We’ve all been there – circled a date on a calendar and given ourselves an ultimatum: X amount of days to lose X amount of weight and get fit before the dream vacation. But what do you do once you’re there? How do you stay fit on the road? What if that trip is more like a gap year around the world? Or a professional sabbatical with no return date?
Travelling gets us out of our routine (which is usually the point) but it can also make some of our healthier habits more challenging, especially on days when you are so exhausted from your jet lags that your body just want to shut down on you! Don’t worry. We have some practical tips for how to stay fit and active and still have an amazing time:
1. Take a walk!
As simple as it might sound, it can be scary to wander about when you don’t have a clue where you are or how to get where you’re going. However, getting lost can be the beginning of an unexpected adventure! Walking burns extra calories and also slows you down, often reminding you to connect to your surroundings in a truly immersive way. It’s also free! Instead of paying for a cab or using a rental to navigate a new city, try it out on foot!
2. Visit the local market or grocery store
Food can be a big part of any traveller’s bucket list and a huge motivation for visiting a certain country! It’s more than okay to indulge in the pub scene or check out a fancy restaurant. My favourite places to frequent are usually the bakeries! However, eating one meal a day you prepare yourself will help with portion control and save you money in the long run. Besides, how else will you learn the word for mango in Spanish, or where to find the freshest fish near the harbour?
If your diet is fairly strict or you have certain food allergies, be open about it with your host! Mealtime etiquette and customs vary by culture, so do a little bit of research ahead of time to see what some of the differences may be. Having an honest and respectful conversation about your health needs may help you avoid any future pitfalls.
3. Pack a pair of sneakers
And maybe a swimming suit or a few items you wouldn’t mind getting sweaty. Half the battle is having the right gear. If you’ve only brought sun dresses and sandals you’ll have every excuse not to go for a run or enjoy a long hike.
Be creative and use your imagination to find what you’ve already packed that might double as work-out equipment. Would your sleeping pad also work as a yoga mat? Could you use some spare rope for jumping rope? How about cans of food as weights? It might sound silly but if all you do is laugh you’ll boost your mood and exercise your abs too! 😉
4. Get outside
Kayaking, riding a bicycle, rock climbing, skiing, trekking. What do all of these activities have in common? Besides getting your heart rate up and burning calories, they all happen OUTSIDE. It’s a beautiful world out there and there are so many ways to explore it! (After all, that’s the initial reasons why we love travelling, right?) If you spend one day in a museum soaking up all of the artwork, try to engage your body the next by doing something physical.
5. Sign up for a class
Miss your home yoga studio or Crossfit pals? Look for a similar class that meets locally (your Workaway host might be a great resource and already have a membership) to see if you can attend. Most gyms and studios have a free trial period and offer guests a chance to check it out before committing…even better!
If there’s nothing close by, try finding an online video you can follow along with. Or download a killer playlist with just the right beats to bust a move. No internet? Grab a buddy and ask them to go for a run with you or lead an impromptu stretching session!
6. Do what the locals do
Most countries have certain games or sports they like to play. While it might not be one you’re familiar with, ask if you can join in! You’ll learn the rules as you go and work up a sweat while you’re at it.
7. Make it a priority
Good habits start by writing down your goals and why you want to achieve them. Once something becomes important to you, you make time for it. Staying fit on the road can be the same way. Make a list of practical, daily fitness activities you can do every day and make it a part of your travel itinerary. Keep it simple and give yourself some flexibility, but set the expectation and you’ll surprise yourself by what you can do!
We all know travel is good for our heart, mind, and soul. There’s no reason it shouldn’t also be great for our bodies! How do you stay fit on the road? We’d love to hear your ideas!