Five Ways To Stay Fit & Active When Traveling
1. Use Body Weight and/or Tabata Interval Training Schedules With No Equipment
One of the best ways to get fit while you’re travelling is using your own body weight to strength train. It’s suited to having little to no equipment available, and to working out in tight spaces.
Basically your own body provides resistance for the movement in place of free weights. Well known examples are push ups and sit ups.
What is Tabata? It’s probably the most popular form of high intensity interval training, made up of 8 rounds of high intensity exercises in 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off intervals. Again, little to no equipment is needed, and you can do this inside or outside.
In Thailand, I’ve used Living Healthy and Happy with Amanda Coles on Facebook. She does some really awesome body weight training schedules and posts them for free. She’s an Australian lady who halved her weight through nutrition and exercise, and I’ve been using her schedules on and off for a year now.
Personally, I use a combination of body weight and Tabata. I’ll be frank, I hate Tabata with a passion. My body handles endurance way better than HIT. I like stamina and endurance over speed, but my old personal trainer Sonja in Toronto told me it’s good for me, so I try and stick with it! I found a fantastic HIT schedule online that’s for 30 days, and free, and you can build up the reps for continued use.
2. BYO WorkOut Props
North Nomad and I have a bunch of exercise gear we bring everywhere with us: a few yoga/pilates mats, yoga balls, therabands (or stretch bands as they’re also known), and foam rollers – yes the instruments of torture can also be used for working out!
The Pilates and Yoga Mats don’t need too much explanation. If you’re a regular in these types of exercises, you know what to do, and how much they can help you stretch out when you’re travelling, hunched in planes or cars.
If you’re a beginner to pilates or yoga, all you have to do is hop on YouTube and search for beginner tutorials. There are some fantastic ones online for free, and if you have an internet connection, it’s a great way to exercise while traveling.
3. Use Your Local Environment
Look around you and see how you can get active in your local environment. Have you travelled to a place with lakes, or beaches, or mountains, or the desert? You might be lucky enough to be in an area that is prime for walks, hikes, cycling, and/or swimming.
In California, we’ve gone swimming at the beaches and done awesome hikes. In the dessert, we’ve gone on walks and treks. In Australia, we’ve gone off for hours through the bushland.
If you’re in a hotel traveling for work, see if you can request a hotel with a gym and/or pool. If your company is sending you interstate frequently for work, the least they can do is try and look after your health, in my not-so-humble opinion! 😉
And don’t forget that travelling is, in itself, wonderful for the health, reducing the risk of depression and anxiety and broadening your empathy.
4. See if your gym does reciprocal rights with other gyms.
If you know you’ll be traveling a lot before you sign up to a gym and sign your life away (seriously, these contracts are harder to get out of than deals with the devil himself.), investigate gyms which have national, or even international, sites you can visit while you’re traveling.
Another thing to investigate is gyms with reciprocal rights. Membership with gyms with reciprocal rights gives you access to other gyms when you travel. I loved my gym in Sydney, but sadly they didn’t have any reciprocal rights OR sites outside of Sydney’s CBD or the Eastern Suburbs, so I wouldn’t sign up with them again. Whilst a lovely gym, there were no benefits for frequent travelers.
It’s also worthwhile seeing if your gym provides (or you can negotiate) holds on your membership fees when traveling. This is popular here in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
5. For long term travel, check out joining fitness groups and looking for monthly memberships
Empty #yoga studio A photo posted by North and South Nomads (@northandsouthnomads) on
If you’re going to be in the one spot for a month, or even a few months, do some research on what fitness groups , gyms, or studios you can join in the short term.
Most good pilates and yoga studios have drop in classes you can pay for on a class by class basis, or even monthly memberships. I’ve used Core Studio in Toronto, and Yoga For The Seasons and The Centre of Yoga in Australia. All of these places do drop in classes and/or monthly memberships.
You can find more social, local groups too, like running or walking groups. I joined a women’s walking club when we lived in Florida, and it’s a great way to meet people when you’re in a place for slightly longer term travel.
What ways do you keep fit and active when traveling? Is this important to you when you’re on the road?