Staying in shape while traveling: 8 super simple tips how to actually do it
By: Maartje Swartjes
For most people, staying active is quite difficult. It takes time and effort to start moving and getting into the flow of working out. However, being active will help you to live longer and healthier. Especially for travelers, staying active is a bit more difficult because you want to enjoy the surroundings and sightseeing-places as much as possible. Yet that does not give you the excuse to not exercise at all during your break! Therefore, I gathered 8 super simple tips to keep you active during the day while still being able to enjoy your time off.
Find a place to work out at the place you’re staying, before your departure
Most hotels and apartments have some kind of gym in their building. Often these gyms aren’t very luxury or big, but good enough to make sure you can get in a good total-body workout. When there is no gym included, try to search for a gym nearby and look for day- or week passes. In this way, you know you will be able to train like normal (if you go to the gym) or join some group classes. And even if you are new to the gym, there are always trainers and coaches who can help you with your first training and give you a short tour.
Even when joining a gym is not an option, there are no excuses for not working out. In most cities, you can find a playground or open gym. With some creativity, you can get in a good workout at these two places. To get some inspiration for your workout you can just google ´open gym workout´ or search on Youtube. Enough tips and tricks to get you moving!
It doesn’t matter what your destination is – I guarantee you that you can find some sort of hiking trail nearby. It doesn’t have to be very long or with lots of ups and downs. Even a small trail in the woods can serve as a great place for activity. Walking or jogging is free, you don’t need equipment for these exercises (do make sure you have some good running shoes!) and you can enjoy the surroundings in a different way. Make sure you plan a route in advance, to prevent yourself from making excuses and not going. There are many options out there, but I always prefer to use www.mapmyrun.com .
If you wake up a little earlier every day, you have some more time to get your body moving. And what is a better start of your day than feeling satisfied and happy? Your blood starts flowing and your body will make more endorphins. Endorphins help to create positive feelings, and you kick-start your morning by doing something fun!
Go for a swim!
When you are searching the Internet for hotels and apartments, make sure you look for ones that have a swimming pool. Nowadays, most of them have so it shouldn’t be too difficult. Having a swimming pool is a great way to get in some extra activity. If you are not into walking and running, the first tip won’t work for you. Instead, you could try to swim every morning for 30 minutes, or if you have got an activity tracker you could set a caloric or distance goal you want to reach. In this way, you burn some extra calories without too much effort.
When you have kids it is even easier! Play a lot with them – bring a small ball with you and play games. Be creative and come up with some cool things to do. My little brother always loves to play ‘goalie’ in the water. The idea is very simple: my dad throws the ball and my brother has to catch it. With some spectacular dives to catch the ball and clumsy throws of my dad, they can play for hours. I always find it fun to see how much fun they can have with so little equipment and so much imagination. Playing games doesn’t have to be difficult in order to help you stay active!
Work out in your room
One of the most excuses I’ve heard is that a gym or sports club is expensive. Especially for low-budget travelers, having to pay extra for working out is not something they look forward to. However, there are so many things you can do that won´t take anything out of your budget for traveling. You just have to be a little more creative. One of the things I always like to do when I am traveling and I am not able to go to a gym is using Youtube.
There are so many video-workouts online. Some are better than others and not every video might be your preference of sports. However, working out is working out and every exercise counts. The videos range from yoga to body combat and from lifting weights to doing bodyweight exercises. Try a video of FitnessBlender: they have many video´s in all sorts of categories. I prefer their HIIT training videos, ab workouts, and the bodyweight strength training. Casey Ho from Blogilates is another option. These videos are great if you are more into Pilates and many of them can be done with just your bodyweight.
Walk some more
When you are looking for hotels; make sure they’re located near restaurants at walking distance. Instead of having to spend money for grabbing a taxi or paying for your gas, you can take a walk and save some money while being active. Next, to saving money, there is nothing better than walking home after eating out and being stuffed with food. Walking will make it easier for your body to handle all of the food because you are standing up and moving (even though it is just little activity). If you would be sitting in a car, your belly and all of your organs would be pushed together and this would make it more difficult to process your food. Another reason to start walking!
Take the stairs to improve your health
Something else that is always an option, is taking the stairs instead of the elevator. It is just as simple as switching the car or taxi for walking. It doesn’t cost anything extra but it will do well for your health. Your heart has to pound harder to make sure your body gets enough oxygen. Therefore, your cardiovascular fitness will improve and this decreases the chance of getting high blood pressure, clogged arteries and gaining weight. Next, to improving your health, a raised heart rate lowers the possibility of chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart diseases.
Visiting an observation tower or another high building is a great activity. Don’t take the stairs – just try to climb as many levels as possible. Once at the top you get rewarded with an amazing view, a pounding heart and many endorphins. All will help you get active and healthy.
Try a local sport
Every country has its sports that are more popular than others. Most of the time, these sports are commonly known and played throughout the world. Yet every country has probably a sport that is less known and played only in that particular area. Try to find one of these sports and look for places near you where you can practice them. This is a fun way to explore the culture of the country you are visiting while maintaining your activity level as well.
For example, Bossaball is a sport that is invented in Spain. It is a mix between volleyball, football, gymnastics, and capoeira. The specially designed court includes a trampoline on both sides of the net and can be used to play the ball over the net. This game is relatively new, very fun and it doesn´t feel like you are forced to be active. As I said before, make sure you do something fun so it doesn´t feel like you are working out.
Bring your workout gear with you
If you don´t pack any clothes in which you can perform a workout, chances are small you will actually do one. It doesn’t have to take up a lot of space. Just a few shirts, one sports legging or shorts (if you won´t stay for a very long holiday) and proper shoes. You could also bring resistance bands with you. These take up no space at all, but will serve for a good workout. Be prepared and it is less likely that you will fail!
In other words, the majority of people find tons of excuses not to work out, especially when traveling. Think of all the time wasted on finding the excuses, where you could’ve easily squeezed in a workout. Think about it!