Staying Fit on the road

Being a creature of routine brings its own comforts when I’m back the my daily grind. After a few years, I’ve settled into a fixed sort of schedule that allots time for work and play and exercise.

Going on the road changes that routine drastically and throwing in jetlag, the lack of movement makes me twitchy and sometimes, ill-tempered, because I think I can’t really handle sitting down and doing nothing for long periods. Long flights, needless to say, are extremely traumatic and painful for me. Some people tolerate it much better, but I think I’ve become a bear on planes.

But I digress. There are some ways I sneak in exercise while travelling and a lot of it is hotel-room based, so I can actually jump around in comfort and privacy without garnering weird looks from everyone.

1. Walking from a place of interest to another


I used to do this to save transport money, no matter how meagre it is, and actually spent hours speed-walking from place to place, armed with a map and my camera. It’s the most basic form of exercise for me – I consciously take larger strides, for instance – and the side benefit is that I actually do manage to see some neighbourhoods and the local way of life I wouldn’t be privy to otherwise.

2. Online fitness subscriptions


Youtube is such a fantastic resource for this. There are specific channels that I’ve actually used and liked: BeFit, Popsugar, FitnessBlender and BodyProject are just a few of them. In fact, I actually bought BodyProject’s exercise plan simply for their workouts and plans for a reasonable cost and I do like the fact that I can load them up anytime in a place with internet access and simply get down to it.

These are just some of my favourites.

Many of these exercises take up little space, so I do try to get creative with them if my room is tiny and space-challenged. Move a chair or a table somewhere. Do some sit-ups on the bed – don’t quote me on this – or some push-ups against a wall or in the shower.

Without the internet, I do have a kind of routine in mind, but it’s admittedly harder to get motivated without some instructor yelling at me onscreen: Push-ups, sit-ups, crunches, plank-holds, lunges, running on the spot, all in multiples of 10s or 20s, with a short 10-second break in between, for a half hour. I raid the hotel fridge for heavy bottles to use as weights when I can, then put them back unused.

That’s like the Charlie Hunnam workout but a more toned-down and crazy version.

It’s all I need. Not 2 or 3 hours when that time can be better spent sightseeing and taking in new stuff.

3. Food


I’m lax when it comes to calorie-counting and all. Scratch that. I don’t do it. I eat what i want, then stop when I’m sated. My stomach lets me know that. But throw in other types of exotic cuisine and I can go crazy. There is no way I’m ever going to skip any chance to try what the locals eat.

I’ve made the conscious decision however, to eat better. Sample the local fare, but ensure that there’s a huge portion of vegetables and fresh fruits in what I eat. Binging on street food might be great for a night out, but a few weeks of eating badly will cause more problems than I want.

Other practical things really that I’ve tended to overlook: not drinking enough water (dehydration can be a problem especially in hot and humid places where drinking water isn’t readily available),

4. Planning adventure-type day trips


This is something I’ve yet to get fully into, but I’d love to do more of it. Snowmobiling, ice-climbing, scuba-diving, hiking, white-water rafting are just some things I’ve tried and it’s way more addictive than I thought.

They can cost a fair bit of money however – equipment isn’t cheap and neither are the services of the guide you’re using – and if I’m budget conscious enough, I typically think of adding these activities (sometimes 1 or 2 would be enough!) in the planning stage of the trip and try to set aside the funds for them.

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