You’ve saved your money, booked your plane ticket and you are just about finished packing your bags. You’ve quit the gym but packed your faithful running shoes and gym gear with the positive motivation you will be brave and run unfamiliar streets – it will help you explore right? Keeping fit while travelling is easy, the blogs say so and instagram can’t be wrong.
1 month into travelling and the running shoes have only seen sunlight when your hiking boots broke, or you ‘lost’ one on an overnight train. Gym gear is only worn because you realize the elephant pants are not made to last forever. The amount of sweat in this humidity is only manageable with ‘breathable’, light and elasticized clothing. You’ve eaten everything offered to you, drank a little too much alcohol and sweet drinks when you should have had water. You’ve had a little too much ice cream and the body you left with doesn’t quite feel the same. That instagram ideology of permanent beach body look isn’t happening, I mean, you even have pimples! – I never had pimples before. Something has to change.
Keeping fit while travelling is hard. Lets get straight to the point right now. It’s not easy to motivate yourself to go workout in a strange gym, when there’s a beautiful market running a few streets down. To wake up in an unfamiliar city and go for a run – especially when you are as hopeless at direction as me – when you don’t know the landmarks, streets and have only a small grasp on the customs is actually pretty scary.
Before I left Scotland to travel the world full-time, I basically lived at the gym – my sisters also worked there, free membership – and the trainers became my friends. So I was pretty active. I thought being active would automatically transfer over and I would keep it up while away. This did not. It took me six months to get back to a place where I found it manageable (not easy) keeping fit while travelling.
So how? Well, if it matters enough to you – just like saving for travelling did – you make it a priority.
Where to start? You don’t have to pay for expensive apps, join programs or have access to reliable Internet to keep fit while travelling. The best ways are always free and the habits are actually really easy to follow.
Here is what I do to keep fit while travelling.
- Walk Everywhere. Keeping fit while saving money, I love it!
Exploring the area around you is always fun, instead of jumping in a taxi to get to the sight you want to see, walk. I bet you will find some amazing hidden treasures.
If you are nervous about just ‘getting up and going’ use one of the many ‘Offline Maps’ apps – which are incredible – I use MapsMe, to plan your route. Most of the time, honestly, I wing it and just walk. Always carry the address of where you are staying, in the local language, just incase you get lost. Walking around an unfamiliar area will help you uncover some ‘off the beaten track’ highlights. You’ll find great cafes and restaurants more reasonably priced than those on the tourist trail. You’ll find secret spots all to your own and places only the locals go.
If you are more confident, go for a run! Great way to explore! – Just like cassie here, running up the stairs in San Francisco!
If you choose to change only one thing, walking everywhere will make keeping fit while travelling, a lot easier.
- Do things that you enjoy. Seems pretty obvious huh?
Well, if you are the type of person who loves nature, get out there and enjoy it. I mean the ocean is right there, go dive in! (literally) It costs nothing. Go on the snorkelling day trip, scuba trip or sailing! Go hiking or if you are in place with no hills, go for a walk. If you are an adrenaline junkie, tryout some awesome mountain biking, kayaking etc. Activities are everywhere; you normally don’t have to look hard. A lot can be free and inexpensive. Hotels and hostels will also offer morning classes such as yoga which can often be free of charge! These will help you keep up fitness, while you have fun! – Also if you are out most of the day you don’t eat as much ice cream, right?
- Take the stairs. Okay, this is the most unappealing sentence. Especially when you have heavy luggage, been travelling for hours the last thing you want to do is take the stairs. But this is possibly one of the simplest forms of exercise. While you may not appreciate heaving your suitcase up a number of stairs, your body does. Although you have been travelling for a number of hours, you have also been sitting down. Moving wakes your body up, increase blood flow, boosts brainpower and readies you for the day ahead.
- Keep a bottle of water with you, always. Sounds simple, but the biggest thing that will affect you when you travel is dehydration. This by default makes everything harder. It’s one we are all guilty of, drinking more alcohol instead of water, sweet drinks, coffee and numerous yummy local juices. Keep a bottle of water with you always and aim to drink at least two a day, that way you know you’re hydrated. Your mood will better, fitness will better, skin will better and all round hydration makes you a better person!
- Everything In Moderation. First off, I am NOT going to tell you not to eat that ice cream – mainly because I think I’ve had ice cream everyday for the last week – but maybe just stop at once a day? Keeping fit while travelling goes beyond just working out. Make sure you eat good whole foods, not just cheap empty calories. This will keep your energy levels high to explore and snacking prone minimal. Remember vegetables and fruit? They will keep you healthy, stop you getting sick, taste delicious and cheap! So you want those tasty deserts, go for it, but maybe not if you’ve eaten delicious delicacies all day.
You do all of the above but want a little more? Okay. So I have tried a number of apps but here are the two I always go back to;
Daily Workouts (Free, yay)
This app is great, you can choose the area you want to work out, how long you want to work out for, how many circuits etc and off you go. No equipment required. This app also kindly, remind you daily to work out. This way you can do an intense workout anywhere and could only be 10 minutes! Better than nothing! A great app to use if you are not a confident runner, keeping fit while travelling is easy if you use this!
Kayla Innes – Sweat (Paid)
I personally, love this app and choose to pay for it because I can honestly see results. The structure keeps me motivated and the meal ideas are simple to make, even when travelling.
The downsides? Well firstly it’s pretty pricey per month ($20NZD). The workouts require you to have weights, benches etc. I have overcome this problem by using large rocks, books, bottles, tables etc. Like I said, if it is your priority you will make it work. You also need to have an internet connection for it to work – not always possible when travelling. – I have overcome this by screenshot the workouts on the days I wont have Internet so I can still do them.
Keeping fit while travelling is extremely important to me, but that is who I am. – plus just looking at chocolate makes me gain weight. – Everyone is beautiful whatever shape and size. I’m not trying to promote loosing weight, just sharing my little tips that I use everyday to keep enjoying my hikes – and my chocolate. I’m in no way a fitness expert. I hope that by adopting some of these habits, you find it helps you too!