We all know that healthy eating and regular exercise are important components of longevity, but many of us fall into a routine that can start to feel tiresome. Attending the same spin class every Monday, the same yoga practice every Wednesday, and running the same 3 mile loop a couple times per week is certainly good for you — but can leave you feeling stuck in a fitness rut.
To help shake those feelings of exercise stagnation and give people a mental break from the day to day grind, I hosted my first series of Portugal Wellness Retreats.
The group started in Lisbon with a guided walking tour of the city. We got a great overview of this vibrant gem and we sampled some of the country’s most delicious food (and wine!) before turning in for a much needed rest.
The next day, after a glorious bike ride along the river with Cycling Lisbon, we packed up and headed to the Alentejo region. The rustic countryside gave us ample opportunity for scenic walks, outdoor sunrise exercise classes, and yoga under the stars. In between all the workouts, we found time to visit a Cork factory, sample some local wines, and even learn traditional Portuguese recipes in an interactive cooking class. Lots of healthy olive oil, lemon, and cilantro in their cuisine!
We toured castles and convents, visited Evora and other small towns, and a few brave guests even took a dip in the (unheated!) pool.
The last day was spent on E-bikes, cycling up the mountainous roads of a nature preserve just 40 minutes outside Lisbon. We got our heart rates up and were rewarded with stunning views of the water and a cliffside picnic.
Portugal proved the perfect place for a wellness getaway. From the US, the flight is a surprisingly short 6.5 hours, so it’s similar to flying to northern California from the East Coast. The locals are extremely welcoming and the food is delicious. One of the most noteworthy aspects of the trip however, is the fact that it feels like a true escape. Traveling internationally, you can tuck your phone away and really focus on self-improvement and discovery.
Each week, the group of women enjoyed the planned activities in Portugal without feeling tied to the demands of home life. While we could check in and use our mobile devices over WiFi at intervals throughout the day, the retreat served as a true mental and emotional vacation and helped us focus more fully on achieving healthy bodies and healthy minds.
This year’s retreat was offered to women only, but in the future, we plan to put together trips for couples as well. Stay tuned for more information about our upcoming fitness retreats!