I've decided travel is the best diet and exercise plan on the planet.
When we were traveling around Asia, I'm convinced I ate noodles and rice at least twice a day, but instead of gaining weight, I kept getting skinner and skinnier. It was crazy.
But just because you're skinny on the outside doesn't mean you're fit on the inside, so in addition to traveling and eating our way around Asia, we also tried to fit in a bit of exercise.
Here are my top five ways to stay fit on the road--both inside and out:
- Walk to your guesthouse, your bus, and your activities. Not only will walking save you a ton of money and sanity as opposed to negotiating for cabs and tuk-tuks, it'll also keep you fit. Walking with your backpack exercises all sorts of muscles that walking on its own doesn't. Think of the 100 degree temperatures as an added plus.
- Kick your ass in seven minutes.The seven minute workout is scientifically proven to kick your butt. Download it from the iTunes store and prepare to get in shape in just seven minutes a day. All you need is a wall and a chair, which you should hopefully have no matter where you stay. If you have a trek coming up, this is a great way to get your heart rate up and prepare. We did this for two weeks straight before climbing Mt. Kinabalu in one day, and I think it really helped!
- Practice yoga. While a real yoga mat would be ideal, a towel laid out on the floor is sufficient in a pinch. Then all you need is some WiFi and you've got yourself your choice of podcasts from the iTunes store. My personal favorite is Nathan Johnson Yoga, which has the added benefit of being free. Nathan's classes are challenging enough for regular practitioners, but his instructions are clear enough for beginners. The big benefit of yoga is that it stretches and exercises muscles that walking and trekking either tighten or don't touch. It's a perfect complement, especially if your room is naturally as hot as a Bikram studio.
- Go trekking/hiking/tramping. Whatever you call it, just put some shoes on and get out there. Trekking is a great way to explore new countries as it forces you to slow down and really look at the way people live. Our trek from Kalaw to Inle Lake in Burma offered a fascinating look into the local tribes' lives, while our seventeen day trek over the Three Passes in Everest was the most physically challenging and rewarding thing I've ever accomplished. And remember, if you walk all day, it doesn't matter how many beers or pieces of cheese you have at night.
- Get adventurous. Try things you've never done before, explore a new hobby, or indulge in the activities you love but don't have time to do back home. Spend a whole afternoon swimming in the ocean. Rent a bike and explore the outskirts of town. Learn to scuba dive. Whatever you do, just do it. It's amazing how fit you'll stay by simply doing stuff and moving around all day. You'll never look at working out the same way again!
What are your tips for staying fit on the road?
Let us know in the comments!