You are going on vacation! Yay!!! You are so excited. You pack your bags. You make sure to include your running shoes and workout clothes. Obviously you must continue your exercise while on vacation, as you have been working diligently at keeping it up. You finally arrive at your amazing destination. You have a great time relaxing, eating yummy food, sleeping in, and doing fun activities with your loved ones. Then you go to pack up and you realize you never used your running shoes once! The guilt sets in. You are disappointed in yourself for not keeping up your routine. Even though you had a great trip, there is now this bummed-out feeling.
Sound familiar? Uh, yeah, sticking to your workout routine while traveling is hard.
I struggle with it, I know others do too. Many of us work hard at home at staying strong and ‘in shape’ whether we run, hike, go to the gym, mountain bike, swim, or dance. And although it is usually possible to do these things where we travel, we don’t always do well at keeping up our well established exercise habits.
Why does this happen? And what can be done?
Well, I conducted a little survey (which was by no means scientific, although still enlightening) on the challenges we face while traveling, exercise being one of them. There seems to be two groups of people when it comes to exercising while traveling…
Traveling Exercisers Group 1: Frustration Station. These people (like the example above) felt challenged, annoyed, disappointed, and dismayed with their travel exercise routine. And most who were in this camp were frustrated because they weren’t able to fit in their normal exercise program in while traveling.
Traveling Exercisers 2: Happy Exercising Campers. These are the people who were happy with their travel exercise situation. Many mentioned that they actively look for fun activities with movement built in, viewed exploring on foot as exercise (which it is), and let go of their typical routine.
So in the words of Joseph Campbell,
“We must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
Who knows what adventures await you if you allow yourself out of your planned exercise regime.
Recently, I took a trip to New Orleans to teach a program. And I made a plan, I would do my circuit training workouts at least three times to keep up my movement levels. You know how many times I did them? Zero. Did I feel disappointed in myself? No. Because instead of staying inside and doing my circuits, I was out walking in the perfect weather, exploring the city. I walked 15,000-20,000 steps each day, way more than my usual and I got to experience a really cool place. So why should I be disappointed? If I hadn’t been able to let go, I would have been.
What is the take away?
I know this can be hard. You work so diligently at keeping it up while at home and you don’t want to let go of that muscle, endurance, strength, and flexibility that you have worked so hard for. But…
Maybe a balance is in order. You can get exercise and have a great trip, it might just take a little relaxing of rigidity. You probably are getting more movement than you think you are, but you are carrying around a subtle guilt of not ‘exercising’ the way you want to.
And what does guilt do?
It distracts from you full enjoyment of your trip.
I mean I could have gone into my surf/spanish trip to Nicaragua trying to figure out how to stay in shape for backcountry skiing (which I did before and after I went), but that is ridiculous. I enjoyed my trip so much more when I focused on the activities that Central America offers like surfing and hiking, plus the innate movement of travel like walking, exploring, and carrying luggage. And yes, climbing those mountains was hard when I returned. But I could still do it.
There are so many fun, active activities that will support you in getting exercise while traveling. Here are some fun things I have done to keep me moving:
- Participated in a cyclovia in Bogota (1 day per week/month that shuts down the major road to only allow bikers, walkers, runners, skateboards, and rollerbladers. Aerobic classes are offered in parks along the way along with street fairs and farmers markets. See a video here).
- Visited a rock climbing gym in Christchurch, NZ.
- Surfed and kiteboarded in Mexico.
- Trekked in the Himalayas.
- Went to yoga in New Orleans.
- Hiked and walked- pretty much wherever I went.
“The world is won by those who let it go.” Lao Tzu
So get out there, have fun, move, and LET GO!!!
What is your experience with travel and exercise? Do you find it easy to let go? Any tips for those who have challenges? Please share!!!
You might also be interested in reading:
- Healthy Traveler Gift Guide
- Recipe for Getting the Most Out of Your Travels
- #1 Thing That Prevents Healthy Habits While Traveling
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