When you are traveling, you may not be able to workout the way you usually do. But that doesn't mean that you should skip exercising altogether. Get creative, rethink the word “workout” and make sure to get some sort of moving in every day.
For the past two weeks, I was traveling in Estonia and Finland. We had a great time, but naturally, I wasn't able to do my much loved outdoor HIIT workouts there. Hey, it's not sunny California, it's chilly and snowy Northern Europe, just like in the picture above! But all that doesn't mean that I stopped working out altogether. I found a way to move almost every day, even if it was something as simple as walking.
And sometimes, I did snow burpees.
Many people stop exercising when they are on a vacation, because they want to enjoy their time at the fullest and not be bothered with working out. For me, moving makes a vacation even better. At times, I may even go a little overboard with it… But working out shouldn't be an annoying chore. Sure, we all get bored sometimes, but if it's always like that, it's time to change something.
But back to working out when traveling. What if you can't do the things that you are used to do? Instead of throwing in the towel, find ways how to still stay active.
Make Compromises when Traveling
If you are used to go to a gym but your hotel doesn't have one, what do you do? If you usually workout outdoors, but it's snowing and temps are freezing outside, then what?
To be able to keep up a workout routine, you need to make compromises. Because if you don't want to return from your travel feeling sluggish and slow, you've got to find ways to move.
For example, I am not usually a gym goer, but because the low temps and slippery roads outside, I went there a couple of times during my stay in Estonia and Finland. Some of the gyms were super small and had very minimal equipment, but you can always make it work. For example, in one gym I went to, the rowing machine was one of the few reasonable pieces or workout equipment, so I used that.
Also, if just a treadmill is all you have, you can still do a super simple interval workout without having to spend hours on the treadmill.
Rethink the Word Workout
Any kind of moving can be working out. The word workout is not limited to super sweaty HIIT workout, a hours long run or any other one single thing. For years, I used to think that running is the only way of working out, but I have now come to understanding that that's not the case at all.
You may want to rethink what the word workout means. For example, while I was traveling, some days I got my daily moving in by taking long walks with my friends or mom. That's totally okay! Plus, you get to catch up on life and spend some much needed friend and family time.
Other days I went cross country skiing. I've done that a lot in the past, but not recently. It was good to be back. Soaking up all the beauty of the nature while skiing on a frozen lake in Finland, followed by a hot sauna was so much more than just working out.
You won't be losing your strength and stamina if you can't do the exact same things that you have used to do. Go do something different that you have never done before, find ways to move and don't panic about missing your “real” workouts.
Activities To Do on a Vacation
Vacation is actually a great time to try out new things that you may not think of when you are at home. Sure enough, it depends where you are, but there are definitely ways to do something active in every destination. Take a look around you to see,
Are there parks or playgrounds? These are super fun. You can do all sorts of fun things on a playground without even realizing that you are working out.
Is there a beach nearby? Instead of lying there all day, do some sprints, jumps and burpees in the sand. You'll be surprised how much harder they are in the sand.
Are there ski tracks? It doesn't matter that you can't ski, just try it. Last week, my husband was on cross country skis second time in his life, and he survived and even liked it 🙂
Does your hotel have a tennis court (or a swimming pool, or do they offer pilates classes)? It doesn't matter that you haven't played tennis before. Just give it a try, it will be fun.
Explore your surroundings by walking or running. I do that a lot! Whenever I get to a new destination, I go check out the new city first day. I bring my phone to be sure not to get lost… Because it may have happened that I've lost my way so badly that a run that was supposed to be an hour long turned out to take three hours.
If all you have is a small hotel room with no workout equipment at all, that's fine too. Do a simple bodyweight workout, doing as many rounds as possible in 15 minutes: 5 Burpees, 10 Push Ups, 15 Squats.
Stop Obsessing Over Working Out
While I think moving everyday is important, vacation or not, I don't want to lose my mind by obsessing about it. For example, there were days when we were sitting in a bus all day and there was pretty much no way to work out. It happens.
Also, when you are traveling overseas, you will probably have a jetlag for at least first couple of days (in my case, about a week!). It probably leaves you sluggish and sleepy and you may not be ready to work out.
That's totally fine, too. Just do your best and always try to move, even just walk. You can also squeeze in a super short high intensity workout (like the one above) if you are short on time, but if it doesn't happen for one reason or another, don't beat yourself up because of it. You can always do your workout tomorrow.
You can still stay active when you are traveling, even if you can't do your regular workouts that you are used to. Think outside of the box and still find ways to move – you can find something everywhere. Just be open for new-to-you activities and if there's really nothing you could think of, a simple bodyweight workout will save your day.
However, working out shouldn't be the only thing to think about so that you get obsessed and worried if you have to skip one day. Take your time to relax and listen to your body – if it's worn out from jetlag or you simply didn't get a good sleep in a new place, it may be a better idea to take a rest day.
Your turn: Do you workout when you are traveling?