How to Keep Fit While Travelling

June 7, 2013

keep fit

By Sohaib Siddique

My two biggest passions in life are fitness and adventure. I have never lived in one country longer than two years—half of the time which is usually spent visiting regions around me. As a kid, I’ve also always been into health and fitness. Missing a workout ruins an entire day for me, even when I am on vacation. But over the past few years, I have taught myself how to travel without sacrificing my health and fitness. This way I could dedicate my life to both my biggest passions. I picked up tips along my travels by talking to other people who were in great shape. Here are a few of them.

You don’t need a whole gym…

If you let your creative mind run free, you can use random things to replace weights. There’s always an item that can get blood running through your veins and your muscles pumped. If you feel like spending money, you could always get inflatable weights to fill up with water, but those would be a disaster in my opinion. You could use litre bottles, chairs, tables, rocks filled into a backpack—the options are endless. Rather complaining about not having a gym, make your own gym.

Your body is heavier than you think…

The experienced gym rats know very well that bodyweight exercises can prove very effective. In fact, all you need is some empty space and you’re good. If you need a workout matt, just use a couple towels.

Do push ups for your chest, arms and shoulders. If you cannot do a complete push up, do the knee-variation instead. If you need more resistance, then elevate your feet off a chair, a table or anything else. Not a big fan of push ups?—no problem, do dips instead. Just put two chairs together with some weight on them (like your suitcase) and you’re good. Dips essentially work the same muscle groups push ups do.

There’s no better lower body exercise than the squat. Squats are the ultimate mass builder—when I travel, I fill up my backpack with anything I can find—rocks are a great way to get a lot of weight without too much volume. Just throw that on and do some squats making sure you go deep each time to maximize resistance. Finish off with a core workout of crunches and sit ups. Again, you can hold a water bottle against your chest if you need more resistance.

Travelling solo sucks, travel with a chin up bar instead…

You would be surprised with the amount of exercises you could do using a simple door-mounted chin up bar. These bars only cost $25-30 and easily fit into suitcases. They mount onto most doors across the world and prove as a great workout aid. You can perform chins/pulls with different grips to get a complete back workout. Take it off the door and onto the floor to use the grips as push up handles. You can be creative and work different body parts as long as you know what you’re doing. P90x has some great exercises that use chin up bars to target different muscle groups.

Still need a gym? Then use one…

Sometimes, you just can’t get enough resistance no matter how much weight is piled onto your back. More advanced trainees should turn to public facilities when they’re travelling at this point. I’ve done this many times, and all you really need to do is go to the local gym and ask them if you can give it a trial day. Nine times out of ten they’ll be more than happy to give the new local who has just moved in a go at with their facilities. Remember, most cities have more than one gym, so give them all a “try”. Hey, we have to do whatever it takes to stay in shape!

Modern day European cities are filled with public stations and parks that make a great outdoor gym, too. All you really need are some monkey bars and an improvised dips station and you’re set.

God gave you legs to use them…

We often find ourselves walking, running and even hiking from here to there when we’re away from home—and the bags can get pretty heavy. This is really good exercise, but if you’re someone who usually does a lot of running and other cardiovascular exercise anyway, then you will miss the rush you usually get. But now that you’re travelling, you have all the free time you can possibly get. Go for a run before you start your next exciting day. It’s a good way to get to know your surroundings when you’re on the road, too.

If you’re really a cardio bunny, then you could rent a bike or throw on some roller blades for the day. There are always fun ways to combine tourist activities and exercise. Always think outside the box.

Author Bio: Sohaib is a writer from London. He has spent the last ten years travelling and studying around the world. He recommends HotelClub as it have some great deals on in the run-up to the summer you can check out. Staying fit while travelling will only add to the smile a holiday brings to your face.