Fit Meets Flop - Incredible Fitness And Wellness Retreats Around The World

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Depending on your modus operandi, wellness might be a term you’ve just stumbled over, or one you have tattooed behind your left ear. According to the UK-based mental health charity Mind, one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem within this year and one in six report experiencing problems such as anxiety and depression in any given week. Our phones are appendages, carrying as much values – it can often feel – as our hearts and lungs, and sleep is simply an after-thought. The idea of taking a break, stepping away from the thrum of everyday life is no longer an indulgence saved for retirement but a necessity. Equally travel is a part of everyday life – a weekend here, a weekend there is the constant of every millennial and above’s vocabulary. That is why wellbeing breaks, health-focused retreats and fitness programmes are now part of the mainstream. The days of bleak cell-like rooms demanding a certain number of downward dogs a day are long gone. Today’s retreat landscape sees the best of the best, Michelin-starred chefs creating 500 calorie meals, Gwyneth Paltrow’s spiritual guide leading your morning jog. One of the world's leading hotel groups Six Senses has recently launched a sleep programme across its portfolio of hotels – from Portugal to the Seychelles, Oman to Thailand. Enjoy a consultation with a wellbeing expert to walk through any questions or concerns related to sleep and rest each night on a handmade 100 percent natural, fully biodegradable mattress and organic cotton sheets - in a highly temperature-controlled room. Or in London, at Berners Tavern in Fitzrovia historically a spot for British decadence - macaroni and cheese served with brioche -has recently launched an entirely vegan plant-based menu. From Marbella to Switzerland, the south of France to Croatia, here are some of the most memorable retreats to get fit and recharge.

Peak Health, Switzerland

In the Swiss Alps we think of Heidi – healthy, hearty and with a great lung capacity. Health is a huge focus in Switzerland –it’s a destination that for decades has been a leader in this movement. The idyllic beauty here is startling; in Saas-Fee with a single glance you’ll take in more towering 4,000 metre peaks than anywhere else in the world. And this is the setting for a newly launched offering from the Capra in partnership with the wellness team at Peak Health. The concept behind Peak Health is simple – to truly change your habits and your wellness you must understand your body and its potential. And you must approach wellness as a lifestyle – not a pill to be popped or something to be tried out on a Saturday. That means education is a huge part of this programme. Each day the team offers a series of workshops and send guests home with armfuls of in-depth reports and a solid methodology and toolkit to take their learnings into their daily routine. It’s easy to stay healthy when all you’re being fed is crudité from a Michelin-starred chef and of course much harder when you’re back to hour-long commutes, 16-hours days and beer gardens at every turn. The medical and wellness experts at Peak Health seek to help combat that. The team here have just the type of varied background you want - hailing from and having worked around the world - from Aspen to Switzerland, Dubai to New York.

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The journey here starts before you arrive, beginning with a full data-based assessment to understand any hormonal imbalances and your metabolic profile. It’s based on this that the team designs your programme for the week, which includes a mix of group and personal fitness, nutritional and physio sessions, massage and wellness treatments, and of course healthy eating. Of course, this is all done from the car-free mountain town of Saas-Fee at the five-star resort The Capra. This all-suite chalet hotel feels authentically Swiss, designed in a palate of caramel-coloured wood and framed by floor-to-ceiling windows.

By Brigitte Arsenault

Ashley Knight