Written by Sophia Skelly
If you’re lucky enough to travel this winter break, you may be feeling nervous about staying in shape while on the move. Believe it or not, there is a way to feast on foreign delicacies and keep up your fitness routine. Exercising while traveling is all about consistency and flexibility. You may not have access to a gym, but all you really need are bodyweight exercises in order to maintain muscle mass. Want to stay in shape while travelling? Challenge yourself to create a different sort of routine. Most of all, don’t be afraid to sacrifice fitness for the purpose of having new experiences: travelling on a new trail or to a new country is no fun if you are worried about when you will get your fitness routine in.
If you are backpacking around and will not have access to a gym, a lightweight yoga mat is your new best friend. Roll one up and slide it into the side of your pack and you will have no excuse not to do some core, even on grimy hostel floors. You can also download yoga apps on your phone or find yoga classes online. For example, “Yoga Journal” and “Yoga with Adrienne” are two great, free YouTube channels. If you’re ordering food from a street stand or a taco truck, do a set of squats and lunges while you’re waiting for your food. Get creative with your exercises, and don’t be afraid to look silly. A seemingly lackluster jungle gym also has plenty of features to work different parts of your body. Pull-ups can be done on monkey bars and benches are perfect for tricep dips, step-ups, and much more. And when you think about it, a swing set is essentially a TRX [Total Resistance Exercise] machine.
Instead of squeezing in specific exercises while traveling, you can simply try to stay active. Opt for the walking tour rather than the segway tour. If it’s safe enough, try to walk to all of your destinations. It may take more time than a cab or the metro, but walking will save you money and get your blood flowing. Most of all, walking is the best way to see a city. In a cab or a shuttle you miss the micro-worlds hiding in each alleyway and storefront.
Lastly, if you’re trying to stick to a specific diet, cooking is always a good alternative to eating out, where portions are often very large. Hostels typically have kitchens, and buying your groceries and cooking your meals is a great way to meet new people and save money. Additionally, you’re likely to make healthier choices and overeat less. However, try to be conscientious about what kind of food you are buying. I’ve often picked things out at grocery stores in other countries, only to find out that prices are exponentially higher. Scope out the street markets to see what fruits and veggies are local—and probably fairly cheap—and try cooking something new.
More importantly, recognize that if you have a specific gym routine, one month is not going to radically change anything. Don’t be afraid to take a pause while traveling and simply enjoy the place you are visiting. Your usual fitness routine and El Pomar will always be there when you get back to CC.