Staying Fit While Abroad

Posted on August 21, 2011


How can I maintain my fitness while abroad?

Between balancing studying, exploring a new city and traveling, it’s difficult to think about trying to stay in shape while you’re abroad. Here are some practial tips and examples of how to incoroporate a solid workout into your new and often turbulent schedule, so all those trips to the secret bakery don’t show on your waistline.

By Gina Mussio

Between the delicious new cuisine you’ll be enjoying and the long days that make the idea of a workout seem grueling, sticking with your fitness routine from home may seem impossible.

A large part of staying fit while on the road depends on your preferred method of working out. Just like fitness routines at home, what works for some may not work for others. Still there are many ways to help maintain your form while traveling.

Here are some ideas to incorporate a workout into your travel plans. Choose the ones that work for you and ignore the ones you don’t like—either way there is sure to be something for everyone!

  Go for a walk or a run. While in many large cities running can be difficult, many avid runners swear that it is the best way to learn about the city and assimilate. Try running very early in the morning, before most people are awake. My roommate and I found Florence was still very much asleep around 07:00 – perhaps your city will be too! Remember also that you will be walking many miles when sightseeing.

•    Explore your city in an active way. You can burn a lot of calories walking or biking. Perhaps your hotel has a gym you can use to maintain your fitness level. If not, find one that offers drop-in classes or sign up for sport program, like white-water rafting or exploring the city on bikes.

•    There are a lot of towers in Europe—climb them! These ancient stair-steppers can lead to some incredible views. It might seem silly to pay money to climb stairs, but many of these towers, domes, and arches have great views of the city and are worth the ticket. Climbing hundreds of stairs isn’t so hard when every new view is more breathtaking than the last.

•    Strength train in your apartment or hotel room. There are thousands of moves you can do that target every muscle group using no more than your own weight. Surely you know a few; if not, there are plenty of websites that are recommended at the end of this article with multiple strength training techniques. Keep up your fitness levels by doing these moves in the morning when you’re still fresh and ready for the day.

•    Don’t eat when you’re not hungry. Perhaps the hardest part of living in a new city is not overindulging too much in the local cuisine. In some cultures it’s even considered rude not to eat all of the food on your plate. Don’t skip a local dessert native, and try all the different types of food you want; however, if mealtime comes around and you’re not hungry, don’t feel obliged to eat.

Traveling takes a lot out of you. Long hours of hauling luggage and exploring new cities can be exhausting. Although may not be your typical workout, it stills count as quite the exercise. Supplement that with eating right and aerobic exercises, and you’ll be maintain or improve your fitness levels even while abroad!

Additional Resources:

• has great strength-training moves.
• has more than 11,200 running routes around the world.
•    No equipment, no excuses via

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