Staying fit while traveling is probably the last thing on our mind. I have always had the travel bug and for the last 15 years thanks to my job I have managed to visit many countries on official trips as well as personal ones. Luckily for me I have never had an issue of putting on loads of weight so it always came down to maintain a good body weight and more importantly staying fit and healthy.
There is always a misconception that you can let it all go when traveling and give up exercising since it probably is going to be difficult to make time and effort to work out. While our heart may just want to let it all go and have a blast there is always a way to do both – travel and stay fit. While I say all this I am no means a health food fanatic or a fitness expert but just someone who would not want to regret not trying especially after taking the trouble to reach where I am. For a foodie like me, there is no way I would give up trying the delicacies from the region and while I do indulge it does not mean I would binge eat instead try to eat in reasonable proportions.
Keeping fit is quite important thing to many of us and one of the reasons people tend to lose focus is because of traveling. So be it a quick trip to a nearby city or a business visit or a personal getaway across the world there are few things one can do to stay fit while traveling and don’t worry I never recommend dieting as I have never done it in my life !
Eat a healthy breakfast
Everyone harps about breakfast being the most important meal of the day and many tend to ignore it because of their busy schedule. Breakfast is important because it replenishes the glucose that has been used up by the body to repair the muscles and tissues throughout the night. Most hotel have a large breakfast spread which has enough to ensure you eat like a king. When I travel I try to ensure my breakfast has a little protein, carbs, sugar, and fibre in the form of eggs, fruit, yogurt, oatmeal, cereal, etc. Having a good and healthy breakfast maintains the rhythm of the body so that you do not crave for junk food during the day.
Drink plenty of water
Water is important when you want to keep fit and hydrated when travelling. Especially when traveling it is easy to fall prey to those carbonated drinks which are more easily available and cheaper than water so ideally carry enough water to keep you going throughout the day. If you land up working out at the gym then the water intake should be more than the usual as it replenishes the water content in the body that is lost through sweating during exercise.
Use the hotel gym or pool
Most of the hotels and resorts that host travelers have facilities such as a gym or a pool. The gym may have weights and other equipment that you may use for a quick workout. If you are not upto to sweating it out at the gym then I would suggest taking a few laps in the hotel pool as swimming is a very effective full body exercise.
Go for walking or cycling tours
If you are the kind of person who hates working out indoors then cycling around the city or walking tours would be ideal to experience the new city as well a good way to keep fit while traveling. Cycling for an hour steadily burns up to 400-500 calories and is one of the best cardio exercises especially if you have a bad knee. Investing in a smart watch which tracks your daily steps, calories, distance covered etc would be a good idea too. In addition to cycling and walking, going on hikes or treks is a fantastic way to explore new environments.
Eat small meals throughout the day
I always recommend eating smaller meals through the course of the day on a regular basis. I would still recommend this when you travel too as it limits the huge hunger pangs towards a meal such lunch / dinner thereby preventing from overeating. Once you are in new country or city there is always the opportunity to try different dishes and use this opportunity to get those small meals in. Small meals also allow your body time to metabolise the calories and distribute them efficiently.
Carry a few nutritional bars or fruits on sight-seeing trips
When you are on sight-seeing trips, you may only come across restaurants and shops that only sell junk food. Only of recent I have started eating a few well researched nutritional bars and it definitely helps keep my hungry monster at bay especially between meals. They provide energy and reduce the feeling of hunger and they do not have excess calories.If you are hesitant to try anything new, then bring it with you from your home rather than having to pick it up in a new place.
Go for a run / walk and enjoy the sunrise
I love a good morning run but I fall prey to laziness when travelling and sleep in many times. But the thought of a run on the beach or run just around sunrise in a new country gets me off the bed. A run first thing in the morning helps to awaken your mind and body and leaves you with the feeling to take on the day with new vigour.
Have fun staying active
The thought that crosses your mind when thinking of exercise should never be one you dread. Wherever you are make sure you spice up workout with some good music. If you are traveling and using a hotel gym or pool then it a good way to interact with other travelers and probably even make some new friends. Spread your exercise through the course of the day by doing some bodyweight exercises such as push ups, squats, lunges etc in the hotel room and take a walking/cycling tour during the day. This way you do not spend more time and have fun at the same time.
When you are travelling, it is easy to get caught up with the experience and excessive alcohol consumption is the worst way to undo all that you have accomplished over the last few months. Not only would it spoil your next morning when you wake up with a hangover but it would leave you lethargic and irritated too. Everything in moderation is the best way to get the most of the whole experience.
Sometimes I feel I need to sleep through the holiday as I need to unwind and just give my body that much needed rest. But sometimes I do the opposite and try to cramp as much as possible during a trip leaving me exhausted and wanting a vacation after my vacation. Anyone in their right mind would know that sleep is very important and even more when you are physically active. Ensure you get your 8 hours of sleep to stay energetic the next day and a little added bonus is that you burn calories when you sleep !
Staying fit while traveling may not be a priority but most of the above mentioned tips are quite simple to follow. At the end of the day, the feeling of being fit, healthy and happy is the most important wherever you go.
Disclaimer: I’m not a fitness instructor, nutritionist or a doctor. But I have learnt a lot from my experiences and hope to help others who want to stay fit.
Image courtesy: Hotel Lalit Ashok (Bangalore), Pixabay, Flickr.