Having a Fit-cation in Hilton Head

Hilton Head’s history is nutrient-packed with health-consciousness—from its original Native Americans inhabitants who lived off the land to Charles Fraser’s holistically minded development, Sea Pines Plantation. This tradition continues today not only with us locals, but with our guests, too—and now with more wellness options than ever before. Whether you want to be a tourist in your own town or you are visiting the Island, here’s a how-to to getting fit on you next vacation (or stay-cation) on Hilton Head.

Nancy Ellis

Nancy Ellis

Do Yoga, Pilates, and/or Barre. As a Yoga/Barre instructor, whenever I go anywhere the first thing I do is check out the yoga scene. Hilton Head and Bluffton both offer an array of options like Art of Yoga, Core Pilates, Yoga and Barre, Dancing Dog Yoga, and Jiva Yoga Center. Each space provides something a little bit different—from weekend workshops to dynamic classes to money-saving packages. Nancy Ellis, who graces my Barre classes whenever she’s in town, works in Florida part time for a gastroenterologist and part time as a vegan raw food chef. She has a timeshare here and has been coming to Hilton Head with her family for seven years. She comes for a week at a time and refers to her trips here as a “Fit-cation.” Ellis does as much yoga (and biking, kayaking, etc) as humanly possible and creates her own customized yoga retreat.

DelisheeeYo Harvest Salad

DelisheeeYo’s harvest salad

Nourish Your Body Nutrition. Calling all foodies who also like to be fit—we’ve got a treat for you. Let’s start with personal chefs like Peggy Beck of the Joyful Palate, Sarah Mastriani-Levi of Mannafest Living, or Aram Haroutunian of Celebrations Catering & Events—you can work with these talented tasty chefs to create a menu based around your own food preferences and weight loss goals. Ellis also swears by DelisheeeYo in the Village Exchange on Palmetto Bay Road. “DelisheeeYo has great smoothies for that morning pick me up. We especially like their lemongrass ginger green tea and for lunch and dinner the Buddha Bowl and wraps are amazing. We never can decide what to order because everything on the menu is amazing,” said Ellis. There are also several nutritionists, health coaches and comprehensive boutique wellness providers like Dr. Sheila Stephens of Stephens Compounding Pharmacy who can custom design your wellness plan from supplementation to diet choices. Get Some Spa Time and/or Bodywork. Mistakenly, bodywork is often thought of as an indulgence, but in truth it is a necessity. According to the Mayo Clinic, regular spa visits can rub, scrub, cleanse and ease away “anxiety, digestive disorders, fibromyalgia, headaches, insomnia (related to stress), and muscle and nerve pain.” Other studies (reported by the Huffington Post) found that by booking an appointment you are booking a well-deserved, wellness ticket to increased productivity at work, improved mental health, an improved immune system (and therefore less sick days), less PMS symptoms, and improved self-esteem (due to beautifying and anti-aging treatments, as well as the nurturing effects of self care). Hilton Head’s spa and bodywork professionals include experts in skincare, Rolfing, cranial-sacral therapy, massage therapy, lymphatic massage, acupuncture, chiropractic, and Bars therapy—just to name a few.

Nancy Ellis and a relative

Nancy Ellis and a relative

Get Some Vitamin D and Oxygen. How lucky are we to have so many miles of bike trails and pristine beaches?—Plus our parks, natural preserves, watersports companies, and temperate weather! Getting outdoors and in shape here is easy. According to Ellis, “We normally average 15-25 miles a day on bikes. We take coconut water, apples and nuts with us because when we leave in the morning on our bikes we never know when we will be returning!” Nancy Ellis’ Top 3 Healthy Travel Tips:

  • Download apps like Map My Ride to clock your exercise progress
  • Look for healthy options in maybe unlikely places like Stack’s gluten free pancakes and Mellow Mushroom’s veggie pizza.
  • Bring or buy lots of healthy books and magazines and place them on the coffee table with extra paper and pens so people can flip through them and get ideas about dinner or other meals.

For more information on area businesses specializing in wellness, click here. For more on wellness-oriented special events, check out holistic healthcare practitioner and massage therapist, Carla Golden’s calendar. Be well, Becca