Debunking common excuses that keep you from staying in shape while away from home

By Joyce Reyes-Aguila

Traveling tests commitment. Take the low survival rate of long-distance relationships as an example. A new place offers change that challenges our routines. Our bodies adjust to different things such as climate, culture, and a new environment. We adapt, subscribing to new options and replacing our old ways. Travel can only be for a few days or weeks, but should it bring about changes in our diet or physical activities, too?

There must be a way to enjoy your journey without making you forget your usual self—the one who loves to run in the morning, is restricted to a single cup of coffee daily, or is already benefiting from eating organic food. The last thing you want inside your suitcase is this pack of excuses that will keep you from sweating or dining like usual. It is easy to fall off the wagon with beautiful scenery and a bewildering array of tempting food choices. But don’t they always say that if there’s a will, there’s a way? Let’s throw these excuses out the window.

  • My exercise gear will take up space in my luggage. There will always be room in your bags even if your plan is to shop ‘til you drop or have limited luggage allowance due to a budget flight. Choose versatile pieces like stylish leggings that you can also wear while touring. Wear your sneakers during your flight to lessen bulky items in your luggage. If you are planning to purchase new clothing items for the gym, see if you can get good buys on your first or second day. You can even break your new pair of running shoes in while enjoying the sights.   
  • My schedule is too tight. You have traveled too far to spend an extra hour sleeping or watching television! This is time away from breaking a sweat. Why don’t you schedule a morning run or walk to a must-try organic restaurant for breakfast? Why not spend an hour in your hotel’s gym facility? If you feel like swimming will be the best form of exercise to complement your vacation, do a few laps before your start your day. And no matter how busy you are, keep hydrated to help you distinguish hunger from thirst.
  • I am too shy to run in a new city. This excuse falls under the “it’s not them, it’s you” category. You are in a place where, most probably, nobody knows you. So, unless you are planning a way of running that will call attention to you and make you trend online, it will be fine. Early on, research about the place you are staying in. See what runners and travelers say about it. Write the hotel or the person coordinating your travel for work. Ask about parks and other recommended places where you can go for a run or enjoy a brisk walk.
  • I am traveling with kids. Routines are often given up to avoid inconveniencing people we travel with. If you are traveling with your young ones, wake up earlier than usual for even 30 minutes of sweating it out at the gym or schedule to buy your necessities after dinner so you can burn a few more calories. Take the stairs or a longer route, if you can. Adjust your time and let your companions know about your plans. If they are returning to a nearby mall, you can go for a run if you have already explored the space to your heart’s content.
  • There’s no pool, no gym where I’m staying. There are definitely roads for brisk walking or running, right? Or there could be bikes for rent and spin or yoga classes you can join. While traveling, sticking to your diet and exercise routine is vital. If there’s a will, there’s a way. Be creative and resourceful. Via your smartphone, see if your tour’s next stop or conference venue is within reasonable distance so you can take a walk. Maximize your room more and do your lunges or push-ups in it. Track your progress daily through apps. Merely being aware of the number of steps you take a day can encourage you to move more or eat less for the rest of your stay.