Keeping Fit Whilst Travelling
A lot of people who are generally active and healthy in their every day lifestyle fear travelling because they are worried they won't be able to keep up their level of fitness whilst galavanting across the globe.
I certainly had a pang of fear in the beginning - that I would go away looking and feeling great and come back with - a cracking tan, but a 'travel butt and travel gut' to go with it.
On my first ski season age 19, I put on a grand total of 1 stone 2 lbs (7.6kgs!) in 6 months. This was purely from eating badly, drinking to much and not being active enough all at once. I remember a friend from home coming out to visit me and she took one look at me and said "what the heck has happened to you?" to which we both laughed as we knew it was completely down to my boozy lifestyle and diet out there. Living above an incredible smelling french bakery didn't help, and neither did making friends with the local saucisson producer.
Since that first ski season, I vowed I wouldn't abuse my body in that way again when I travel, and sure enough I didn't. I've learned how to keep active whilst on the road, maintain a balanced diet and continue a healthy lifestyle no matter what country I may be in. I didn't want to become to focussed or obsessive about it, I just wanted it to naturally be part of my day, so I created routines without being to restrictive so that I can of course still enjoy myself on all my adventures away.
Yoga is an awesome sport to do whilst travelling.
Why? you might ask - because it is so freely available all over the world. Especially if you are travelling Indonesia or Asia. You will experience some of the best yoga schools across the third world, in some of the most stunning locations.
There are many different types of yoga and I've done a fair few beach yoga sessions which are truly beautiful and a memory I will take away with me forever.
If you are on a shoe string budget - there are masses of youtube yoga sessions you can do. I really enjoy Sarah Beth Yoga on youtube as she has lots of different routines for you to practice. Her routines are 10, 20 and 30 minute sessions - so they are nice and simple to do in your hotel to start your day in the morning. I especially like her 'detox and digest' routine if I'm struggling with the food in a country or indigestion. Her 'deep hip opening', 'quad stretch' and 'hamstring stretch' routines if I'm tight from hiking or walking.
Running is an incredible all over body workout. It is also free and really helps you suss out and get to know a new place. You see things from such a different perspective when you are out on your feet, rather than in the back of an uber or squeezed into a tuk-tuk.
You burn so many calories running, so you can have guilt free days every day! No worrying about eating way to much curry, to many gelatos or the consuming copious amounts of cheap thai beer you indulged in the night before. Just running for 20minutes (2 - 4kms) 3 times a week can make a huge difference to your fitness and health whilst travelling, and it also makes you feel freaking good too!
One thing I started to do a few years ago was see if there are any running events on in the area I am travelling to. More than often there are, and doing a 5km, 10km or 15km race allows you to see the place you are visiting in a safe, organised manner. You find that you see things you wouldn't of discovered had you not been on the local race, and its great to support and be apart of the community.
Again - the miracle that is you tube! Fitness Blender have heaps of free 10 minute work out routines on youtube which you can do in the comfort of your own room / hotel / hostel. They all vary as to whether they are abs, legs or butts etc. I will hit a couple of these on my days off of running just to keep my core strong and toned - you really feel the burn in them but they are simple and easy to follow routines from beginner fitness levels to pro's.
Take advantage of the Ocean!
More often that not, when on long term travels in hot countries you are surrounded by the ocean and swimming pools.
SUP boarding is an amazing core workout and SUP Yoga is a whole other challenge in itself but super fun! Surfing is a MEGA workout on your entire body, (especially your core), even if you just go for some lessons to try something new. Last but not least, of course you have swimming! Half way through a tanning sesh on the beach you can run out have a quick swim and chill again. Generally being active in water is only going to be good for you..
General Top Tips for the long term traveller...
1. If you drink cheap beer all day, every day, it is pretty inevitable your body will change. I'm not saying ruin your trip and don't drink at all...but this is a big factor in why a lot of long term travellers stack on weight whilst away. In no way do you have to be t-total - hells no! (I visit places purposely for the vineyards and wine!) I'm just saying be mindful WHAT you drink and how often.
2. If you are constantly eating heaps of fried food, a lot of rice or pasta, and doing no exercise, the vast amounts of saturated fats and grease in fried food will do you no good. The heavy carbohydrate load in rice and pasta can make you lethargic and gain weight quickly if you are not burning it off. If you are on an active trip, rice is alternatively a great bit of nutrition to keep you going.
3. WALK! you've got feet. Use them! You don't have to get taxis / tut tuts / monorails and trains everywhere. The beautiful thing about going on long term travel trips is the amount of TIME you all of sudden have. There is no rush about life - enjoy the place and walk from A to B rather than sitting in transport services all the time.
4. Book a hiking tour. A lot of destinations have 'places of natural beauty' to see - book yourself on a guided hike or walking tour. I've been on many of these on my travels and they've never disappointed. Sunrise hikes are always stunning and you feel awesome and like you've accomplished something at the end.