I’m no fitness buff, most people who know me will be able to tell you that. However, I like my food FAR too much to diet, so for me, exercise is the best way to keep in shape and feel good. I found that once I hit my 30’s, suddenly I could no longer eat (or drink!) what I used to get away with. The problem with travelling is that you are generally reliant on restaurant food and everyone knows that restaurant food tends to be higher calorie and not usually as healthy as what you can cook at home. We also spend quite a lot of time on our trip being fairly sedentary – sat on planes, buses and trains for long periods; sat in our room whilst the kids do their school work, writing blog posts, planning the next stage of the trip, catching up with the news back home, etc. All this combines to quite an unhealthy travelling lifestyle. We do walk a lot and have done a fair amount of hiking and exploring, but probably not at a pace to make much of a difference to our fitness levels, Of course, this is not representative of everyones style of travel – we know plenty of folk who have enjoyed Yoga retreats and the like; but for us, this trip is about family travel on a budget and those kind of boot-camp options are not on the cards for us.
Before we left on this trip, I was running regularly and trying to take part in 10K races and half marathons every few months to keep me motivated (I’m naturally lazy…). When we first left the UK and landed in New Zealand, it was cool enough to continue with the running. In Australia we were thrilled to join in the Saturday ParkRun movement, which is something we participated in as a family, both as runners and as volunteers, every week back home in England. It has been pretty cool to add Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney to our stats! However once we moved to Asia, it was often too hot to run and I found it difficult to run on paths that are either non-existent, un-even, or cluttered with motorbikes, open manholes and other dangers. When running, I just like to look ahead and concentrate on the keep moving part; the constant stop / start and checking for danger makes the whole run not really worthwhile. I’ve heard some people join gyms wherever they stay for more than a few days, and some are lucky enough to have a gym onsite where they stay. For us this isn’t a reality – basic hostels don’t have gym equipment and it’s not in our budget to pay out for gym membership, however short-term. Instead, I have embraced YouTube exercise channels and Pinterest fitness boards. There are so many free work outs available online to address any kind of fitness need: from specific abdominal / lower body / strength training, to bikini workout programs, 5, 10, 30-day specific fitness challenges, plus popular fitness personalities usually also have their own channels, offering free workouts. So far I have completed the 30-day squat challenge and various 10-minute solution workouts (these are brilliant and literally only take 10 minutes!). I’m currently working on Fitness Blender 5-day challenge: Improvisation is important- need weights? No problem! I have used 1 litre bottles of water and weighted luggage! Yoga Mat? I’ve make do with usually damp towels! Working out in the privacy of the hotel room, complete with air-con and shower close-by, has been a good solution for me. The most important thing is that I am trying to remain active, so I feel good and hopefully can return to running with a fair amount of fitness when we return home in a few weeks. Thats the plan anyway…!