If you are long term readers of Live Dream Discover you will know that we are always trying to achieve a healthy balance of work, play, fun & fitness. As full time travelers we know first hand how difficult it can be to maintain that balance and stay fit while traveling. So we are creating a series of articles aimed at helping you to do just that.
The first in this series looks at the best ways to stay in shape on the road. It’s hard enough to stick to a regular exercise routine when you’re at home with access to a gym, fitness classes and the continuity of a regular schedule. But when you are traveling the absence of these tools make staying fit feel like a daunting…sometimes even impossible task.
Well after more than three years on the road we have come up with some pretty great solutions to your travel and exercise dilemma. We are here to tell you that after reading this article you will no longer have any excuses not to stay fit while traveling.
We’re sure that some of these suggestions you will already be familiar with but there are bound to be some new and hopefully inspiring ideas to get you moving.
Jogging or Power Walking
Jogging and power walking are of course a pretty obvious as you can do it anywhere and it takes very little equipment. A decent pair of lightweight cross trainers and you’re set. But what we are suggesting is that you look at jogging a little differently. We know you’d rather be on the beach or seeing the sights than take 30 minutes to exercise but what if you can do both? If you’re on a beach vacation get up early before the heat hits and go for a scenic morning run or walk on the sand. If you’re in the city and want to go sightseeing opt to power walk to and between sights rather than taking a taxi.
Exercise doesn’t have to be boring or feel like work. Get up off the sun lounger and do something active that you also enjoy doing. Play beach games like volleyball, or water polo or tennis or golf. You will burn calories and build muscle and you won’t even notice that you’re actually working out because you’re having too much fun.
If your hotel has a gym on site you’re obviously set but if you’re staying at an Airbnb or a boutique hotel that’s likely not an option. But you can still get some resistance training with a hotel room workout using your own body weight or some simple equipment. Here’s an example of a simple 30 minute hotel room workout:
15 Push ups
15 Deep squats
15 Chair dips
20 Jumping Jacks
Repeat this circuit 3x
Cycling is a great way to combine exercise and sight sightseeing and most tourist destinations offer bike rentals and even bike tours. Many cities now have bike rentals with pick up and drop off stations and designated bike lanes. Small and holiday resort towns almost always have a couple of small rental shops. Bike tours are a fun way to see the sights and the routes are usually planned out to avoid excessive traffic if that concerns you. Plus you move faster than on foot but you can get into places that a car can’t. And of course you;re burning calories and working those leg muscles.
If you’re a nature lover like we are then hiking may become one of your favorite ways to squeeze in a good cardio and leg session while taking in the views of the city or countryside. Many cities have a natural or man made hill, often with some sort of site or viewing point at the top. Of course if you’re more in the countryside there should be plenty of hiking options of varying difficulty. Either way put on some good shoes, grab your camera and get out for some exercise and photo taking.
If your holiday takes you somewhere warm with a beach or outdoor pool you have one of the best ways for people of all fitness levels to get some exercise. Swimming laps, doing water aerobics, playing water volleyball are great ways to burn some calories in the pool. In the ocean or lake find a watersport you enjoy like paddleboarding, various types of surfing, snorkeling or just jumping the waves. The key is to use your water time as a fun way to get your body moving and burn off some of those poolside cocktails.
Suspension straps are lightweight and easy to pack exercise straps are amazing! You can get a complete strength training workout anywhere. All you need is a door, a tree, a bar or a pole to attach the straps to and you can work on every muscle in your body.
They are canvas or other heavy duty fabric bags that fold flat in your luggage and can then be filled at your destination with sand, small rocks or even clothing to add weight for lifting and performing exercises with. Sandbags are portable and perfect as an aid to weight training while traveling.
Resistance bands of varying degrees of stretch are super light and disappear in your suitcase making for perfect travel exercise tools. You can get a great upper body workout and there are even some good lower body exercises you can do with them.
Both yoga and pilates are great exercises for travelers beacause all you need is a yoga mat (or even just a towel) and they can be done almost anywhere. Resorts often offer classes and we have found that pretty much every place we’ve been we see signs for casual drop in classes on the beach or at a park or local community center. You can also download a video onto your tablet or smart phone and have your own private session in your hotel room.
Get an Online Personal Trainer
Yes there is such a thing and it’s perfect for people who are away from home a lot. There are sites like Fit Living Lifestyle that offer online personal training at a fraction of the cost of an in person trainer and they are there for you wherever you go. Fit Living Lifestyle also has a online workout database with over 700 exercises you can download onto your tablet or smart phone for just $10 per month. This system is best for people who have at least a very basic knowledge of how to exercise but even beginners can use it as your online trainer will provide all the instructions necessary including video clips demonstrating each exercise.
Every village, town or city has a park and they make great workout sites. If there is a kids playground use it to create an obstacle course or turn the monkey bars into pull up and dip bars. We’ve also found that many parks around the world now have an exercise area with some basic equipment to help keep in shape.
There you have it, plenty of ways to fit in some exercise while on holiday or on a business trip and most cost very little or no money and require a minimum of equipment or planning. Plus many of these suggestions can be combined with sightseeing or disguised as playtime.
Pin It For Later
So now what’s your excuse? Next time you go away try out a couple of these ideas and balance out the overindulgence, that goes along with most holidays, with a bit of exercise. We promise you will go home rejuvenated and renewed instead of sluggish and feeling the need to go on a diet.
Born in England, Sarah developed her wanderlust at a young age as she traveled around Europe with her parents. As a young adult she spent every penny she could on experiences as opposed to possessions. Eventually she found a way to earn a living doing what she loved: traveling, writing and capturing images of the wondrous world we live in. When not on the go Sarah enjoys time in her “sometimes home” of Vancouver.