Over the years we have realized one thing: travelling for extended periods of time can certainly leave you feeling out of shape. Especially if you love trying new foods as much as we do.
It's incredibly important to keep yourself in top shape. Nourishing your body with nutrient dense foods and keeping it moving are both equally important when it comes to overall fitness. There are tons of ways to get fit, and no two people are the same when it comes to what works for them. Some people are die-hard cardio bunnies, while others enjoy yoga, or spin class, or powerlifting. As long as you are moving, you’ll be doing alright.
Inevitably while on a trip, you will find yourself laying around at a pool or beach, drinking more than your daily calorie limit, and gorging on foods that may not exactly align with your fitness goals. We’ve all been there. This is exactly why it’s important to have some knowledge about how to get in a quick workout when you need it most.
Obviously when you backpack or even luggage travel, you have limited space as well as weight restrictions. So we have put together a list of activities that will help you grind out a quick workout while on the go! The majority of these simple workouts require a good pair of shoes, some sweat-wicking clothes and a few square meters of space!
1. Spend time outside. An easy way to ensure that you can stick with your fitness goals while on the move is to keep them in mind during the planning process. We are suckers for nature, so in the early stages of trip planning you’ll find us scouring the internet for hikes and kayak routes, anything that will ensure maximum outdoor time. We have discovered that this is a great way to really get a feel for the place you are in. Plus, it has given us tons of opportunities to learn about the unique history of the surroundings. After a 10km hike we feel like we accomplished something, this helps us stay motivated throughout the day, and allows us to easily choose foods that will energize us so we can keep going.
2. Bodyweight Workouts. Almost anyone travelling, for any purpose can fit in some time for bodyweight workouts. It’s great because they have vast differences in length of time as well as difficulty levels. Bodyweight workouts can be done anywhere, airports, hostels and beaches too. This is a great way to stay toned, build a little bit of muscle and improve blood flow.
You can find tons of these workouts on YouTube and practice at home before the trip. My personal favourites are created by Rebecca-Louise.
Resistance bands are perfect for adding a challenge to any bodyweight workout. They are super light and literally take up next to no space in your bag. We often use them for at home workouts when we aren’t travelling, and you’ll always see them being packed in our bags with us.
3. Stretch it out! Any time you have downtime - waiting for a bus or a train, for example - get on the flood and stretch out your legs. This will help to improve flexibility and blood flow. It will help you feel less pain when you're cramped up for hours, plus it gets your body moving! It might not necessarily torch calories like some of the other exercise options we have listed, but moving in anyway is good!
4. Running. Another great way to keep yourself in good fitness while on a trip is to simply go back to basics and run. The first thing to understand about running is that it’s hard, and it doesn’t really get any easier either. Running the streets of Prague on a crisp early morning to see old buildings in a new light, or running along a coastal trail in Sydney with the soothing sounds of the ocean are sure to show you a new perspective while you get your sweat on.
5. Yoga. I had to add yoga to this list, especially with all the praise it's been getting as of late. Surprisingly yoga can be very challenging, for beginners and experts alike, there will always be something you can improve on. It's great to practice after long flights to stretch out and relax. It is also help you recover from your more active days.
Try incorporating yoga into your travels in unique ways: alongside an ocean, in front of a cool monument, or even during a long trek. Again, YouTube videos are a great place to start if you want to learn a few poses or some sun salutations! Yoga by Candace is our personal favourite.
6. HIIT. AKA high intensity interval training will torch calories and keep your body burning fat throughout the rest of the day. The best thing about HIIT is that you can get your sweat on and reap the rewards in as little as 15 minutes.
My personal favourite time to pump out a HIIT workout is first thing in the morning. Trust me here, fasted cardio is a surefire way to boost your fat burn, and studies have suggested that it will boost your metabolism for hours after working out too! So although it might only seem like 15 minutes, you're actually going to get a lot more benefit from it in the long run.
Seriously who needs coffee when you can just do some fasted cardio? This type of exercise does take some getting used to, and you will feel the burn, trust me!
7. Walk. Seriously, instead of opting for that taxi, or driving to that restaurant, just walk there. This might take a little extra time to plan things, and obviously walking for 2 hours might waste a lot of time, but when it's convenient, try to walk.
8. Pack a jump rope. This might take you back to elementary school recess, but honestly all that jumping around is a great way to keep fit. The technology has come a long way since this time too, you can get weighted ropes, light-up ropes and even ropes that will count your jumps! Jump ropes are great because they pack small and can really give you a good cardio boost whenever, and wherever you want. Practice switching it up, criss-cross your arms, jump on a single foot, really just have fun with it.
Keeping fit is important especially when you're on the road and introduced to new challenges such as lack of sleep, new foods and new places. Sometimes it's mentally exhausting. Keeping your body in top shape, and breaking a sweat will help combat some of the gorging that we all know will happen on a trip. It also makes sure your immune system is working top notch so you don't get sick!
How do you stay fit while you travel? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to share with all of your friends!