My relationship with fitness is a codependent one that needs consistent love and attention- and if I let it go by the wayside, it will quickly drag me down. While this “relationship” is important to me, let’s face it…I have a more passionate affair with travel- and sometimes the two get in the way of each other.
As I’ve learned over the years, if I don’t exercise at least a few times a week, I start to go a little mad- not to mention lethargic and heavy feeling. Even though traveling comes with a plethora of highs, it can’t replace or make up for the special mental and physical “fix” that comes from a good work out.
Unfortunately, health and fitness naturally take a back seat when traveling (as it should!) but I’ve challenged myself to not forget it completely. I’ve learned to incorporate small daily choices into my routine, no matter where I am in the world, which has prevented me from turning into a TOTAL glutton and enabling me to go on enjoying my travels to the fullest.
Believe me, on the inside lives a 300 pound kid eating cake all day, but I keep myself in check. And if I can, anyone can.
A few tips for staying active (just a bit) while you travel…
Walk everywhere. I repeat, WALK EVERYWHERE. The best way to see a new place is on foot. I did nothing but walk to every attraction in Europe for my first 90 days of travel and I lost almost 20 pounds (18 to be exact, if you must know).
Walking tours FTW. Free walking tours are offered in nearly every city I’ve been to (please keep in mind I am talking about cities versus smaller rural areas that may be more limited in tour offerings), and if they weren’t offered I created my own!
I hadn’t been on a bike in a few years (how sad is that?!) and when I saw it as one of the highlights on a day tour in Cape Town, South Africa, I got pretty excited if you can’t tell. So much fun I didn’t even notice the sweat.
Speedy workouts. A quick 15 minutes of exercises in the morning can make the difference between a good day and a GREAT day for me. Everyday when I wake up I do 20 push ups, 75 squats and 100 bicycles. I miss some days, and that’s okay! But ultimately, this is something I’ve been able to do anywhere and everywhere. It helps put me in a positive mind set for the day while increasing my heart rate juuuust a bit.
***Check out my interview with “Life Well Designed” where I discuss my travel lifestyle, here.
Activities that ACTIVATE you.
I try to choose activities that make you sweat while you see. For example, stand-up paddle boarding. I absolutely love paddleboarding (even back home on the Sacramento River) so it’s fun to work on my skills in different countries! The picture above was taken on my favorite Thai island Koh Tao, where I was able to paddleboard for 200 baht/ hour which is equal to $5.60 USD.
A few other tips…
Eat well, often. Yes, it’s a given that you are going to eat more while you’re traveling. You want to try all of the special foods that each place has to offer, and that is absolutely part of the experience. I have found it best, however, to stick to trying a few new items a day versus going on massive food tours- those are tempting but I don’t think I’d be able to walk by the end! I prefer to make my own food tour and spread it out over the course of my visit.
Don’t even think of a scale. But…BONUS if you do: everywhere else in the world weighs themselves in kilograms, so if you do weigh yourself it will magically appear as if you’ve lost half your body weight (ie. 100 lbs = 45 kgs). Go ahead, live in denial and skip the weight conversion to pounds. Your weight is your future self’s problem, so sidestep that scale and keep on exploring.
I am learning more every day how to better respond to my body’s needs, and I partially credit my travels for helping me strengthen my ability to do so. As you’ll notice a few days into your very own travels, if you don’t listen to your body on the road, eventually it will make you listen! Better to maintain a healthy relationship through and through so you can continue on your happy way. Trust me, I’ve learned and RE-LEARNED this over the course of my journey across 4 continents.
Stay healthy TODAY so you can travel more TOMORROW.