Going abroad is all sorts of wonderful, but it is not an excuse to forget your health. Aside from all the sumptuous dishes, drinks, and desserts awaiting you, so is the ‘Study Abroad 15.’ That is, if you let yourself get carried away. Enjoy yourself by all means, but remember to strike a balance.
The good news: No matter where you are, you can stay in tip-top shape! Maintain your physical fitness abroad with these six useful tips!
1. Source Healthy Food Near Your Homestay
More than working out, food is the key to fitness! Look for a local market that sells fresh produce instead of immediately looking for a familiar fast food chain that you grew up with. Just like back home, eating out costs a lot. It thins out your wallet while expanding your waistline. You don’t know exactly how much oil, fat, or salt goes into it.
If you can cook up tasty meals from your dorm or homestay, all the better. Watch out for cooking classes and see if you can whip up mouthwatering national dishes just like the locals do!
2. Discover the Best Workout
The easiest workout to bring with you all over the world? Walking (or running if you prefer). All you need is a good pair of sneakers that won’t hurt your heels nor pinch your toes. Then roam around the city and take in the stunning landscapes and towering skyscrapers. Additionally, check if your university has its own gym and subsidize your membership so you can take full advantage.
You really only need basic bodyweight exercises and calisthenics for your body to pump up your heart rate and burn calories! Lift weights if you know the proper form, and take care not to injure yourself. Pro-tip: if you practice yoga, bring a lightweight mat you can roll out in your dorm room—no need to take up tons of space.
3. Find Workout Buddies
If you need extra motivation, find a group or pair up with a buddy who has similar goals. They can keep you in check if you’re slipping from your goals, such as missing one too many running sessions in exchange for dessert binges.
It doesn’t always have to be the same workout either. Join your buddies for a Gangchon Rail Bike near Nami Island, try a surf lesson in Bondi, or even throw ninja stars during ninja and samurai training programs in Tokyo. Friends who workout together stay healthy together.
4. Schedule Your Meals
Hey, here’s a tip you’ll surely love. You don’t need to shy away from culinary delights. Just indulge in them until nightfall or schedule your eating around your daily tasks. This way, you won’t feel deprived of all the iconic food wherever you visit, at the same time you have a limit as to how often you’ll be filling your belly. Oh, and drinks totally count as liquid calories, so those nighttime drinks need to be accounted for!
5. Join the Locals
The chances are high that wherever you’re staying, there are games like tennis, basketball, soccer, hockey, volleyball, and cricket. All of which are popular across the world. Why not sign up for the local team? That way you can hit three birds with one stone. Get culture, exercise, and new friends! Even if you play the same old sport back home, there are variations that exist in the localized version of the sport, and you might be inspired to bring new techniques back home.
For non-traditional and non-contact sports, activities like capoeira, yoga, and salsa dance classes require tons of physical coordination and will give you cultural insights too—especially if the country you’re visiting is the home of the practice. Don’t forget hiking, which will tone your leg muscles while inspiring you with magnificent mountain views!
6. Don’t Indulge TOO Much
Whether it be Oktoberfest in Germany or unlimited strawberry buffets in South Korea, it’s alright to indulge and make the most of your exotic experiences. But don’t get carried away. Plan your cheat day and then make up for it on the next. Give up the Netflix-and-eat habit to save your appetite for special events.
To sum it up, find good food, a nice workout, and limit your indulgences. It’s important to keep physically fit while studying abroad, and we hope you’ll have fun while burning calories! While traveling and classes will inevitably take up most of your time, you can definitely squeeze in some physical activities in your jam-packed schedule.