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Staying Fit While Travelling; A Professional Traveller & Recreational Runner's Guide

At Run Weekends, we love to combine running and travelling. In fact, it’s what we do best! Staying fit while travelling on a Run Weekends trip will never be an issue. 


But what about for those beach holidays and spa weekends? Or even, what about if you’re backpacking for a month or more? 


Is it possible to stay fit whilst travelling long-term?


Of course it is. But, it does require that bit more extra planning. 


I work as a tour guide and often find myself travelling, but wanting to keep fit. So, how do I do that?


Travelling is an enriching experience that broadens your horizons and exposes you to new cultures, cuisines, and landscapes. However, maintaining a consistent fitness routine while on the road can be challenging. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore strategies and tips to help you stay fit while travelling, ensuring you return home feeling rejuvenated and energized. And not too far behind on your training plan…


Below, we’ve covered both those travelling on a relaxed or short-term trip, and those travelling on a more intense trip. Feel free to skip to the section that’s relevant to you.





 

Should You Work Out on Vacation?


First and foremost. Before we consider how you stay fit while travelling, let’s discuss whether you should actually or not. 


Well, this is completely up to you. 


We think that travel and running go perfectly hand-in-hand; exercise in general just the same. But for you, your travels might be a nice break from running. An excuse to lounge around and do nothing at all but soak up some Vitamin D and cure the hangover from the previous evening. 


And that is absolutely fine! 


If you’re unsure either way, we lay out some simple pros and cons of looking out for staying fit while travelling. 


Stay Fit While Travelling Pros 


1. Exploring New Scenery

Running on holiday provides an opportunity to experience breathtaking landscapes and immerse oneself in the local culture, offering a unique perspective beyond typical tourist activities.


Plus, who doesn’t enjoy doing some yoga to the sunrise or sunset of an incredible beach nearby?


2. Boosting Confidence

Running in unfamiliar surroundings can help boost confidence and familiarity with new environments, especially for solo travellers. It helps you gain a sense of security in an unfamiliar environment.


And... if you find yourself working out at the local gym, you might be able to meet some locals who can give you some tips!  


3. Cultural and Historic Immersion

Incorporating running into sightseeing allows you to explore historical and cultural landmarks while staying active, providing a deeper understanding and appreciation of the destination.


I always find using a fabulous historical or cultural backdrop for your workout session makes for some great motivation! 


4. Time Efficiency

Running can be a time-efficient way to explore a destination, allowing you to cover more ground and see more sights compared to traditional walking tours, especially for those with limited time.


Of course, if you’re pushed for time, then adding in a workout or yoga session here that you can’t otherwise justify might make things tricky! 


5. Practicality and Convenience

Running can serve as a practical mode of transportation, offering an alternative to expensive taxis or unreliable public transit while providing a more immersive and authentic experience.


6. Freedom from Routine

A personal favourite! Running on holiday offers a break from the constraints of structured training plans, allowing you to be reminded of the joy of training.


Really sink into your activity without the pressure of performance metrics and goals.


7. Tired from Holiday? 

Ever come back from your holiday and feel tired, exhausted, like you need another holiday? We’ve all been there. This can be down to many things, but I personally find that this is caused by a lack of routine and lack of good nutrition. Focusing on these two things allows me to ensure I don’t lose myself completely over my holiday and come back feeling well-rested (even though I’m adding in exercise! Bizarre, no?) 


Find what gives you energy throughout the day and harness that. Whether it be routine, hydration, more sleep, less sleep, good food, etc…  


Stay Fit While Travelling Cons


1. Cultural Sensitivity

Running in unfamiliar locations requires awareness of local customs and dress codes. This may vary significantly from one destination to another, potentially leading to discomfort or cultural misunderstanding. 


You may also feel like you don’t want to put yourself in a position where you have to conform to cultural norms you don’t agree with. 


This is especially so for the ladies where exercise for women in some cultures or countries is not necessarily considered the norm, or even frowned upon.


2. Safety Concerns

Running in unfamiliar areas, especially solo, carries inherent safety risks, including navigation challenges, unfamiliar terrain, and potential exposure to unsafe or unfamiliar surroundings.


Safety first! Make sure to do adequate research beforehand. 


3. Logistical Challenges

Packing and preparing for holiday runs can take time and effort, requiring careful consideration of gear, attire, and weather conditions, potentially adding complexity to travel plans.


Luckily, we have written out all our packing tips here. 


4. Disruption of Leisure Time

Balancing running with holiday activities may result in conflicts with leisure time, requiring careful planning and compromise to ensure both fitness goals and relaxation are prioritized appropriately.


5. Physical Limitations

Running on holiday may not be suitable for everyone, particularly those with physical limitations or medical concerns, necessitating alternative forms of exercise or leisure activities.


6. Pressure to Perform 

Incorporating running into holiday plans may create pressure to maintain fitness levels or adhere to training schedules, potentially detracting from the relaxation and enjoyment typically associated with vacation travel.


We go in-depth discussing running whilst travelling in our extensive Running & Travel Guide here. 




 

Can You Stay Fit While Travelling?


Absolutely, yes!


Whether you are travelling on the short-term or on the long-term, we explore both of these further below. 


But we want to emphasise; If you want to stay fit while travelling, there is absolutely no reason why you can’t. 


So if you’re worried about taking that holiday for fear of losing your fitness… think again. 


Everyone stays fit differently, just as everyone travels differently. Below we will outline some tips and tricks for staying fit while travelling, but you should make sure to adjust it to your own personal needs. Perhaps you’re an athlete looking to keep up a strict training plan, perhaps you enjoy keeping fit and want to maintain this when travelling, or perhaps you just want to keep off the holiday pounds. 


Whatever it is, we have you covered. 


But remember; it’s your holiday. Prioritise having fun and enjoying it, whatever that means for you! 


 


Staying Fit While Travelling (Short-Term Holiday) 


A short-term holiday or relaxed holiday here is something we classify as a couple of weeks on the beaches in the south of France - or your version of something as equally as relaxing. Basically, a holiday where you don’t do much at all apart from the 


You’re probably not going to watch to factor in much exercise here. But staying fit isn’t all about exercise. As you probably know! And it includes the physical aspect as well as the mental aspect. 


Healthy Mind

To stay fit on your relaxing holiday, your focus might want to be mental health. 


Make sure you really are relaxing and getting the recharge your mind and body need. 


Nutrition

Next up, you want to make sure you’re eating well. Sure, on holiday, we all want to indulge as well as enjoy the local cuisine. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that! 


But you might also want to be aware of any nutrients your body might be lacking, as well as perhaps cut down on sugary desserts - especially if you don’t usually consume that much sugar in daily life. A drastic change in your diet could make you feel lethargic and impact the amount of rest and recovery you really are giving to your body and mind. 


Make sure you get plenty of fruits in (a great way to hit that sugar craving) as well as a good, mixed amount of other nutrients. Don’t feel bad for having that pizza in Italy -  but maybe don’t have it every day? Mix it up to ensure your body is getting a varied amount of nutrients. 


And don’t forget to hydrate!!!! 


Exercise

Finally - exercise. Exercise might be the last thing on your mind for a short-term relaxing holiday. And that’s fine - feel free to scratch this one off your list. 


But what about incorporating movement into your travel? For example, exploring the local area, going on a sunset walk or a short hike. Or simply just wandering around the town. 


Otherwise, you might want to consider some relaxing yoga sessions or making the most of the hotel swimming pool. A lot of hotels and resorts have really swanky gyms inside, some of them will offer classes you can take part in, too. 


The main thing is not to see these things as punishments but as something nice you can do and enjoy on your holiday, now you’re finally making time for yourself. 


Remember, just because you are on the beaches of the south of France doesn’t mean you HAVE to relax. Listen to your body and your mind; do what you like to do. If you fancy going for a run or doing a workout session, then go for it! At the same time, if you feel your body could do with a recharge, listen! 




 


Staying Fit While Travelling (Long-Term/Intense Travel) 


The following discusses more active ways of staying fit while travelling, for those travelling long-term or those with more active holiday styles. 


Utilise Hotel Amenities


Many hotels offer fitness facilities and amenities that allow guests to maintain their workout routines while travelling. Take advantage of on-site gyms, swimming pools, and fitness classes to stay active during your stay. 


If your hotel doesn't have a fitness centre, explore alternative options such as outdoor jogging trails, public parks, or nearby yoga studios. You can also check online for local fitness or running clubs. Even if you’re only going to show up once, they’re usually pretty welcoming, and can often be found easily on travel forums or social media. 


Local Gym


Many local gyms offer day passes. These can be a great way to meet locals and get some tips from them, too! Even if you go once every couple of new cities, if you’re moving throughout the week, these things really add up. 


Long-Haul Flights 


Make sure you move! There are loads of exercises you can find online to do whilst you’re on the plane. Make sure that your muscles aren't too stressed before the flight (no marathons the morning of a flight..) and make sure to stretch them out afterwards! 


Pack Portable Fitness Equipment


Maximize your workout options by packing lightweight, portable fitness equipment that doesn't take up much space in your luggage. 


Resistance bands, suspension trainers, and travel-sized yoga mats are versatile tools that allow you to perform a variety of strength training and flexibility exercises anywhere, from your hotel room to a scenic outdoor setting. 


Consider investing in collapsible water bottles or inflatable exercise balls to further expand your workout options while travelling.



Embrace Bodyweight Exercises


Bodyweight exercises are a convenient and effective way to stay fit while travelling, as they require minimal space and equipment. Incorporate bodyweight exercises into your routine, such as squats, lunges, push-ups, planks, and burpees, to target multiple muscle groups and maintain strength and endurance on the go. 


Mix and match different exercises to create custom workouts that can be easily adapted to your surroundings and fitness level.


ENJOY IT


Incorporate fitness and training into your travel, so it doesn't seem like a chore. Find some beautiful spots for a run or yoga session.


A lot of my exercise has been because I want to enjoy the location and therefore I exercise; I haven’t gone out of my way to exercise. 


Explore Outdoor Activities


Take advantage of your destination's natural surroundings and participate in outdoor activities that allow you to stay active while immersing yourself in the local environment. 


Whether it's hiking through national parks, kayaking along scenic waterways, or cycling through picturesque countryside, outdoor activities offer a fun and adventurous way to stay fit while travelling. 


Research outdoor excursions and guided tours in advance to find activities that align with your interests and fitness goals.


Incorporate Active Sightseeing


Turn sightseeing into a physical activity by choosing active modes of transportation and exploring your destination on foot, bike, or scooter. 


Walking tours, bike rentals, and guided hikes are excellent ways to discover local landmarks, attractions, and hidden gems while staying active and burning calories. 


Challenge yourself to walk or bike to nearby destinations instead of relying on taxis or public transportation, and take advantage of opportunities to explore neighbourhoods and attractions off the beaten path.


Practice Mindful Eating


Maintaining a balanced diet while travelling is essential for supporting your fitness goals and overall well-being. 


Practice mindful eating by making conscious choices about what and how much you eat, even when indulging in local delicacies and cuisines. Opt for nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains to fuel your workouts and keep your energy levels up throughout the day. 


Be mindful of portion sizes and avoid overeating, especially when faced with tempting buffet spreads or decadent desserts… But do remember to treat yourself every so often! 


Stay Hydrated


Proper hydration is key to staying healthy and energized while travelling, especially in warm climates or during physical activity. 


Carry a reusable water bottle with you wherever you go and drink plenty of fluids throughout the day to replenish lost fluids and prevent dehydration. 


Be especially mindful of alcohol and caffeine intake. It’s tempting to indulge on these when on holiday, but they can contribute to dehydration and interfere with your fitness goals. Aim to drink water consistently throughout the day, even if you're not feeling thirsty, to stay hydrated and support optimal performance.


This is especially important when in new climates your body might not be used to, e.g. very hot or humid climates! 


Get Sufficient Rest


Rest and recovery are essential components of any fitness regime, especially when travelling and adjusting to new time zones and schedules. Prioritize quality sleep by creating a relaxing bedtime routine and establishing a comfortable sleep environment, even in unfamiliar surroundings. 


Practice stress-reducing techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or gentle stretching to promote relaxation and improve sleep quality.


Listen to your body's signals and give yourself permission to rest and recharge when needed, whether it's taking a nap, scheduling a rest day, or practising gentle yoga to alleviate tension and soreness.


Stay Flexible and Adapt


Lastly, stay flexible and adaptable in your approach to fitness while travelling. 


Recognize that your routine may need to be modified based on factors such as time constraints, weather conditions, and available resources. Be open to trying new activities and workouts that may not be part of your usual routine, and embrace the opportunity to challenge yourself and step out of your comfort zone. 


Remember that consistency is key, so aim to stay active in whatever way works best for you, whether it's a quick hotel room workout, a scenic outdoor run, or a leisurely bike ride through the city.




 

Staying Fit While Travelling Summary 


A summary of the things to consider when trying to stay fit while travelling; 


Stay hydrated

Snacks

Yoga

Bike It

Prioritize your workout

Room workouts

Run

Stairs

Utilize the hotel gym

Avoid alcohol

Find a gym

Meditation

Exercise

Swim

Train heavily before travelling

Walk everywhere

Bodyweight squats

Hike

Hotel room workouts

Join in local activities

Food

Psychological Stress

Outdoor exercise

Playgrounds and parks


Prioritize Movement

When travelling, it's easy to fall into the trap of sedentary behaviour, whether it's sitting on long flights, lounging by the pool, or indulging in leisurely meals. To counteract this, prioritize movement throughout your trip. 


Take advantage of opportunities to walk, hike, bike, or explore your surroundings on foot. Aim to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine, whether it's sightseeing on foot, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or participating in local fitness classes or activities.


Staying fit while travelling is achievable with careful planning, creativity, and a positive mindset.


By following the above guide, you can maintain your fitness routine and enjoy a fulfilling and active travel experience. With the right mindset and strategies in place, you'll return home feeling invigorated, refreshed, and ready to tackle your next adventure with renewed energy and vitality! 


 


FAQs on Staying Fit While Traveling


1. Is it possible to stay fit while travelling long-term?

Absolutely! With some extra planning and dedication, staying fit while travelling long-term is achievable. It may require flexibility and adaptation, but it's definitely possible.

2. Should you work out on vacation?

3. What are the benefits of staying fit while travelling?

4. What are the challenges of staying fit while travelling?

Challenges of staying fit while travelling include cultural sensitivity, safety concerns, logistical challenges, potential disruption of leisure time, physical limitations, and pressure to perform. However, these challenges can be mitigated with careful planning and awareness.

5. How can I stay fit during a short-term or relaxed holiday?

6. What strategies can I use to stay fit during long-term or intense travel?

7. How can I prioritize movement while travelling?

8. How can I pack to stay fit on holiday?

 


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