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Tips For Staying Fit On The Road
Stop Thinking You're On Vacation
Many people often have this idea that when they're traveling they're "on vacation," meaning they can eat whatever they want. Unfortunately, your body doesn't know you're on vacation and your metabolism isn't going to all of a sudden be put into overdrive. While you should absolutely sample all the local foods, do it in moderation. For example, if you're in France and want to sample one of their amazing chocolate croissants, have a small one or cut one in half and have it with fruit. And remember, while different regions have delicious desserts and rich entrees, they have healthy delicacies as well.
When traveling, sandwiches are a very convenient meal on the go. Moreover, most buses and airplanes that serve food will often give you a bread-heavy meal or a roll on the side. While you don't need to cut bread from your diet completely, you also don't need to eat the top and bottom of a foot-long sub. I usually take off the top slice and eat the meal as an open-faced sandwich. Additionally, if you're in a place where multi-grain bread is accessible, get it.
Just being outside makes most people naturally want to move around more. Not only that, but outdoor activities are energy and mood boosters. Explore the landscape through hiking, biking, horseback riding, jogging or whatever way you enjoy. Not only will you move more, you'll eat less because you're busy and not sitting around.
Pack Healthy Snacks
My friends always joke that I'm perpetually afraid of starving to death. Whether I'm in a metropolitan city or the middle of nowhere, you can bet I have fruit and granola bars in my purse. It's not that I think I'm suddenly going to find myself stranded for days without food – although if that did happen, I would be prepared – but that I don't want to be forced to buy a greasy sausage or an unhealthy bag of chips if I'm hungry. Not only does this tactic help me stay slim, it also saves me money.
Instead Of A Bus Tour, Opt For A Walking, Biking Or Running Tour
For most bus tours, there is usually a more active option. Almost all cities offer walking and cycling tours. Sometimes these are even free, such as when taking a walking tour with SANDEMANs NEW Europe in various European cities, BA Free Tour in Buenos Aires, Free Tours by Foot in New York and I'm Free in Sydney. There is also something called "sight running," which allows tourists to view a city through jogging.
Visit The Markets
Exploring local markets is a great way to get to know a culture and a city. They're also great because they sell fresh foods. If you're in a place where you're nervous about eating the fruits and vegetables, opt for produce with a peel, like bananas, avocados and oranges. Wash your hands after peeling to remove any germs from the peels.
Take A Cultural Class That's Physical
Classes aren't always about sitting, reading and listening. In fact, there are many classes that allow people to gain insight into a culture in an active way. Try Tai Chi in China, tango lessons in Argentina, samba in Brazil or yoga in India. You may even discover a new hobby to take home.
Learn To Read The Nutrition Facts
Just because a food's energy may be written in kilojoules instead of calories doesn't mean your body can't tell the difference. You can easily Google the conversion and figure out how to read the nutrition labels in the place you're visiting. Furthermore, make sure to check if the nutrition facts are written per serving, package or 100 grams, as this will make a big difference in how much calories and fat you're actually consuming.
Take Advantage Of The Hotel Gym
If your hotel has a gym or pool, make use of it. If you need to motivate yourself a bit more, think of it as getting the most for your money. Bonus points if you specifically book an accommodation because it has a fitness center.
If You Have A Smartphone, Make Use Of Diet And Fitness Apps
With our technologically advanced world, there are tons of apps available now to help us stay on track with our diet and fitness goals. No matter where you are in the world, you can have access to calorie counters, exercise trackers or workout programs via your mobile. Some of my favorites are Lose It!, which helps you count calories; My Fitness Pal, which tracks your food intake and exercise and has an enormous food database; and Daily Full Body Workout, which gives you a 10 to 30 minute exercise routine each day.
Keep A Healthy Mind
Being away from home, while exciting, is stressful at times. Make sure to set aside time to really relax. Spend a day in bed reading, rent a movie, visit a spa, or nap in a hammock on the beach. While each city offers many things to do and see, remember that you can't see everything. Don't be too upset if you can't do it all, as it's just another reason to re-visit the destination in the future.
[photos via JessieonaJourney, jessieonajourney, matt hutchinson, hotelcasavelas2]