Traveling is an incredibly exciting experience. Your whole environment changes and novelties abound. Daily activities tend to be more indulgent and/or fun. All of this holds great appeal, but there is one aspect some people are not totally prepared for – an entire change of routine. Now, staying fit while traveling require regular attention and commitment. But if you’re committed to your fitness and general wellbeing, you can find a way to stick to some sort of a travel workout. All it takes is a little foresight and forward planning to exercise while traveling.
Setting out on the road with a few go-to exercise routines is a good start, but there is a lot more you can do each day in order to maintain your fitness throughout your trip. Here are 5 tips on how to remain fit while travelling –
1. Have a regular yoga practice for a great travel workout
Yoga is a travel-friendly activity in many ways. Firstly, all you need is a mat and the space to put it down. The meditative aspect of yoga also brings a sense of calm that serves you well on the road; daily challenges can be tackled with patience and tolerance.
Remember that yoga mats are great to have with you on your travels, as you can do any kind of exercise on them. Invest in a travel yoga mat before you go, and you’ll only add a kilo to your load.
As yoga is a universally accepted exercise, it is usually pretty easy to find a yoga class or two to attend on your travels. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a total beginner or a seasoned yogi – most towns and cities around the world can offer at least one yoga class. Even if you can’t find one, you can do yoga by yourself or get together with other travelers to share the activity in a local park. That’s a great idea for obvious reasons! There is an expat/backpacker group in most towns frequented by travelers, so you can either advertise for yoga comrades in those, or find groups already set up.
If you’re doing yoga solo, you can download apps for exactly that purpose. The same goes for any kind of exercise – apps offer coaching, routines and record keeping functions for maximum motivation! If you don’t ‘do’ smartphones while traveling, simply take a written yoga sequence with you and follow that. Depending on the type of yoga you do, you can really boost your physical strength and fitness. Dynamic yoga types like astanga or vinyasa flow are best for this.
2. Improvise with your bodyweight to exercise while traveling
Going to the gym makes fitness so easy – you barely need to think about it. It can be a different story during travel though. Although you may be able to find the odd gym with drop-in options on your travels, you probably won’t be able to count on it. If you love the gym and the routines that go with it, don’t worry. You can still work out without the machines and weights! It just takes a little more improvisation and perhaps some forward planning.
You actually don’t need any weights at all to maintain and build muscle tone if you educate yourself on bodyweight exercises before you go. If you’re new to this, take care to learn about correct form so that you don’t injure yourself accidentally. Injuries are the last thing you need when traveling!
If you can do squats, lunges, press-ups, pulls ups, rows and planks, you’re already fully equipped. These are the primal movements so incorporating them into a routine will definitely help you to maintain your physique.
Shredding the fat you gained sampling all those extra carbs and exotic treats can be done on the go, rather than going home with an overwhelming excess to shift! If you do want to use weights, you can improvise with those too. For instance, you can fill 1, 2 or 5 litre water bottles with either water or sand, dependent on how heavy you want your weights. You can also fill bags with sand. Use them to add weight to squats and sit ups.
3. Join local fitness groups and drop in classes
While traveling you should be able to find organised fitness activities easily enough. Check in with online expat and travel groups, where you can find ads for everything from running clubs to park yoga, tai chi and boot camps. Gyms, fitness centres and yoga centres may well offer drop in classes for who can’t commit to long-term contracts.
It’s a good idea to check out the options on meet.up.com as people advertise all kind of activities on there, from hikes to cycling tours. You might also invite people to join you on online forums if you’re going for a run.
Running in groups tends to be more motivating than going it alone, and other travelers or locals might have better awareness of the local area than you do.
4. Make the most of everyday fitness opportunities on your travels
There are opportunities to improve your fitness wherever you go, day in, day out. Not everyone has the time or inclination to plan lengthy, complex exercises while traveling or hunt down fitness centres with flexible options. If you’re serious about maintaining your fitness, you can do so just by being mindful of your choices.
So, rather than taking the taxi or bus, find out how long it might take to walk (or rented bicycle) to the next town. A slower pace along the route might be more interesting, and you could burn a couple of hundred calories.
When you’ve got the option to take the lift or the stairs, go for the stairs every time. Swim lengths in the hotel swimming pool instead of just sunning yourself.
5. Add some adventure to your travel
If you’re traveling, you’re probably looking for a bit of adventure along the way.
One of the easiest and most pleasurable ways to maintain your fitness while traveling is to add a few vigorous activities to your agenda.
One day you might do a jungle trek, while another you might go on a mountain bike tour. The next could see you exploring lakes and caves in a kayak.
Provided that you stay on your feet as often as possible and are prepared to sacrifice time here and there, there is no reason why you can’t keep fit as you go about your day. Even half an hour each day of walking is a travel workout that will contribute to a healthy body. Fitness on the road may just turn out to be a lot of fun!
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This is a guest post by Cal Bailey. Cal runs Mountain Leon – a travel blog he started after 2 years on backpacking around the world. If you want to learn more about life on the road or his blogging, you can read his latest blog posts and follow him on Facebook.
What is your best tip for keeping fit during travel? Share in the comments below.
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