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How to Stay in Shape While Traveling

by Nordh

I am no stranger to the struggles of exercising whilst on the road. Whether going on a quick weekend escape, or an around the world trip of epic proportions, I still like to stay in shape and keep fit. Although my normal exercise routine gets disrupted during my travels, I make sure to fit in a simple but efficient workout where ever I go. With my great appetite for adventure, I often embark on excursions and tours that are physically demanding. For this reason it’s extra important for me to be in shape – both before and during my vacation.

Read on for some tips and tricks on a few ways you could too!

Adopt A Workout Routine That Doesn’t Require Any Equipment

Unless you want to pack a set of dumbbells for your vacation, make sure to adopt a body weight workout routine that doesn’t rely on any equipment. Although these routines will indeed build some muscle and burn calories, it can be rather tricky to add significant bulk. By adding a few plyometric moves, such as the jumping squat and plyometric pushups, you’re forcing your muscles to be explosives, giving them more of a stimulus for growth. There is a plethora of body-weight only exercises out there – so make sure to pick out a  couple of favourites to start with, and make sure to always alternate your workouts to avoid adaptation.

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Favour Compound Exercises Over Isolation Exercises 

As I am more or less pressed for time during my travels, I try to focus on compound exercises (movements that engage more than one muscle group) as opposed to isolated exercises (concentrating on one muscle group only) for a reduced session time and maximum gains. Focus on at least one push, pull, core and leg exercise. For working your hamstrings, glutes and quadriceps, you could opt for different variations of the squat. Push-ups on the other hand will work your pecs, triceps, deltoids and abdominals, whilst the pull-up or body-weight row targets your lats, biceps, pecs and trapezius.  If you want, throw in a couple of extra movements, such as the prone back extensions that targets your lower back, the glute bridge for your legs and glutes, and a couple of burpees that not only work your entire body, but also improves your cardio.

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Make Use Of The Hotel Amenities

If your hotel’s facilities offer a swimming pool – make us of it. Swimming is an excellent activity to keep fit – not only does it burns calories and improve the health and function of your heart, it also strengthens your muscles. As the water provides a natural resistance, swimming is beneficial to those who are recovering from an injury or are troubled by joint problems.

Maintain A Healthy Diet

Make your diet a priority, because what you eat will reflect how you look and feel. Sure, trying local cuisine is a part of the travel experiene, but if possible, try to build your diet around one or multiple protein sources, greens and nuts. Fish, chicken and eggs are an excellent source of protein, nuts and seeds provide us with healthy fats, and vegetables, legumes and fruit are rich in vitamins and minerals essential to our health. And this goes without saying, but drink a lot of water.

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Use Technology

With the many fitness trackers, tracking apps and smartwatches available on the market, why not have a personal trainer strapped to your wrist, helping you stay in shape? By using the built-in pedometer, I usually track not only my steps, by also the routes I take and the distance I walk. During my last trip to NYC, I made use of the GPS support and mapped the routes I took when I walked the entire lenght of Manhattan – it’s always fun to see and look back at after a trip.

The sleep monitor is a useful tool that could help with assessing our sleep cycles and analyze the quality of our sleep. Never underestimate the power of a good nights sleep. By using all the available tools of modern technology, you can get deep insight into your habits, which can help you adjust your workout routine and keep yourself motivated.

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Stay Active In Every Aspect, Everyway, Everyday

Use your surroundings to your favour. Make the outdoors your gym. Are you vacationing in a picturesque small town?  Rent a bike and explore your surroundings. Holidaying in a big city? Skip the taxi and do your sight-seeing by foot. Enjoying a sunny and beachy getaway? Go swimming in the ocean or go for a hike amongst the lush greenery and exotic plants. Exploring an off-the-beaten track village? Jump rope and dance with the village kids. Be creative and be active.

Do you find it important to stay fit during your travels? If so, how do you stay in shape whilst on the road? Do you have any tips and tricks to share?

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16 Comments

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Jenn and Ed Coleman 2017-08-14 - 03:39

It’s so tough to stay in shape on the road. I really like the idea of a workout routine that doesn’t require equipment. We are starting a living room cleanse that should free up enough space for yoga and isometrics. The next step is to make it a routine. To do it everyday so that, when we hit the road, it only feels natural to continue it. I don’t know if it’s going to work 100% but baby steps will get you closer

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Nordh
Nordh 2017-08-23 - 08:29

I love a body weight routine and compound exercises – it saves me a lot of time (and there’s no way I’m bringing equipment with me during my travels! My camera gear is heavy enough!). All you need is a little bit of space and some time. I wish you the best of luck with the living room – hopefully a simple workout routine will help you get better and stronger when embarking on your next adventure!

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Hendrik 2017-08-14 - 09:42

Now this a great and very useful article in my opinion. To be honest, this is one of my biggest struggles at all while traveling. In fact its lack of time on the one hand, since we want to discover new places and on the other hand this “entertainment” factor while on vacation, it is somehow at least for us a different mindset. So I totally agree – a strong will and healthy diet plus just staying active are already good things to do for sting in shape and strong.

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Nordh
Nordh 2017-08-14 - 16:18

I agree that the lack of time is the primary issue. As you said, when on the road, we want to discover new places and enjoy the destination. We don’t want to waste our time in a sweaty gym. But since may of the activities I take part in during my travels are physical demanding (whether it be surfing, rock climbing or hiking) I find that I get the most out of the activities if I am in good shape. Nothing beats the feeling of catching the perfect wave and ride it, or to reach the summit of the mountain, something I never could’ve done if I hadn’t been in shape. Some people keep fit to look good, but I keep fit to travel, do more and experience more.

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The Wanderer 2017-08-14 - 11:00

Completely agree, it really is so difficult to stay fit and not to mention unhealthy food, may leave us with extra fat. Nice post!!

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Nordh
Nordh 2017-11-20 - 02:39

To be honest, I do indulge in unhealthy food and sweets, especially when abroad 😉 But then I often embark on physical journeys so I guess it’s fair to indulge every once in a while.

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Mel Butler 2017-08-15 - 10:13

You are so right about keeping some sort of exercise routine when traveling. I do a lot of hiking when I am away and when I get back to my hotel, I tend to just relax. Sometimes, I do have in the back of mind that I should go for a swim etc. You have some great tips there and I am definitely keen to try out the compound exercises that use more than one muscle group. I think that is great even when I am at home, I am going to look this up more and find some exercises to do.

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Nordh
Nordh 2017-08-23 - 08:37

Hiking is a great way to keep in shape! Ironically, I try to stay in shape just for the sake of being able to embark on strenuous hikes. I would hate it if I had to say no to a mountain climb, a hike or any other adventurous activities because of the fact that my body couldn’t handle the pressure of being active. I am happy you enjoyed the tips, and wish you the best of luck with your routine!

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Gideon 2017-08-21 - 05:19

Some really helpful tips you listed above, I think our diet should be paid more attention to keep in shape.

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Nordh
Nordh 2017-08-23 - 08:25

I agree – there is no point in spending countless hours on the gym if our diet is unhealthy.

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Jo Jo 2017-08-22 - 15:21

Great tips. Like many, I struggle keeping up my fitness routine and good diet on vacation. Sometimes I binge eat as well. My favorite is developing a routine without weights. Didn’t think about that for some reason. Thanks for sharing!

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Nordh
Nordh 2017-08-23 - 08:39

A routine without weights can be really beneficial if you do a lot of traveling. If you really want some equipment, you could always bring a skipping rope or some rubber bands – they take up no space and weight practically nothing!

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Chittra M 2017-08-22 - 16:11

And I am just content with walking around the whole day and keeping an eye on my diet!! Great blog. Now I feel I should incorporate some more activities when I travel!

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Nordh
Nordh 2017-11-20 - 02:40

If you walk a lot during your travels, it’s not necessary to incorporate a lot of activities. Staying active is often enough (:

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Heather Johnson 2017-11-21 - 04:23

My travels usually involve a lot of walking and physical activities. With two kids in tow, there must be time to get out and move!

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Nordh
Nordh 2017-11-20 - 02:41

Kids are great because they always make us get out and move, walk, run and play! Spending time with the children is one of the best ways to stay fit, I’d say!

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On this blog, we chronicle our escapades as we gallivant around the globe, from one scenic spot to the next. We share untold tales about the captivating beauty of each destination, serving you an exuberant mix of practical travel advice, in-depth guides on photography and a curated visual collection of mesmerizing places around the world.