“Travel weight” is certainly a thing that even the fittest people complain about, every time they return from their vacations. This becomes even more of an issue when someone travels on work assignments.
But if you are willing to adapt your fitness routine depending on what a place has to offer, much of this can be avoided. In fact, you will end up having a lot of fun, while maintaining—or even improving—your fitness.
Traveling gives you the chance of playing new sports, trying new exercise routines, swimming, trying body weight routines, or cycling, hiking and walking. You don’t even have to workout every single day. In order to help, we thought of listing some fun activity ideas that you could try while travelling.
Running: Meet a local running group. Google and Facebook will show you the options no matter where you go. Running with the locals is just a lot more fun. Imagine a local tour guide to the city running at your pace and who will probably also join you for a drink and point you to all the cool places.
Swimming: Many cities around the world, especially in Europe, have public swimming pools that you can access for a small fee, or lakes with dedicated swimming areas that you can use for no charge. I have used pools in Singapore, Berlin, Vienna, Helsinki, Chicago and Oslo, and it’s been great every time. Swimming is an excellent low-impact workout that will take the load off your legs, especially if you are having a hectic vacation ticking things off your list.
Climbing and bouldering: Since climbing was announced as an Olympic sport, its popularity has grown worldwide. There are climbing gyms at almost all major cities that attract tourists and are great fun. While wall climbing requires a partner to belay you, bouldering eliminates that need. Each bouldering course is set up as a puzzle and tests both your physical and problem solving skills. Since it doesn’t require scaling big heights, you can do it all by yourself.
Park workouts: Some of the best places to visit in a new city are the parks—a perfect way to experience a city like the locals. Many parks also have public gyms with some equipment and pull-up bars and benches that you can use for bodyweight workouts.
Dodgeball: Playing football, basketball, volleyball and other such sports with anyone other than your own sports group can be pretty daunting, especially in a new city. However, dodgeball, a game most of us played in school without rules, has a great community and welcomes people of all skill levels and ages. I played it in Utrecht in the Netherlands last month, and it was one of the most fun times I have had. All the while, I worked up a sweat and learnt nuances of the game while jumping, dodging, diving and throwing a ball at someone with all my strength. If that’s not fun, what is?
Salsa socials: While I went to play dodgeball, a friend I was travelling with went for a salsa social. No matter what part of the world you are in, Thursday nights are reserved for salsa socials by salsa enthusiasts across the world. Yes, there is the chance that you might end up drinking a bit, but make no mistake that dance is a proper workout. The cherry on top is that you get to meet locals and fellow dancing enthusiasts, while letting your hair down.
Walking: Many exercise snobs turn their noses when one mentions walking as a workout. Ignore them. Especially while traveling. In India, most of us barely walk. Any holiday in Europe or the Americas involves walking an average of 20,000-25,000 steps per day. You are constantly on your feet, whether it is for walking around museums, to and from bus stops and metro stations, or strolling past interesting neighbourhoods. All that walking adds up. After that much walking, sometimes all you need is a massage and sleep and not any extra workouts.
Shrenik Avlani is a writer and editor and the co-author of The Shivfit Way, a book on functional fitness.