We all start the new year with good intentions. We say things like this is the year I’ll get fit, save money, travel the world, and so on. However, studies show by mid-February, close to 80 percent of people have given up on their New Year’s resolutions. Here’s the good news — you don’t have to wait until next January to start again. You can start over today.
Since health is a popular New Year’s resolution, let’s focus on that. Many of us spend a good amount of time traveling for work or fun and it’s easy to fall back into unhealthy habits. We let jet lag, breakfast buffets, and busy schedules get in the way of what matters most — our health. You set a goal, so let’s find a way to stick with it and have some fun doing it. You can modify your routine to match your environment and add a little variety to your adventure. Whatever your health and wellness goals are, here are seven ways to stay committed to them while traveling.
1. Book accommodations with fitness amenities.
Start with staying somewhere that has a gym. For many of us, the hardest part about working out is actually getting out the door. If you have a gym right onsite, you’re more likely to use it. When you’re searching for a hotel or Airbnb, add “fitness center” to your filters. Not all gyms will be state-of-the-art but look for options that at least have free weights and a cardio machine. Some hotels are even targeting people who want to stay fit while traveling. For example, the Westin Hotel chain offers a Wellness at Westin program. The program includes fitness gear lending, Peloton bike rentals, fitness studios, and a SuperFoodsRx menu.
2. Find discounted, short-term gym memberships.
If staying somewhere with a gym isn’t an option, there are a lot of affordable ways to get access to gyms or fitness classes. A great way to get your heart rate up and try something new is by searching local discount sites like Groupon or LivingSocial. These sites offer discounted gym memberships or class packages for just about any physical activity. Try a local spin studio, go hiking with a guide, or find your zen with a morning yoga class. It’s also worth calling franchise and independently owned gyms to see what their membership deals are for travelers. Many locations will offer day or week passes for reasonable prices. Try to avoid corporate locations, they don’t usually have as much flexibility on short-term memberships. Another option is to check in with local hotels. Even if you aren’t staying there, many hotels will provide access to their gym for a small price. Some will even give you a day pass if you book a session at the spa. Imagine how you’d feel after a massage and cardio session. Call around and find a deal that works for you.
3. Learn to workout anywhere.
If both hotels with gyms and local fitness centers aren’t in your travel plans, there are still a lot of ways to work out just about anywhere. One of my favorites is at a local park. If you’re visiting somewhere with decent weather, head to the playground and have some fun. Here is some park workout inspiration from Shape.com. Can’t find a park? Try out this workout from Fitness Magazine that only requires a bench and a tree.
Your hotel room can also be turned into a gym. These easy-to-pack bands can come with you anywhere for a full-body workout. The Daily Workouts app offers five to 30-minute workouts that can be done right in your hotel room. There’s also the Simply Yoga app with 20 to 60-minute sessions. The Nike Training Club app has over 185 workouts that include cardio, strength, and yoga. You can customize your workout based on experience level, intensity, and time commitment. The Daily Burn app is another great option that has thousands of at-home (or hotel) workouts. The Daily Burn has the widest selection of workout choices, including virtual group sessions, cardio kickboxing, barre, yoga, toning and strength, Pilates, pregnancy and post-natal, yoga, HIIT, and more. If apps aren’t your thing, open up YouTube and you’ll find just about any workout you want. Use the search option to look for cardio, strength, and yoga routines. Here are a few to get you started: 32-minute home cardio workout, no equipment butt and thigh workout, and yoga for beginners.
4. Walk instead of ride.
One of the best ways to see a city is to walk it. Take in the sights, sounds, and smells by putting on a comfortable pair of shoes and exploring on foot. Many major cities around the world are set up for walking commutes. Everything looks better at street level so take time to enjoy the view. Aim for 10,000 steps a day and track your progress using a fitness tracker like Apple Watch or Fitbit. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can exceed your step goal just by walking to dinner instead of taking transport. Plus, you won’t miss out on that local coffee shop or unique street art we’ve all sped by when we chose to take a ride.
5. Sign up for a local 5K run or walk.
If you’ll be visiting a city over the weekend, chances are they have a local 5K run or walk. Google what runs the city is offering and get signed up. Again, it’s a great way to see the city. Also, if you know you have a race coming up, you’re more likely to eat, sleep, and drink better in the days leading up to it. World’s Marathons is a good site to start your search. Don’t worry, they include races of all distances, not just marathons. Bonus if you can find a race for charity.
6. Eat well at least 80 percent of the time.
We’ve all heard the saying that abs are built in the kitchen. Not only that, but the foods we eat impact our sleep cycles, energy levels, skin, brain power, and overall health. It can be easy to go down a quick spiral of unhealthy eating habits while traveling. Try to avoid the all-you-can-eat buffets, pastry shops lined with delicious-looking carbs in the window, and late nights of excessive drinking. If you’re on vacation, the occasional indulgence is fine. You don’t want to fly 20 hours and not try the local dessert everyone raves about. However, try to eat well 80 percent of the time. Think more veggies, protein, and fruit. Fight off cravings with tea or a glass of water. You’ll reach your health and fitness goals faster, and you’ll feel better overall.
7. Sleep well.
Getting enough sleep can also impact weight loss. When you’re short on sleep you’re more likely to make poor decisions like skipping your workout or ordering a high-calorie coffee to get through the day. We’ve all been there. Studies also show a lack of sleep can rev up comfort food cravings, increase late-night snacking, and slow your metabolism. Get a good night’s rest by trying to go to sleep at the same time every night, using lavender oil to calm your mind, wear a sleep mask to block out light, and try an app like White Noise Lite to drown out the sound.
When it comes to living a healthier life, every day doesn’t have to be perfect. Health and wellness is a lifelong journey where some days are good, and others not so much. The goal is to be conscious of your decisions and focus on the bigger picture. If you’re on a bucket list trip to Italy and want to stuff yourself with homemade pasta one day, by all means, go for it. Maybe just walk a few extra steps the next day. Find your balance between enjoying life and taking care of your health.