9 of the best fitness challenges in 2016 Source: www.facebook.com/38DegreesNorth

9 of the best fitness challenges in 2016

Fancy trying out a new fitness regimen? From forest bathing to survival experiences, we have it covered...

by 01 February 2016

Are you tired of trudging to the gym to go through the same circuit, staring at other people trying to keep fit? Do you want to do something other than running, sit-ups or a weekly spin class? If you want a fitness regimen and like to be adventurous, here is the perfect list for you. This is our pick of the most exciting sports and challenge based holidays around the world.

1) DNA-based fitness training

The team at Ibiza’s 38 Degrees North aim to “help people achieve their genetic potential”. Two weeks before the retreat guests are asked to submit a saliva swab for analysis which forms the basis of an individualised fitness programme. The emphasis is training in nature with Pilates, yoga, SUP and personal or group training sessions in addition to calming Feng Shui coastal view bedrooms. www.thirtyeightdegreesnorth.com

2) Extreme racing in Norway


Source: www.facebook.com/IGOadventures

If you fancy braving the elements Scandi-style. take part in the inaugural IGO cross country quadrathlon race through the Norwegian wilderness. The four-day event involves both downhill and cross country skiing, fat biking and marathon running and is designed to push participants to challenge their physical and mental limits. You’ll need to be pretty fit to take part, in March, but you can get in touch with IGO to ask about events at other times. They will provide you with Olympic trainers for your preparation. igoadventures.com

3) Skyrunning


Source: skyrunning.com

The newest sport on the block (or on the mountain to be more accurate) is called skyrunning. This new high altitude version of fell running is growing in popularity in the Alpine region of Europe.

The Rosa Alpina Hotel in the Italian Dolomites are have launched a new skyrunning programme with a trainer leading guests on two-hour runs along mountain trails at more than 6,600 feet and at a gradient of 30 per cent. Alternatively, Chamonix-based Icicle has launched skyrunning weeks with guided runs of 15-20km per day. www.rosalpina.it and www.icicle-mountaineering.ltd.uk

4) Swim from one continent to the other

Bosphorous Swimtrek

Source: www.swimtrek.com

If swimming is your thing, take part in the Bosphorus Cross Continental Swim from Asia to Europe this July. Join more than 1,500 competitors from all around the world as they plunge into Istanbul’s famous strait for this 6.5km race. As one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world the Bosphorus will be temporarily closed to shipping traffic for the event. Specialist swim tour operator Swimtrek can guarantee entry into the race in addition to accommodation in a five star hotel. www.swimtrek.com

5) Cycle a stage of the Tour de France


Source: trektravel.com

The Etape du Tour allows amateur cyclists to complete a stage of the world’s most famous cycle race. It is designed to celebrate the challenge of the famed routes and share in the passion that surrounds the Tour de France. This year's route covers stage 20 of Le Tour, travelling 146km from Megève to Morzine and, with four mountain passes, is not for the faint-hearted. Specialist travel operator, Trektravel, are offering guaranteed entrance to this popular race along with five star accommodation in Megève. trektravel.com

6) Freediving in the Maldives


Source: www.dusit.com

Holidays to the Maldives usually include a lot of lying around in stunning surroundings being waited on hand and foot. But if you’re looking for something more adventurous why not try out freediving? Unlike scuba diving, freediving requires very little equipment, often just a large fin attached to both feet and a serious pair of lungs. The country’s first centre, located at Dusit Thani Maldives offers freediving holidays for beginners or those who are more experienced. www.dusit.com

7) Forest bathing

Forest bathing

Source: www.hotel-miramonti.com

Shinrin-yoku, also known as forest bathing, has been practised in Japan for years and is now becoming one of the hottest trends in the West. It is, essentially, walking through forests in a mindful way and has been proven to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. The Miramonti Boutique Hotel offers shinrin-yoku walks through the forest in the Trentino-Alto Adige region of northern Italy. www.hotel-miramonti.com

8) Digital detox holidays

Time to Log Off

Source: www.itstimetologoff.com

Perhaps booking on a holiday specifically to detox from your digital life seems a bit unnecessary. But nowadays for many of us switching off and staying away from our mobile phones can seem an impossible challenge. And with research showing people are spending more time online than they are asleep there is definitely a growing need for and interest in digital detox holidays. This year specialist tour operator Time to Log Off are running digital free retreats in Italy, Cornwall and Hawaii where guests can reconnect with the analogue world with activities that involve yoga, mindfulness and creative workshops. www.itstimetologoff.com

9) Survival schools


Source: www.facebook.com/adastraadventure

If learning to survive without your mobile phone isn’t radical enough for you then book yourself onto Adastra Adventures’ latest trip. This two week long experience deposits guests into the middle of the Colombian jungle with training in basic survival techniques that include foraging for food, building a shelter and first aid. Specialist tour operator Bushmasters also runs two week survival experiences to the Amazon jungle with training that includes piranha hunting. www.facebook.com/adastraadventure