Business travelers, backpackers, and career vagabonds are often on the road for long stretches of time — far from their gym classes, healthy pantries, and the kind of regular schedules that allow for staying fit. But staying in shape while traveling is a lot easier than one might think, and making simple changes to the way you view exercise and healthy living will drastically impact your results. If you associate your well-earned vacation with nights spent indulging in every fruity cocktail under the sun then you'll definitely come back home with a few extra pounds. There's nothing wrong with going all out, but if you're embarking on a longer journey, the excess will eventually catch up with you. Here are a few tips to help you stay fit and motivated while away from home.
1. Explore a city by bike
You'd be surprised by how many people don't even consider cycling around a city, opting only for taxis and mass transit. Now more than ever, cities are becoming increasingly bike friendly. A lot of international hubs like New York, London, and Tel Aviv have bike sharing programs that make it super easy to tour the entire city without the hassle of lugging your bike around all day. Cities that don't have a system in place yet most likely have some sort of biking tour. These are usually inexpensive and a great way to meet other travelers while working off your lunch.
2. Use apps to measure progress
If you're already using a fitness app in your daily life, don't neglect it on your next trip. RunKeeper is a helpful tool for regular runners. By using your phone's GPS, the app tracks your speed, pace and how many calories you've burned during your run — or your walk around a new city. You can also view the path you took on Google Maps. If you've splurged on a hotel then there's probably a gym somewhere on the property, but if you're doing a hostel or house rental, Gorilla Workout provides instructions for exercises that can be done in your room without any equipment. Just select your workout level and then choose from a selection of different exercises.
3. Shop at local farmers markets
Farmer's markets are not only an enjoyable way to spend a lazy morning exploring — they're also a way to sample fresh, locally-sourced produce that's way better for your body than the continental breakfast. Watch locals pick up ingredients for the day, ask the vendor's what's in season, and sample the goods as you go. If you stop by just before closing, you're bound to snag many items for half the price. Use apps like Farmstand to locate the nearest market.
4. Think outside of the box
Don't be surprised if you actually lose weight after a trip. You'll likely spend a lot of time walking, but because you'll be doing so while taking in the sites, you'll probably feel more excitement than exhaustion. Use the adrenalin of being in a new place to your advantage and think outside the box. Wake up early for a morning jog across a bridge, hike to the top of the city's highest peak, traverse the city from one end to the other on foot. You'll burn calories without even realizing it.
5. Think like a kid
Not only do kids have an insane amount of energy, but they have the best places to play. Public parks and playgrounds are some of the best places to workout. Open up the map on your phone to locate the nearest green space and start getting creative — bring along a Yoga mat or find a soft patch of grass to do your routine. For pull-ups, just use a sturdy tree branch or a swing set. For an easier exercise, find a walking path and simply wander.