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Travel Workout – 10 Ways To Stay Fit When Traveling

Ah, the holidays, time to be a slouch and indulge in most delicious meals, preferably three times a day. You earned it, right?

You worked hard all year, with nary a break, saved of plenty of money so you can enjoy your vacation thoroughly, and really just want to relax in the sunshine on the beach. Best not to give any thoughts to the end of your trip and the need to get back into your everyday work clothes that may prove a little tight, because you mysteriously gained five or ten pounds and haven’t exercised at all during your little break

Or what about that six month trip ahead of you and the fact that you won’t have your usual gym nearby, have to leave your bicycle at home and probably won’t go on your morning run every day?

Fear not, the worst-case scenario can be avoided. No matter what kind of trip you’ll be taking, there are plenty of ways to stay fit and in shape and you don’t have to sign up to a local gym or carry your preferred workout equipment with you.

Here are some ideas:

Walk

It seems like a no-brainer, but think about how much you tend to walk during a normal day at home. Or rather, how little. You take public transport, which means you just go to the next stop or station. If you drive your car, you walk even less. During your holidays you can walk just about anywhere, you have the time.

Skip the taxi, the public transport or rickshaw driver’s offer to take you anywhere. Walk instead. Chances are your hotel or hostel is not far from the action. You’ll see much more of the place you’re visiting by walking around. Put on some good walking shoes and go.

Use your hotel’s fitness room

Or swimming pool. Depending on your destination and your budget, your hotel will probably have at least a small fitness facility. Pack an outfit you like to work out in, remember some sneakers or joggers, and spend half an hour on the elliptical. Push a few weights and you’re done.

If you are somewhere sunny, chances are there’ll be a swimming pool (in plenty of countries that is true for many hostels as well). Instead of just floating around in it with a cocktail in your hand, you may as well swim a few laps and get your heart pumping.

Stretch those muscles

Believe it or not, but I’ve seen people travel with their yoga mats, which they indeed used to do their yoga exercises. You don’t need to carry a yoga mat, but it’s definitely good to know some poses that stretch all your muscle groups. It gets the blood flowing and keeps you nice and supple.

Yoga doesn’t require special equipment and not a lot of room and can be done just about anywhere. You just need some reasonably comfortable clothes and half an hour a few days a week and you’re set.

Rent a bicycle

There is not a holiday destination in the world where you can’t rent a bicycle. Not everyone likes to walk everywhere and whilst cycling is easier and takes you further, it’s also a nice little cardio workout.

In some countries it’s the perfect way to enjoy the countryside. If you’re really adventurous, you can even go on a cycling tour, either guided or by yourself. There are also some crazy people, who travel an entire country by bicycle. Imagine how fit those guys are.

Follow the mountain’s call

I am a walker and a cyclist, but not much of a hiker, though I do enjoy it. My knees are unfortunately not up for it. Yet, I’ve hiked and climbed quite a bit on this trip around the world. If your knees are up for it there is hardly a better travel workout. You get your heart going, use muscles you didn’t know you had and will be awarded with magnificent views and a feeling of accomplishment.

If you have issues with your knees, like I do, take it easy and figure out how to move with as little impact on them as possible. Wear knee bandages, which helps, and have some ibuprofen ready to take before you go to sleep.

Know your exercises

Especially those that don’t require any equipment. There are plenty of good exercises you can do just using your own body weight. If you absolutely have to bring something, then why not take a jump rope and a resistance band? They take very little room and can be quite efficient for your travel workout.

Remember that you can always fall back on squats, sit-ups and push-ups. Though, really, there are many more fun things you can do by way of working out.

Holiday activities

Depending on where you are, you should really take part in some outdoor activities. Fresh air does wonders for your metabolism. Add some fun activities like kayaking, surfing, beach volleyball or even just Frisbee, go rollerblading or try golf for the first time.

There’s always something fun you can do or something new you can try. It’ll get you outside and will burn some calories as well.

You are what you eat

Or rather become it. Of course it’s great to indulge in the wonderful food one can find at ones holiday destination. Part of travelling is sampling the local cuisine. But the local cuisine may not always be healthy. Mix it up with fruit salads and vegetarian cuisine that isn’t necessarily fried. Have a good breakfast, skip lunch and have a light snack instead, and try not to have a huge dinner.

At home as abroad the same rules apply: skip the fatty and the red meat, don’t overindulge on carbs and make sure you get your five servings of fruit and veggies every day. That’s perfectly possible in all but the poorest parts of the world.

Skip that beer

Alcohol is one of the worst culprits when gaining weight during your holidays or on any kind of trip. In some parts of the world a beer can be cheaper than a bottle of water. Some travellers make it a point to sample every local draught. Don’t be surprised to come home with a belly that wasn’t there before.

That goes for those delicious and ever so pretty cocktails, too, ladies. Those are usually loaded with sugar, which is bad for your teeth and your waistline. By all means, have a drink and have fun, but don’t overdo it.

Drink water

Simple, but essential advice. It’s easy to get dehydrated even on the flight to your destination. The dry cabin air will dehydrate you and your body needs a little extra nourishment. It’ll help you feel more awake upon arrival as well.

I tend to forget to drink water, because of all the sights I am taking in and all those things I do on any given day. Not healthy. Drinking water is essential to stay in shape, no matter how fit or unfit you are. Water can be more efficient in keeping you alert than a cup of coffee.

At the end of the day, make sure to enjoy yourself. You’re away to see new places, have great adventures and make wonderful memories. It’s nearly impossible to stick to your normal fitness regime and it’s also not really necessary. You’re not at your desk for eight hours every day. In all likelihood you’re out and about most of the time.

So the real danger lies in what you eat and drink. Do indulge and sample many foods. Just make sure not to eat all the time and to try and eat healthy. It’s entirely possible without feeling deprived of any pleasures.

What do you do to stay fit when travelling? Share your ideas and experiences below.

About the author

Anja

I left home eight and a half years ago to travel around the world for what I thought would be three years. I somehow ended up living a year in Melbourne, Australia, almost three years in Christchurch, New Zealand, and a year in Victoria, BC, Canada. In between I traveled slowly, but extensively. Just when I thought I’d go home and settle down for a bit, I ended up living in London working for one of the biggest online travel agencies there is. Needless to say travel holds my heart and when I finish my current trip around the world, I will have been to roughly thirty countries (“only” ten on this trip, though, seven of them for the first time). My first passion is, and always has been, writing. When I get back to Europe, I will continue to work on my freelance career, keep writing my own blogs and publish a novel one of these days, all whilst living on a houseboat, because settling down is not for me.