On your marks, get set for an active holiday

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With London 2012 just around the corner, you might be feeling inspired to get a bit more active than usual. But if pounding the treadmill and riding the exercise bike in the gym don’t seem quite so appealing over the summer months, why not swap the sun-lounger for a more active summer holiday this year.

Here are five ideas for staying toned while you travel, from Intrepid Travel.

Thigh-busting cycling adventures

Riding a bike is a great way to get a cardio workout while strengthening your leg muscles and trimming your thighs. Hills are especially good, so get off flat roads and onto a gradient to really feel the results.

For a thrilling two-wheeled adventure, you can Cycle Vietnam from Hanoi in the north to Ho Chi Minh City in the south. Ride through tranquil villages, past ancient temples and ruins, and enjoy spectacular coastal views as you conquer the stunning Hai Van Pass.

Walk yourself fitter

Machu Picchu, Peru

Going for a brisk walk is one of the easiest and most effective ways to tone up, lose weight and improve your all-round fitness – as well as being a great way to relieve stress and improve mental health.

Follow the famous Inca Trail to the ‘lost city’ of Machu Picchu in Peru and you’ll feel a real sense of achievement when you reach the Sun Gate and see the awe-inspiring Machu Picchu below. Thousands of people walk the trail every year, but it’s no Sunday afternoon stroll. At 28 miles, it is long and often steep but if you’re reasonably fit you should complete the route.

Target your glutes on a hiking adventure

Hiking up steep mountains requires a lot of energy, especially if you’re at altitude – so you’ll burn plenty of calories. On the way up, the incline will give your glutes a good workout. All this and the added benefit of experiencing nature at its very best!

Marvel at the sheer scale of the Grand Canyon and explore America’s great outdoors while you get your glutes working, by Hiking Yosemite & Canyons.

Get kayak-toned arms

As you glide across the water reflect on this – kayaking is one of the best ways to improve your arm strength. The water acts as resistance that you continuously have to work against, so you’ll tone up your arms and shoulders while you see the sights.

For a city tour with a difference, try a Melbourne moonlight kayak tour or explore New Zealand’s Abel Tasman national park by sea kayak.

Swim in azure seas on a sailing adventure

Swimming is a great all-round cardiovascular workout, and unlike exercising on land it won’t put any strain on your joints so is ideal for people with bad knees or other injuries.

Sail from Santorini to Mykonos and you can swim in warm turquoise waters as you hop from island to island. Eat fresh seafood off the boat, wander through olive groves and quaint cobble-stoned villages, climb the winding stairs of Syros and explore Mykonos along the way.

For more active holiday ideas visit www.intrepidtravel.com/active

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