Two big resolutions many people make in the new year are fitness and travel related. Unless you have a very active trip planned or some kind of wellness retreat on the books, travel and fitness don’t necessarily seem like the best pair. You’re away from your gym and traveling with any equipment is a waste of valuable space and weight. Most hotels have some kind of fitness center but not all of them and definitely very few bed and breakfasts. So how do you get a workout in while traveling to stick to those resolutions and not let the little indulgences get the best of you? Easy!
Walk everywhere. You burn an average of 300-400 calories walking for one hour. To put that in perspective, that equals about 20-30 minutes on the elliptical trainer, 15-25 minutes on a stationary bike, 20-30 minutes running (assuming a 10 minute mile) or an 80-110 minute-long Pilates class. The best exploring is done on foot so if you can manage at least 2-3 hours of walking, you’ll burn anywhere from 600-1200 calories in just one day. I think that allows for an extra glass of wine with dinner.
Use fitness apps. There are dozens of apps out there that have downloadable workouts that can be done anywhere. Sites like Blogilates, Tone It Up and Beachbody on Demand carry a variety of free and paid programs and individual workouts that you can take with you anywhere and do in the comfort of your hotel room. Lay a towel down on the floor to complete any floor exercises and use things like desk chairs and the foot of the bed as equipment if necessary. Bottles of water make excellent dumbbell and kettlebell substitutes.
Research studios in the area. A lot of yoga studios, Pilates studios, gyms and specialty health and wellness centers offer a la carte class options for travelers and new residents. If you are a die-hard cyclist, look into any studios within walking distance of your hotel to see if they offer affordable classes without a subscription. If you’ll be in a destination for a little longer than a quick trip, ask if they have bundle options that are discounted if you buy 3+ classes. Even if you won’t become a regular visitor, most studios welcome travelers just passing through for a bit.
Look into free outdoor activities. Chicago, for example, has free yoga on the beach and at Millennium Park for locals and visitors to enjoy during the summertime. Most cities and some small towns have free yoga classes in the park or on the beach when the weather allows. Local gyms and fitness centers will sponsor or send an instructor to rooftops or other public areas for people to come and enjoy a class usually at sunrise or sunset. See if there are any happening in the location you’re visiting during your travel dates. It’s a great opportunity to meet locals, get recommendations and connect with others who enjoy the same fitness activities as you do.
Get Outside! Other than taking long walks to explore a destination, hiking, swimming, surfing, biking, mountain climbing are all fantastic ways to stay active while traveling. Take a bike ride along a lake or ocean front. HIke to the top of a mountain or volcano. Take surfing or paddleboarding lessons. Find something fun and exciting that you’ve always wanted or try and go for it! Travel is all about going outside of your comfort zone and what better way to do it than getting active.
Travel and fitness do not have to be mutually exclusive because they actually work really well together. Travel isn’t just about indulging in all of the decadent meals and treats a destination has to offer (although that is pretty amazing). It’s about experiencing everything a city/town/exotic destination has to offer. That means everything from the comfort of your hotel bed to the challenge of climbing a mountain. Justify all of those high calorie dinners and wine tastings by being active all day long. I always say that travel is nothing unless you get out of the car and onto your feet. You discover all of the best finds simply by walking down the street.