy dressing gown and slippers. If you organise it well you should come home feeling refreshed and replenished and ready to get going again. However, sometimes its true that success lies in the preparation. Enjoy!



ANNE ELLIOTT is 52. She has a Personal Training Practice that specialises in working with middle-aged clients and their associated health problems. She lectures in Sports Science at Middlesex University, is an ABAE boxing referee, is registered with REPS at Level 4 and is undertaking a Doctorate in exercise in middle age. Anne appears regularly in the media talking about her specialisation - exercise in middle age.

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  1. Ceri Wheeldon

    November 17, 2011

    Anne, I often meet up with friends at a day spa- it’s a really good way to catch up and unwind. Nirvana Spa near Reading is my personal favourite – I have one friend who disappears off the gym while I prefer to swim. I always feel relaxed and refreshed after a full day at the spa- its as thoug I’ve been away for a weekend! Far healthier, less stressful and cheaper than a day out shopping!

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