Staying fit and healthy requires dedication and planning, which sometimes is hard enough in your daily routine at home, trying to fit food planning and work-outs in with working hours, family life, seeing your friends and other obligations. Throw travel into the mix, and it might get even a bit more challenging to stick to your routine, so I’m going to give you a few tips on how to stay healthy while travelling.
An obvious one, but if you can, find a hotel with a gym, a pool, or which is located next to a park so you can go for a walk or a run. I love staying at Westin hotels as they focus on health and well-being. They have a wide range of healthy choices on their menus, they do in-room work outs, and have exercise videos available. They also offer running routes or you can go running with a concierge.
My favourite thing is that they have a gear lending scheme; they deliver New Balance workout gear right to your room. The charge is 5 Eur per day, but it saves you a lot of space in your luggage (or check-in luggage against a fee).
If you’re like me, you prefer travelling with hand luggage only to save valuable time upon arrival. This means that I often do not have no space left for my running shoes, so I have to be smart. Hardly taking up any space, a bathing suit or a bikini is easy to pack, and swimming makes for a great work out. Try to find a pool in the area if your hotel doesn’t offer one.
A resistance band (which will help you getting that core strengthened, tall girls) or jumping rope both hardly take up any space either and allow you to do exercise bare-feet so again, no need to pack those chunky trainers. All you need to bring is a singlet and a pair of shorts and off to the hotel gym / beach you go. You could even do this in your room, provided it’s big enough (watch that lamp with your rope!). Or, if you are not bothered by what other people think (kudos to you), you can go rope-jumping in the long hotel corridors. Who knows who you’ll
run jump in to.
Though not a full workout, a lot of in-flight magazines offer tips for exercises during a long flight. People might frown upon you doing a complete yoga session in the aisle, but you can do certain exercises while seated or standing up.
I started to notice that travelling was becoming an excuse for making unhealthy choices, listening to this little voice in my head saying “how often are you here? / You just traveled a long way, you deserve it / There’s a gym here where you can go work it off / etc.“.
If you travel as much a I do, these unhealthy choices quickly add up. To the waistline that is. Hotel buffets often have very tempting items on display like pastries, desserts, waffles which are all calling your name (and mine too). Try to resist and look for the tasty healthy options you might not find at home: freshly cut local fruits, traditionally prepared dishes or a protein-rich omelet made on the spot by a chef.
If possible, bring some (or buy some upon arrival at the airport) pre-packed healthy snacks like nuts for when you start feeling peckish in the middle of the night due to a jet-lag, to avoid mini-bar temptations. If you really can’t sleep anymore, hotel gyms are often open 24/7, so go there instead, and have breakfast afterwards. Added bonuses: your work-out for that day is out of the way and there is growing evidence that doing cardio first thing in the morning on an empty stomach is good for fat loss.
If you have time during your trip, you might want to look into what local spas have to offer; a relaxing (foot)massage or a visit to a hammam have health benefits of their own. Mind you, in Asia, you pay a fraction of the price for a massage that you’d pay in Europe or the US, same goes for a manicure or pedicure. Note that prices in hotel spas often are higher than in a local spa. Have a look on tripadvisor to find a decent place or ask your hotel reception for recommendations.