stay fit

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I love exploring new places and experiencing their culture through the sights, the people, and especially the food. 

The struggle then becomes “how do I go on vacation and enjoy all that it has to offer without coming back weighing way more than I did when I left?”  

I’m sure you’ve felt like that at least a few times yourself (at least, I hope I’m not the only one!)

If you workout regularly, traveling can wreak havoc on your workout routine – especially if you travel frequently or for long periods of time.  BUT it doesn’t have to.

To help you enjoy your travel while still fitting in some exercise, I’ve come up with a list of 9 ways you can stay in shape when you travel.  

As always, the options I choose are either free (what could be better?!) or low cost. 

STAY FIT TIP #1:
WALK
stay fit by walking

Walking is definitely the simplest exercise option and my go-to when I travel.  I find when I pair it with sightseeing and photography, I end up walking pretty far without even realizing I’m exercising. Win-win!

Health Benefits of Walking:

  1. It helps you maintain a healthy weight
  2. It’s easier on your joints than jogging or running
  3. It strengthens your bones and muscles
  4. It improves your mood
  5. It improves balance and coordination
  6. It helps you sleep better
  7. It tones your hips, legs, thighs, and calves (even more when you add hills to your walk)
  8. There is no special equipment needed beyond a decent pair of shoes (unless you want to track your steps, in which case you’ll need a pedometer or a FitBit)

There are several ways you can integrate walking workout into your trip: 

  • Walk around and explore with no particular route in mind
  • Take a self-guided walking tour (create your own or get a map from the local visitor center)
  • Take a guided walking tour (prices range from free on up). Some places offer free tours and allow you to pay whatever you want (if you want to pay anything)


Cost:
FREE! 


= PRO TIP: Help Others While Helping Yourself =


Want to take your fitness up a notch while making a positive impact on the world?  It’s easy!  Just follow these simple directions:

  1. Download the free Charity Miles fitness app (Android | iOs).   
  2. Choose an organization to support from over 40 world-changing charities including the ASPCA, Habitat for Humanity, The Nature Conservancy, Feeding America, Wounded Warriors, Autism Speaks, and more. 
  3. Use the app when you workout.
  4. Each time you workout (walk, run, cycle, and otherwise track your fitness), you’ll earn money for charity.   

STAY FIT TIP #2:
WALK/RUN UP & DOWN STAIRS
stay fit by on the stairs

Walking or running the stairs is a well-known exercise option.  Stairs can be found indoors in places like hotels, office buildings, shopping malls, and apartment buildings as well as outdoors at parks and stadiums.  Many gyms also offer stair climbers machines.   

Health Benefits of Walking/Running Stairs:

  1. It strengthens and tones the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, abs, and calves
  2. Even when climbing stairs at a normal pace, you will burn two to three times more calories than walking on the flat at a brisk pace
  3. It helps you control your weight and build muscle
  4. It’s easy to work into your life. Simply replace taking the elevator or escalator with taking the stairs.
  5. No special equipment or clothes required beyond a decent pair of shoes.


Cost:
FREE!

STAY FIT TIP #3:
RIDE A BIKE

STAY FIT BY CYCLING
My BF & I enjoying a bike ride along the W&OD Trail

Bike riding is great exercise and a great transportation option as well.  It’s good for you, for the environment, and a lot of fun.  If you are driving to your destination and own a bike, you can take it with you.  If you’re flying, you can check to see if bike rentals are available at your destination.   

Health Benefits of Cycling:

  1. It increases strength, stamina, and cardiovascular fitness
  2. It increases muscle strength and flexibility
  3. It improves joint mobility
  4. It lowers stress levels
  5. It improves posture and coordination
  6. It’s low impact so it doesn’t damage your joints


Cost:
Prices range from FREE (if you’re riding your own bike or borrowing one from someone) on up.  In the DC area, Capital Bikeshare stations have popped up all over the place and their rates are very affordable: $2 per half hour; $8 per 24 hours; $17 per 3-day pass; $85 per year. 

STAY FIT TIP #4:
BRING RESISTANCE BANDS

STAY FIT WITH RESISTANCE BANDS

Resistance bands are extremely effective tools for getting and staying fit. However, they’re often overlooked as a tool for staying fit while traveling. 

Health Benefits of Using Resistance Bands:

  1. They’re lightweight and portable, making them easy to take in your purse, overnight bag or other luggage
  2. They improve your balance
  3. They reduce joints pain
  4. They improve your speed of movement and make your body more elastic
  5. They don’t rely on gravity to provide resistance
  6. They allow the user to perform a broader range of exercises than free weights
  7. They’re inexpensive
  8. They come in varying degrees of resistance


Cost:
Typically under $20   Check current prices

STAY FIT TIP #5:
USE THE HOTEL GYM
STAY FIT WITH THE HOTEL FITNESS CENTER

A simple way to ensure that you’re able to workout when you’re traveling is to book a hotel that offers a gym.  Most hotels do have some sort of fitness center or on-site gym, but the amenities can vary greatly depending on the type and cost of the hotel you’re staying in.  

You can usually get an idea of what type of amenities the hotel fitness center/gym offers by looking at the hotel’s photo gallery.  If there aren’t any photos, call the hotel directly and ask. 

Most offer 1 or more of the following: treadmill, elliptical, exercise bike, and sometimes a rowing machine.  They may also offer some free weights and/or some machines. 

Use “fitness center” or “gym” (whatever the term is that the booking site uses) as one of your search filters when looking for accommodations.  

Cost: Typically included in the cost of the hotel room

STAY FIT TIP #6:
USE THE HOTEL POOL
STAY FIT BY USING THE HOTEL POOL

If swimming is your exercise of choice, book a hotel that offers an indoor pool for guests. Use “indoor swimming pool” as one of your search filters when looking for accommodations.  

Some hotels only offer outdoor pools, which limits the time of year you can use it. 

Health Benefits of Swimming:

  1. It provides an all-over body workout, as nearly all of your muscles are used during swimming
  2. It’s low-impact
  3. It keeps your heart rate up
  4. It builds endurance, muscle strength, and cardiovascular fitness
  5. It helps you maintain a healthy weight, healthy heart, and lungs
  6. It tones muscles and builds strength
  7. The only special equipment you need is a bathing suit (most hotels provide towels)


Cost:
 Typically included in the cost of the hotel room 

STAY FIT TIP #7:
WORKOUT AT A YMCA/YWCA
STAY FIT TIP YMCA

YMCAs/YWCAs have been around for years and are located all over the country.  They typically offer very low-cost fees for members as well as guests.  

Most of the facilities offer both weights (machines and/or free weights), an indoor pool, as well as a variety of fitness classes.  

Cost: Vary by location.  Check online to see if there is a location in or near your destination, then call for pricing information.

STAY FIT TIP #8:
BUY A CLASSPASS
STAY FIT WITH CLASSPASS

ClassPass is a monthly membership that connects you to more than 8,000 of the best fitness studios across the U.S.

Travelers can stay active wherever they are and find the same classes that they take when they’re at home.  

ClassPass is currently available in 39 cities worldwide including: 

  • East Coast – Baltimore, Boston, NYC, Philly, DC
  • Southeast – Atlanta, Charlotte, Miami, Nashville, Orlando, Tampa
  • Midwest – Chicago, Columbus, Denver, Kansas City, Minneapolis, St. Louis
  • West Coast – Los Angeles, Portland, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle
  • Southwest – Austin, Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Phoenix
  • International – Adelaide, Brisbane, London, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Toronto, Vancouver


Cost:
 $3 classes/month = $35; 5 classes/month = $55; 10 classes/month = $105
 

STAY FIT TIP #9:
USE A WORKOUT APP OR A YOUTUBE VIDEO
STAY FIT WITH FITNESS APPS

Take your workout with you wherever you go by downloading one of the many popular fitness apps or finding a workout on YouTube.

You can find apps for whatever type of exercise you prefer: strength training, cardio, yoga, pilates, and more. Some of the most popular fitness apps include Sworkit, Daily Workouts, Qinetic, 7 Minute Workout, Workout Trainer, and FitStar.

YouTube is also a great resource. You can find workouts for pretty much anything: low-impact, over 50 workouts for women, etc. All you need is your cell phone, tablet, or laptop and you’re good to go.

Cost: Most are FREE!

How do you stay fit when you travel?
Share in the comments below. 


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8 Comments

  1. Staying fit while traveling is one of the things that keep my feet planted at home, but after reading some of these recommendations, I feel that my concerns about staying fit while going abroad may not be so serious. And going by some of the suggestions in this article, I see that buying equipment may not even be necessary. Thanks for the article.

  2. Hey, Amy. Love reading your travel blog! May I humbly suggest tip #10: Plan a (supported or unsupported) bike trip! It can be anything from a day or weekend trip right on up to two months (for example, trans-USA) or longer trip. Not only is it a great, cheap way to see the world, you also get into great shape just training for your vacation! See bicycletouringpro.com or crazyguyonabike.com for a wealth of info on bike tourism.

    1. Hey, Sal. Love your suggestion and am so glad you enjoy my blog.
      I appreciate you taking time to comment and share the additional resources. Yes, a bike trip is definitely a great way to stay fit when traveling and could be #10 or an extension of the “Ride a Bike” tip. I’ve never gone on a bike trip myself but will add that to my travel bucket list. Wishing you awesome travels!

    1. You’re welcome for the tip, Liana. Staying fit when traveling can definitely be a challenge! Please let me know if your hubby tries ClassPass and how it works out for him. Also, look out for a future post on how to eat healthy when traveling. This may help him (and hopefully you) as well.

      Wishing you and your hubby awesome travels!

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