How to Stay Active While Travelling
Whenever you're back from abroad, do you find yourself staring at the mirror and seeing a fuller image reflecting back at you? That's me almost 100% of the time because I tend to gain the most weight when I'm on vacation. It's not a lot but it's enough for me to notice a few extra pounds here and there. It's also enough for me to realize that I struggle to fit in some of my clothes, too.
After a few bouts of letting myself go while on holidays, I've resolved to be more conscious in maintaining an active lifestyle even while travelling. Of course, there is no way that I would sacrifice eating delicious local foods while abroad. I mean, where's the fun in that? If you're on vacation, you deserve to enjoy every single moment of it! So, to make up for all the food and drinks that you will be consuming, the best way to counter any possible weight gain is to make sure you are getting enough exercise. Just because you are on vacation, doesn't mean that you should be sedentary! (Sorry if that's a little harsh!)
If you're travelling solo like me, getting some exercise sessions in is very important. No matter how liberated and euphoric you might feel from travelling solo, there can be moments when you might feel a little lonely. It's all normal; it just means that you are human. No matter how independent you are, we are still a social species. In a later post, I will talk more about how to not feel lonely and socialize while travelling solo (stay tuned). Today, I'll talk about my top ten tips for staying active during a trip!
1. Walk, Walk, Walk
This is the easiest, cheapest and most effective way to get your exercise in. Once I know how to navigate around my new surroundings, I tend to walk more than I take public transportation. Even if I'm still getting to know my surroundings, I still wander. There's just something about not knowing what delightful gem you'll discover around the corner!
Safety Tip #1: If you are walking late at night, make sure you are walking in a well-lit and populated area!
Safety Tip #2: Wear comfy shoes! In a future post, I will review the best city shoes for walking that are both stylish and comfortable. The worst thing is to stand out like a tourist or to wear bright white runners that do not match your outfit!
2. Go To The Gym
If you're staying at a hotel, there will likely be a gym and/or swimming pool included in the amenities. Make use of it - it'll probably be empty anyways because who wants to work out while on vacation anyways? Well, you do now! ;)
3. Take A Class
Fancy taking a salsa dance lesson? Take it! Always wanted to try Zumba? Try it! Travelling awakens your inhibitions and forces you outside of your comfort zone. If there is an activity that you've always wanted to try, this is the best time to nudge yourself forward and go for it!
During my pre-trip planning process, I like to do a broad Google search on things that I can do and also scour the Time Out website for which ever city I'm travelling to (ex. Time Out London) It's the best way to live like a local and to meet locals.
4. Join A Meetup
Meetups are one of the best ways to meet new people and network. Whether you want to take part in a hobby, develop social skills, network with people in your industry, or practice learning another language, Meetup.com is the best medium to connect with like-minded groups. There are specific groups that are for hiking and trying out different sports. For example, the Hiking Buddies group organizes hikes in Durham Region (just north of Toronto, Canada). It's like a guided tour and you're staying active! Just go on the Meetup.com website and search for something like 'hiking' or 'outdoors', set your search radius and input your city.
5. Join A Photo Walk
If you love travel photography as much as I do, consider taking a photo walk. They can be done on your own, with a friend or you can sign up for one on Meetup.com, if available. There are pros and cons to each. If you're on your own, your itinerary is a lot more flexible and you can really afford to do a lot of hit and misses, which usually provides a lot of delightful surprises. If you're joining an organized walk, your guide will definitely be able to show you the best photographable spots in the city. And, you can trade photography tips and travel stories with other photographers. The point is, there are so many options to stay active and also get your fix on street photography!
6. Hike Up A Mountain
There aren't any mountains in Toronto so whenever I'm abroad, I try to organize a hike up a mountain. Admittedly, I haven't done this on my own - I usually ask a friend (who is a local) to take me. The views are always guaranteed to be breathtaking and you'll feel very accomplished for conquering a mountain!
Safety Tip: Again, it's all about safety. I don't recommend hiking alone anywhere because depending on how deep you go into the forest, you may not have cell reception and if something were to happen (i.e. dehydration or injury), it'll be tough to get immediate medical attention. That's why I like to hike with at least one other person even when I'm back at home.
7. Take The Scenic Route
If you have somewhere to go, consider stretching out your route to discover local architecture, boutiques and interesting sites along the way (I talk about this briefly in my previous post, Tea For One: Luxury Afternoon Tea at The Connaught London). To plan out your route, use a mobile app (like Citymapper or Google Map or even your phone's native app). It's not for navigation, but to see if there are any parks along the way. One of my favourite surprises in London was how often I had to walk through a park.
8. Go To A Club
My clubbing days are long behind me but in case it isn't for you, going to a club is a highly effective way to burn a lot of energy. While dancing, you'll be breaking quite a bit of sweat, which then releases a lot of toxins. Dancing is also a great cardio exercise. Plus, it's fun and a great way to meet new friends!
Safety Tip #1: Always exercise caution at a club. Don't leave with strangers.
Safety Tip #2: Never leave your drink unattended. This is the perfect time for predators to add in the date rape drug.
Safety Tip #3: Along that note, watch what the bartender puts in your drink as he/she makes it like a hawk. Sometimes, the date rape drug is mixed in at that time.
[Not trying to scare you but it's ALWAYS better to be safe than sorry.]
9. RIDE A BIKE
I saved this for last because I don't ride bicycles. (Long story short: I had an accident while cycling in Spain, which resulted in a concussion. It's been a decade but I haven't been able to get back on a bike since.)
But if you do like to ride a bicycle, consider renting one. It's a nice and swift way to get around town. Cycling is also great for toning the legs and strengthening your core. If you're in a big city, there will probably be a lot of bike-share stations scattered all over the city. All you need to do is Google search 'bike share + your city' (here's one for Toronto: www.bikesharetoronto.com).
10. Do Some sets Before Bedtime
If you can't sneak any exercise during the day while you're out and about, set aside 15 minutes just before bed (or even in the morning after you wake up) to do 3 sets of simple exercises. Here's a sample that are incredibly easy and not at all time-consuming (see below). You can do this anywhere in your room if you are staying at a hotel or AirB&B or hostel.
If you want to stay in bed, there are also exercises that you can do on your bed as well:
So these are my top ten tips to stay active and keep exercising even while abroad! What do you do for exercising when you're travelling? I want to know so feel free to comment below!