Being active and eating well is key to mental and physical health, but how do you manage this whilst traveling and still experiencing the most within new cultures and places?
There are a few things I do when I travel for both short and longer trips that help me stay fit and happy whilst away from my normal routine. I hope that sharing these will give you some ideas on what you can do (for free) whilst traveling to maintain your mental and physical well-being.
1. Bodyweight exercises
When I’m at home and traveling I aim to do 10-15 minutes of bodyweight exercises each day. This includes things like pushups, squats and several specific exercises for my alignment problems/hip inflexibility. None of these require any equipment and can be quickly and easily done in a hotel room or park. I usually do 3 sets of 10 reps and you can find some inspiration for exercises online or from a personal trainer.
I love traveling with my fold-able yoga mat! It’s fairly light, fits in my carry on suitcase/bag and allows me to do yoga and stretches in a hotel room or outdoor area. I aim for 15-30 minutes of yoga most days- something that helps incredibly with my mental and physical health.
If you’re not at the stage where you can practice alone, check online for local classes. I’ve done this in Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Nepal and loved taking a familiar class in a different environment/culture.
3. Explore by walking
Whether at home or abroad, I love walking. I think it’s the best way to explore a new place- you notice details that you otherwise wouldn’t if you took the subway or a taxi, you’re free to pop into cafes and stores and you can stop to take photos whenever you like. You don’t need to pack any specific gear aside from comfortable shoes and warm clothes, and you can keep track of how far you’ve walked through your phone’s health app.
Tips: I don’t pay for mobile data when I travel, instead, I find my way around by downloading offline maps before leaving home. Many cities also offer free walking tours, providing local history and information whilst getting some exercise and meeting new people.
4. Head out for a jog
My next favorite way to take in the sites. I love getting outdoors by myself and exploring by running- it allows you to see much more in a shorter period than walking but doesn’t allow as much freedom to take a camera or pop into stores. Again, offline maps provide a nice backup if you lose your way.
More recently I’ve discovered Park Run, a free timed, weekly run which is conducted throughout the world. It’s a great way to meet people, see a place from a local perspective, as well as providing extra motivation to get out and exercise. If you want something more focused on local attractions then AirBnB also offers running tours in some cities, for as little as $5. You you meet up with a local and they take you past the main attractions whilst getting some exercise.
5. Brunch and Linner
Adapt eating to accommodate adventuring. Free hotel/hostel breakfasts are a great money and time saver. I normally have a big, protein-filled breakfast in mid-late morning, then explore over the next 5-6 hours. I’ll take a few healthy snacks with and then have an early dinner. This means that you’re only eating out once a day- a huge money saver when traveling. Being active and exploring most of the day also helps avoid overeating.
6. Moderate don’t restrict.
As a disclaimer to the point above, I love food and believe that trying local cuisines is one of the best aspects of travel. Eating out only once a day ensures I choose a great cafe or restaurant and really savour and appreciate the meal.
I’d love to hear what you do when traveling to stay fit and healthy!