Maintaining a fitness routine abroad is challenging.
First, you’re probably tempted to try all of the dumplings, tiramisu, and margaritas while you travel. It’s normal for your weight to fluctuate when traveling, since it’s not every day that you eat freshly baked, flaky croissants.
Safety is another challenge. As a woman running outside, I’m always on guard. I run because I love feeling fit, present, and accomplished. Even though I was assaulted on a run abroad, I still run. My attacker thought I had an iPhone, but I didn’t have anything of value; I wore headphones to deter street harassers. In trying to avoid emotional violence, I encountered physical violence instead.
There’s also the matter of just not feeling like working out while you’re traveling! Don’t feel guilty. Seek out alternatives to working out.
If you’re the rare person who looks forward to exercising on the road or you’re starting to think the advantages of being active might outweigh your holdouts, there are so many benefits! It’s a great way to clear your head. Traveling can be exhausting, but exercising gives you a boost of energy. Maintaining a fitness routine will help you relieve stress and help you get to know new people and places!
We know exercising is important, but how do female travelers maintain their fitness routines on the road?
We asked our Wanderful Members Facebook group: “How do you maintain a fitness routine abroad?” Here’s what they said!
Think ahead: Start your fitness habit while you pack!
If you’ve used up your precious carry-on space to pack your workout clothes, you’ll be more motivated to exercise. If you’re pressed for space and you’ll be able to wash your clothes, one outfit is enough.
Check the weather forecast before you go, as this will affect what kinds of clothes you bring. Will you be working out inside or outside? When in doubt, bring layers, and if you plan on being outside, bring something reflective.
Do some research on how safe your destination will be. If it’s your first time in a city, go on a walking tour or a guided hike. This is a great way to meet people while scoping out things to see. You will also have a better idea of how safe it is while walking around in a group. Do you see other people running? Are they running with electronics? Observe whether locals expose their electronics — and when and how.
Running with headphones makes you an easier target for thieves in unsafe areas. It’s easy to be targeted as a distracted tourist with a shiny iPhone. Sometimes, I stick to indoor workouts because I don’t want to deal with street harassment, but I’m proud of myself when I do make it outside.
Embrace bodyweight exercises.
Doing the Insanity® workouts during my Peace Corps service taught me that my body’s weight is more than enough! I don’t exercise with weights anymore, and it’s so freeing.
The point of Insanity workouts is to exercise at a fast pace, alternating between push-ups, burpees, bear crawls, lunges, and squats — all in intervals ranging from 30 seconds to 1 minute. Do the moves continuously for 30 to 60 minutes a day. Do a jump between each movement, and you’ll see even quicker results!
Tour the city while working those calves!
Add biking to your fitness routine, and you’ll have a low-impact cardio workout that doubles as an eco-friendly way to travel. Going on a bike tour in a new place is a great way to exercise and learn about a your surroundings. Just like a walking tour, it’s a fun way to connect with fellow travelers, and, as we mentioned above, it’s a smart way to scope out how the locals get around.
Cycling is also a healthy way to prevent diseases like heart attack, stroke, depression, obesity, arthritis, and diabetes. If you can rent a bicycle, it’s also usually an easy workout to fits into your travel routine as you go from parks, to restaurants, to your hotel. See if your host city has a bike-share program.
Hit the beach.
The beach is your best friend when it comes to fitness. There are so many options! First, surfing is an excellent workout. You’ll get in your cardio as you swim back and forth from the shore and in between the waves. To stand up, you’ll need to push your body up in a second on a moving board, engaging your abs to stay on.
Surging not your cup of tea? Snorkeling and scuba diving don’t require as much energy, and they are great ways to see the beautiful fish and coral formations.
If you stay on the beach, go for a walk or run. The sand absorbs the impact of your body, making it easier on your joints.
See if your gym caters to travelers.
A $19.99 monthly Planet Fitness membership grants you access to any of their U.S. gyms. Guest privileges are unlimited, so you can bring someone with you once a day, every day!
Planet Fitness not convenient? Ask your gym if it offers any perks for travelers so that you can maintain your fitness routine on the road.
Look into Fitbit, a fitness wristband that calculates your steps each day. Styles range from simple step and heartrate tracking wristbands to snazzy performance watches!
If you have a way to play them, pack some of your favorite fitness DVDs. Or watch free YouTube videos on FitnessBlender. They have fitness routines of all types and lengths.
Low-cost personal training programs like Daily Burn offer free trials and 18 different workouts, from pilates to cardio.
Finally, Beachbody® on Demand has workout calendars, program guides, nutrition plans, and program trackers to help you stay fit abroad.
It can seem pretty intimidating to maintain a fitness routine while traveling, even if you’re somebody who already knows the benefits! These tips should make staying active (and staying healthy) a little easier!