One of the many perks of being a college student is the opportunity to study abroad. Whether you want to practice another language, take some cool classes, or use it as an opportunity to travel, going abroad is a great experience.
Personally, I’m going abroad in the Spring to Scotland, and I could not be more excited…or more nervous.
I’ve put myself into a great health/wellness routine at school, and am not sure how that’s going to change when I’m in a new country. Plus, if you’re a foodie like me, you’re going to want to try so much local food and treats while you travel. That could definitely put a damper on your fitness goals if you don’t have a plan. So, I’m going to share with you all my thought process for staying fit abroad, while still managing to enjoy my semester and take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself!
1. Walk/Bike/Run everywhere!
This is usually the first thing people say they notice when they travel outside of the US- people are so much more active on a daily basis. You’re probably not going to have a car, so your own two legs, and maybe a bike, are going to be your main mode of transportation. Walking everywhere will definitely add a little extra calorie burn into your daily life. Since this is a type of activity you won’t even have to think about doing, it shouldn’t be difficult to do once you’re there. When I traveled to Europe for a vacation, I would walk 4-5 miles a day without even thinking about it! Also, what better way to explore new places than to walk/bike/run around them? Cities are full of beautiful parks that would make perfect running loops, so use that as an excuse to explore.
2. Sign up for group fitness classes and find one I like
Not only will this be a great way to stay fit, but you’ll probably make a few friends, too! Depending on where you are, you’ll find a different array of classes, but try looking for something HIIT oriented, since you’ll already be getting in a lot of walking.
3. Listen to my body
Yes, you probably could finish a huge traditional dinner and scarf down dessert of every cuisine you try, but you probably also won’t need to. By making the conscious effort to eat slowly and listen to my body when you start to get full, you can still try everything you want to.
4. Have fun!
While a big part of my fitness journey has been learning to fuel my body and train the best ways possible, its also been a journey in mental health. I’ve learned that I’m happier enjoying food and eating what sounds good, rather than obsessing over the nutritional and caloric value of everything. This might be your only chance to live in Europe and travel for three months straight, so make sure to take advantage of it.
Overall, trust that your body will tell you if you’re doing something wrong, and make sure that you have goals for your fitness abroad. Whether that’s to run a 5k at the end of the semester, or attend 20 spin classes at the local studio, making a plan and setting goals is the best way to stay on track.
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