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Travel And Exercise

Exercise and Backpacking

Running in Central Park, NYC

Aracely and I are both health conscience individuals who enjoy working out and eating healthy, but there are always exceptions.  We definitely do have our  fair share of splurges on pizza (for me) and ice cream (for Aracely).  Our initial thought was that backpacking for a year would get us into better shape.  We have discovered that while on the road having any sort of routine, especially an exercise routine, is nearly impossible.

Participating in multi-day treks is an excellent form of exercise, but they usually take place weeks apart, creating new break-in pains each time.  Making things even more challenging, eating cheap street food is usually not healthy.

Here are some tips on how to Stay Fit and Healthy during your travels:
1. Walk

Instead of taking a cab, walk to your destination.  Walking is good exercise, saves you money and allows you to see a lot more of place.  It’s also an excellent way to capture spontaneous photos.  Walking down a street on the way to a destination we often spot a funny sign, a local restaurant or a hidden park.

2. Jog

Most large cities will have a park that is used by runners, walkers and sometimes bikers.  These tend to be safer areas if you are looking for a place to run.  We don’t recommend running in city streets that are unfamiliar to you.  In Latin America cars will always have the right away and rarely stop for you.  Getting lost is also a great concern.  Aracely started running in Quito since we had settled down there for a month.

3. Exercise

If you know you will be in a larger city try to do research ahead of time and find a yoga studio or workout class you can attend.  Ask your hotel staff, hostel or guest host where they recommend you workout.  Don’t forget that a simple exercise including push-ups, sit-ups, squats and stretching can be done from almost everywhere.

4. Eating Healthy

Eating healthy while traveling is not very difficult.  Visit the local markets, which can be an excellent cultural experience in itself, and purchase local fruits and vegetables to cook in your hostel or apartment.

Exercise Tools

Travel Exercise Tools1.

GMAP-pedometer is a website that allows you to trace your walking or running route anywhere Google Maps has mapped.  That’s a lot places.  The tool can show your distance, elevation and calories burned.

Workouts for Travelers2.

This workout program can build tremendous strength and muscle endurance for those needing it.  The workout tailors to your current abilities, enabling a customized workout.  Beyond it’s name, the website also offers a sit-up, pull-up and squat workout.  You can also download the One Hundred Pushups application from the iTunes store for your iPhone or iTouch.  The application comes with a built in timer.

Travel Exercise iTunes Apps3. iFitness Application

The iFitness application from iTunes has become the #1 selling fitness app for good reason.  The application includes a cardio log, varying workout programs specific by muscle or equipment, and routines tailored to your goals.  Each exercise includes pictures detailing the steps involved.

If you are an outdoor person that enjoys the occasional hike while traveling, naturally the exercise might come a little easier for you.  For those that do mostly city tours, there will be a greater breaking in period, but you will have lots of access to local gyms and yoga centers in the urban areas.  Staying healthy will strengthen your immune system, which is important when traveling to foreign places around the world.


Shawna says:

I love this article! Skott and I are leaving on our trip around the world on June 18th so right now I’m stocking up on exercise moves that can be done without equipment for places where I don’t feel safe running. I’m going to be keeping a page on our website about workout tips for on the road. I’m going to link this page…great advice!!! Feel free to come visit ours anytime : ) Maybe we can meet up somewhere on the road for a run!!

Jason says:

I will leave the running to Aracely… We did struggle exercising on the road. But, the hundred pushup app was awesome and we had a fun time with that one.

They say everyone gains weight while travelling in Europe. I hope to be the exception.

Jason says:

It’s a tough one, but we should remember we can exercise anywhere.

Kirsty says:

I’m a sucker for ice cream too! Great tips we try to walk as much as possible but have definitely noticed our fitness levels dropping! Gonna check out that ap 🙂

Jason says:

Who doesn’t love ice cream! The truth is, we also have to enjoy those great treats that these foreign countries offer. Check out the apps, they are pretty good.

TracyBenham says:

Another good post. ~Sharing the link
& site.
Being FIt & Healthy make travel easier, more enjoyable and open up lots of options for adventure! 🙂

Briana says:

Very nice information, sounds like a cool travel for me and I hope for others as well. Nice posting, Thanks.

Jason says:

Thanks Briana! It’s not an exciting post, but it’s some good information and excellent iPhone / iTouch apps for those that like to exercise on the road.

Jason Demant says:

Great and helpful post! I love the recommendations for the websites and iPhone apps, will definitely be checking those out.

For me, I try to start off my day with a quick workout in the room. Usually doing pushups, squats, sit-ups, and different arm exercises with my backpack. It’s hard to get into a routine on the road like you pointed out, this is the closest I’ve come.


Aracely says:

Thanks for the comment Jason, that’s a good plan to workout before starting your day….it makes sure you get it done. Let us know what you think of the tools/apps.

Laura says:

Walking and jogging in the new places where you travel keeps you fit and lets you explore the world in a new light.

Earl says:

Over the years I’ve tried my best to take a long 1 hour walk after eating dinner, no matter where I am. It helps give me a new perspective of the place I’m visiting (as opposed to exploring by foot during the day time) and I get some decent exercise during a cooler part of the day.

And I agree about the dangers of street food. But it’s often so good that I can’t walk by without ordering something!

Aracely says:

Earl, that’s a good plan to walk around after dinner. it’s not only good for you, but great to see a place. And I agree…street food is very tempting!

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