Everyone has a different set of activities they enjoy on vacation, but especially on longer trips, some form of fitness or activity can be a great thing to incorporate into your plans. Please welcome guest blogger Mike from The Fit World Traveler, a fitness minded traveler who is here to share a few habits from his travel fitness routine.
I’m a fitness minded traveler that enjoys an active lifestyle and I incorporate a few habits into my travel routine that help me stay fit. Not all the habits below may not be suited for all folks because of varying fitness levels. Also, most folks traveling are on vacation from their weekly routine so office e-mails and daily workout schedules go out the window. Though I can’t help people from falling completely off the bandwagon, I hope that some of my habits help you maintain some level of fitness.
THE FIRST: Tracking your steps.
If you happen to be vacationing in a city, you tend to do a lot of walking, exploring neighborhoods and tourist sights. It’s surprising how our curiosity enables us to motivate us to walk longer than we normally would while we’re home.
The unknown is how much walking we’re doing. With the prevalence of smartphones, tracking steps is much easier than before. There are numerous apps that utilize the phone’s internal accelerometer to measure your steps.
I currently have an iPhone 5S and find the app called “Argus” to work very well for my needs. This app utilizes the iPhone’s native M7 co-processor so it does not deplete the battery life any more than if you were not using the app.
Why is tracking your steps important?
You’d be surprised just how much walking you’ve done while exploring a new city. I certainly was surprised just as to how much walking I did in Australia. At the end of the day when you’re lying in bed, it’s a fun way to recall the events of the day. You can visually see when you took lunch breaks, rode in taxis, or simply stopped for a coffee break by the inactivity of the steps.
Additionally, with the fact knowing that I walked a certain distance, it keeps myself accountable so that I try to maintain or exceed my step goal. For instance, if there was a day I was flying and was not out and about in a city, I would try to explore the caverns of an airport despite having lounge access just to keep up my daily steps.
Lastly, knowing that you can walk the distance you did while traveling may encourage you to maintain that distance at home, which will promote a healthier lifestyle.
THE SECOND: The most overlooked mode of transportation.
Besides walking, we’re all used to utilizing a combination of subways, buses, and taxis while vacationing in cities. Certain cities are bicycle friendly with dedicated bicycles lanes and bicycle racks placed through out the city.
With that in mind, why not rent a bicycle for a day and explore the city? I feel bicycles are often overlooked as transport.
The leisurely ride on a dedicated bike path is a great way to exercise and get around town like a local. A 20-minute walk turns into a 5-minute bicycle ride. Essentially, the range of what you can explore on a bicycle greatly expands. Besides the ease of getting around town, the greatest benefit for using a bicycle is the fact you don’t need to pay or find a parking spot.
If you’re a little apprehensive adventuring out on your with a bicycle, you can join a bicycle tour so you can have a guide show you around, which can be just as exciting. One tour I fondly remember was a 15-person bicycle I rode in Portland, OR to sample some pubs and food.
TIP: If you do rent a bicycle from a shop, be sure to ask about a bike lock and what to secure. For instance in Cairns, Australia I regularly saw people lock their bikes, but left their helmet unsecured around the handlebar. One would never do this in Portland, OR where anything unsecured to a bicycle would be subject to theft.
THE THIRD: Find your routine on the road.
I still have trouble doing this, but I try very hard to stick to my regular work out routine while I travel. For some, a work out routine might be going to a fitness center; for others it might be doing yoga. For me, it’s participating in Crossfit workouts. I try to maintain this routine, but there’s always an incredible amount of temptation to skip out simply because I want to explore the city I’m visiting. Or there’s temptation to go out and be social.
For the times I make it to a Crossfit session, I feel great afterwards not only because of the feeling I get from exerting myself, but from the opportunity of meeting locals and socializing about my travels.
Often times, I find these locals provide insight when I want recommendations or something unique to do. I remember when I was in Kyoto, I was visiting this Crossfit affiliate a few times and the owner told me about a hot springs bath right around the corner where I can grab a hot spring bath. It sure was a good way to wind down and experience the Japanese hot springs bath.
From my experience, sticking to my regular work out routine has provided me a chance to meet locals for recommendations that I might not have met otherwise. It’s definitely been a win-win situation.