Traveling is becoming prevalent in contemporary society, wouldn’t you agree? The conundrum remains, how can we be present in the moment, experiencing new cultures, while keeping our healthy routines. The more you extend the journey to your far-off destination of choice, the more difficult it becomes to maintain the regimes established back home. When health and wellness are our goals, we need easy ways to stay fit when traveling.
While you may worry that exercising is going to hijack your entire trip and ultimately beat its purpose, the truth is the furthest thing from. Of course, if you let it take over your whole journey, it absolutely will and you won’t get to experience your destination at all, but as is the case with all things, there’s a balance to be found. A great thing about staying fit and traveling is that it’s not an either-or situation – you can have your cake and eat it too, an odd analogy considering the topic at hand. By planning ahead and carefully weaving exercise into your exploratory efforts, you can combine your two great loves into a very useful endeavor.
1. To Eat or Not to Eat
Culinary tourism is as relevant as all the landmarks of a given destination. They are two peas in a pod, both equally necessary to experience and understand the place you are visiting.
Avoiding the local cuisine can leave you lacking in your perception of a culture. Other cultures offer unique dishes that may differ from your usual intake of proteins, carbohydrates, and calories. As we’ve previously stated, the key is finding balance. Let go of healthy plans on occasion and enjoy a local meal that you wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to savor, at home.
However, by staying loyal to your usual sizes and frequencies of meals, your body can easily adjust to these small and temporary changes. Respect the habits you’ve worked hard on creating by asking ‘when’ and ‘how much,’ instead of ‘what to eat.’ Be wary of the opposite side of the spectrum as well: just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you should let go of all your pre-established rules and start gorging on everything coming your way.
2. Hike Your Way to the Top
Prior to arriving at your destination, map all of the routes to the places you’d like to visit. Make an effort to avoid buses and cars, unless there’s such a massive distance to cover that it would be very time-consuming otherwise.
Hiking trails are your friends and granted, they’re not easy to plan ahead. As soon as you see the lay of the land, getting around on foot should be your number one priority. Alternatively, renting a bicycle and riding it can be equally challenging and open your eyes to unimaginable scenery of the country you’re visiting.
Avoid being driven around and put your muscles to good use. Moreover, you’ll get to see more of your destination than an average tourist, revealing picturesque parts of the countryside that are often foregone by the crowds. Another easy way to incorporate movement into your day is to take the stairs instead of elevators. It is sometimes disheartening to see stairs after a long day of exploring, however, exerting yourself without exception is a good way to stay fit. Make sure to pack a comfortable pair of sneakers!
3. Make Use of Your Environment
Utilizing the environment that you are in, is one of the most interesting and unique ways of staying in shape when traveling.
The geographic features of your destination are the most obvious source of physical exercise. The summer holiday by a lake or the sea will inadvertently pull you into swimming and participating in water sports.
If that isn’t enough exercise to get your heart pumping, consider adding running through shallow water, up to your knees. Not only is it incredibly demanding and useful, it is also very safe due to applying far less pressure on your joints (Orselli & Duarte 2011).
4. Sightseeing Run
Combining your routine morning run with the charms of sightseeing will quite possibly be the most efficient and entertaining way to start your day.
Getting up early has innumerable benefits, one of which is running outdoors, when so few people are out and about. Take to the streets and discover all points of interest as you keep your health, strength, and condition up. After a shower and a decent breakfast, your energy levels will improve. You’ll then be ready and willing to revisit all the awe-inspiring landmarks you’ve uncovered during your sightseeing run.
5. Attend Local Events
Much like making use of the natural features of your destination, partaking in local events could reveal unexpected excursions.
No matter where you are or how remote the place is, the culture of its people will always expose either a traditional dance or martial arts, or both. Whether in the streets or in the gym, you should not shy away from the opportunity to attend such an event and see how a culture expresses itself. Besides doing what you’re meant to be doing and interacting with this new world to the fullest extent possible, you’ll also be exercising and sweating as you try to master the incredibly subtle movements of an alien dance.
6. Don’t Forget About Yoga
Yoga qualifies both as an easy way to stay fit and an unbelievable feat of the human physique. Yoga is well known to alleviate stress and improve your flexibility.
There’s little doubt about it, yoga works wonders on physical and mental health alike (Stephens 2019). It might be just the thing you need to start your day off on the right foot, with the left one behind your head! Incorporating a calming yoga session, after a long day of travel and exercise, can put your body and mind at ease.
By modifying your approach to traveling, enhancing it to be compatible with your daily routine, you’ll reap all the benefits of discovery and exercise alike. Redefining the terms ‘diet and exercise,’ to ‘health and wellness,’ will open you up to all of the new possibilities awaiting you.
No matter your journey or your destination, making sure to get plenty of sleep and staying hydrated, will keep you sharp and well. Finally, it’s always a prudent move to take out travel insurance, especially if you plan on pushing yourself to a greater extent. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, more so than ever when you’re busy exploring.
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