With so many of us living fast paced lifestyles, time away is becoming increasingly necessary, for our body and mind. For some, time away is time spent relaxing and distancing themselves from the realities and routine of daily life – things like eating well and keeping fit. But for many others, a holiday shouldn’t completely derail progress. A few years ago, I sat squarely in the first category but these days, I have gathered a few essential tricks to help keep my body moving while travelling. I certainly don’t try to keep up the pace and intensity of my normal routine but some smart choices can help to balance out all the inevitable food and drinks!
Here are my top tips and tricks for keeping active away from home:
First up, you’re going to need some essentials to get moving. Most activewear will take up minimal room in your suitcase (weather dependant) but sacrificing some space will be a valuable investment. What you actually pack is completely up to you – a yogi might only pack some easy-to-move-in clothes whereas a runner might need shoes and a sports bra at minimum – but personally, I like to be prepared and cover all bases. I always pack one whole outfit (shoes, socks, tights, bra, top) so I have heaps of flexibility to choose any kind of workout – a few sun salutations, an easy morning walk, 10km run or a 30 minute bodyweight HIIT session.
Before you head for the airport, do a little bit of research about what what gyms or studios will be closeby and if there are any ‘active’ events during your stay. I hit the jackpot during a recent trip to London because there was a 10km running event right in the city centre while we were there. It could have been pretty annoying if we had planned on sightseeing that day (with road closures) but instead we joined in on the action! We were able to run past all the iconic attractions and enjoy the city from a different angle. It was an incredible experience and one I would have missed out on had I not spent a few minutes online before I left home.
I know we can’t all be as lucky as that, but even taking some time to see what local studios or gyms are nearby and what they have to offer could pay off; you might find a new class that isn’t available on Aussie shores and some may offer a ‘first class free’ special so you might even get to work out without forking out.
3. Get tech
If you’re not confident leading yourself through a sweat sess’, there are so many apps and eBooks available these days that working out on the road can be super-easy! Again, I’d suggest doing a bit of research from home and maybe give one or two sessions a trial so you can find a workout that suits you (you don’t want severe muscle soreness to hold you back from sightseeing).
Head to a local park for some fresh air or clear some space in your hotel room but either way, you’ll only need to whip out that mobile phone or tablet and away you go. The options are endless but my personal favs are Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide (eBook) for a solid body weight workout in under 30 minutes and a yoga app that leads me through a practice according to my level, time limit and goals. They can both be done anywhere and I know I can get my session done in under 30 minutes so I can back to eating, drinking and seeing the sights.
4. Book carefully
With a little forward planning you might end up with some great options right outside your door! Consider looking for a hotel with a gym, a resort with a range of gym classes or accommodation near a well-known running route. Being so close to somewhere that has everything you need can give you that extra encouragement to sneak in a workout when you can.
When I arrived at my accommodation in Copenhagen last year, I discovered we were staying within 100 metres of one of the city’s most popular running tracks and seeing so many people running every time I stepped outside encouraged me to get out there as well! You might get lucky and discover something outside your hotel room door but if you don’t want to take the chance, a little bit of research before you book will go a long way.
5. Think differently
Forget jumping in a cab, on a train or touring on a bus! Getting from A to B can be so much more fun in a new place – walk, ride (a lot of cities have bike share now) or even paddle to see your destination from a new perspective! Not only are you keeping your body moving, you’ll see so much more from the saddle of a bike than from the back of a cab and have more opportunities to stop, find and explore the hidden gems.
If you’re a little directionally challenged and not keen to head out without a guide, consider join a walking, running or cycling tour instead of a bus tour or sign up for a class like surfing or stand-up paddle boarding. I have done some fantastic tours while abroad including a cycling tour of Copenhagen, riding Central Park, and even kayaking to secluded beaches in Halong Bay, Vietnam. It might not be a high intensity workout, but you’re still keeping your body moving.