As a yoga teacher and fitness instructor, I am passionate about living a healthy lifestyle and eating a balanced diet. However, as an expat and lifelong nomad, I also find myself on the road a lot, hanging out in airports between long flights, and generally wanting to indulge in the local cuisine of every place I visit! But traveling and staying in shape can go hand-in-hand with a few simple adjustments. This way, you can enjoy the trip without packing on any extra guilt-inducing pounds.
1. Walk, walk, walk! Walking is the easiest and single most effective tool for avoiding vacation weight gain and staying fit while traveling. Walking is a fabulous low-impact exercise that many people simply don’t do enough of in their day-to-day lives. Why spend money on a taxi when you can stroll through the streets of downtown and experience the culture up close? Pocket your money, bring sturdy shoes, and cover as much of the city by foot as you can.
bonus points if you…wear a pedometer! Using a Fitbit or tracking app on your phone helps you to see how many steps you’re taking, so you can set daily goals or celebrate your mileage accomplishments.
2. Set aside time for moderate exercise. This can be a jog, light stretching, bodyweight toning moves in your hotel room, or anything else that suits your body and abilities. A healthy lifestyle is about balance and moderation, so while some people may find it reasonable to wake up for a jog before their daily outing, other people may find that gentle stretching before bed is a more suitable option. Either way, this piece of advice is simply to get moving, no matter your age or fitness levels.
bonus points if you…find time to do moderate exercise for at least 30 minutes per day.
3. Focus on veggies and protein. I am a firm believer that you can experience all the benefits of any local cuisine, while still keeping lean, plant-based nutrition as the foundation of your daily energy. Personally, I like to save money by hitting up the local farmers markets and preparing a lean breakfast of eggs and fruits in the morning, and then carrying nuts to snack on throughout the day.
bonus points if you… Opt for fish whenever you’re ordering out, and eat all your veggies first.
4. Splurge, selectively. Of COURSE you can have the Italian pizza / Spanish wine / French pastries!! You just can’t have all these things every single day. What kind of sad, boring life doesn’t involve sampling local street food or enjoying a fruity cocktail by the beach?! Remember, it’s about balance, not deprivation.
Bonus points if you… share your health goals with a friend, who can help encourage you—and maybe even be inspired by your positive lifestyle.
5. Keep outdoor activities the focus of your daily excursions. Go mountain biking. Visit a public park or botanic garden. Take a walking tour. Go snorkeling or scuba diving. Hike through the rainforest. You don’t have to be a raging adrenaline junkie to step outside and enjoy the great outdoors!
Bonus points if you… try something new, like parasailing or mountain climbing.
At the Airport
6. Take the stairs whenever possible. In the airport, you often get a choice: escalator or stairs. This is a really simple way to burn a couple dozen more calories and get your blood pumping before or after those long cramped flights. Besides, I often find that the escalators are packed with people standing, but the stairs are free and clear. Who doesn’t love skipping long lines?!
Bonus points if you… carry your luggage up too! All those flights of stairs between terminals can really add up after a while.
7. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. It’s well-known that flying rapidly dehydrates you, and water is literally the most vital life form of sustenance for our bodies. I can’t overemphasize the importance of water. So when I recommend hydrating, I don’t mean sip on it casually… I mean, actively prioritize drinking fluids while traveling.
Bonus points if you… skip the complementary coffee or soda on the flight, since those will further dehydrate you.
8. Keep moving. This applies to long flights, and also layovers between flights. Sitting in a tight, cramped plane for several hours is horrible for your circulation and overall health. On long flights, get up and stretch your legs frequently! Before or between flights, take opportunities to stand up and walk around the airport. Just get your blood pumping and your legs moving!
Bonus points if you… ignore the people staring and work up the courage to stretch out your muscles shamelessly in public airports. Maybe they’ll be inspired to do the same thing!
What are YOUR best fit travel tips? Let me know in the comments!