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Staying fit while backpacking

Seeing the world, experiencing other cultures and tasting new foods is a great way to grow as a person.  It is also a great way to grow you waistline if you aren’t careful. 

Maintaining your health and fitness while you travel is important to not overlook.  But how do you do this when you are so strapped for space in your bag, money in your pocket and time in your day.

Here are 10 ways to prevent the holiday bulge when you travel:

1. Skipping

When I travel I always travel with a jump rope / skipping rope. It is small. It is light weight. And it gets your heartrate up with very little effort. Best of all, it doesn’t require a lot of space to do a work out, so you can do it before breakfast in your Hostel garden.

2. Take your running shoes

While trainers are a standard item in any backpacker’s luggage, make sure that you take good quality runners.  Shoes that are designed to support your feet when you do exercise, and not just your Converse High Tops.  If you take trainers that are dual purpose, you will save your feet and still have a comfortable pair of shoes to explore the city in.

3. Adventure with activities

You are going to explore the places you visit, so why not be diverse in the mode of transport you take.  These days, most cities conduct tours that use bikes, rollerblades and many other modes of human powered transport. Be adventurous and at the same time burn some calories.

4. Phone apps

There are many phone apps now that give you a personal trainer in your pocket.  If you are not confident in the ways of exercise, let the professional show you how it is done.  They are great assets. You can set goals, see your progress and most of them come with some sort of community to connect with if you need some extra support.

5. Try everything, but just in small amounts

It is tempting when you are travelling to eat everything in sight because you think…”this is the last time I will be here..I may never have another chance to try it”. That is can try it.  But if you want to avoid the bulge, then try it is small portions.

6. Listen to your clothes

The last thing that you want to have to do when you are trying to make your dollar go far, is buy more clothes.  The first sign that you have put on weight is when your clothes get a little snug.  Listen to them!

7. Drink lots of water

We have a tendency as travellers to forget to drink water.  Defaulting to soft drinks and coffee / tea, we waylay our bodies need for hydration. In doing this our bodies get confused and think that they are hungry…and so we eat. Usually something sweet, when all we needed was water all along.

8. Find a buddy

I am the first to admit that it is hard to get out of bed to exercise.  Finding a friend in your hostel that is willing to join you for a morning exercise session is not as difficult as you would think.  Most people are just like us.  They need a buddy to motivate them to get out of bed. Be the person..make the friend!

9. Take the stairs

Technology is great, but as a species it has made us very lazy. Something simple that you can incorporate into your life, not just while you are travelling, is to take the stairs.  Don’t use the escalator or elevator. Walk the stairs and remember…”Buns of steel”

10. Let your feet to the walking

Riding the bus is great. Catching the train is great.  But walking is the best.  You miss so much when you don’t use your feet to see the city.  Those irreplaceable moments that make you fall in love with a city are usually found when you don a comfortable pair of shoes and pound the pavement.  So do that, and save your waist in the process.

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