Travelling and keeping fit can be a challenge as I have come to discover. Living in Costa Rica for two winters and Mexico for three has seen my waistline expand much more than I care to admit. This year my husband and I vow to change this.
We are eating healthier by consuming lots of fruit and veggies, snacking on dark chocolate or nuts (in moderation of course) instead of chips, and exercising at least 4 times a week. To chill out, we head to the beach and hang with friends.
And if the pandemic is keeping you inside, some of these tips will keep you sane and occupied.
1. Work out in Local Parks
We are fortunate to live in an area where there are at least 4 parks where one can work out. Our favourite is about a 10-minute walk away and has four functioning pieces of equipment. It is also right across from a lavandería (laundromat) which is very convenient. We both have our routines and try to go every other day.
Today, the cleanup crew is cleaning up the leaves and debris. They do this quite often.
Remember to bring your masks in case there are others working out and a small bottle of sanitizer or gloves. In fact, some parks are now posting signs that masks are mandatory so follow the rules. I bring some disinfectant wipes in a plastic baggie to wipe down equipment before and after I use it.
2. Eat Well
Again, we are fortunate to have access to a couple of vegetables/fruit markets, and their products are a fraction of what we pay in the grocery stores. One place carries fresh blueberries and strawberries (maybe a little pricey but oh so good!). Smiles and conversation are free!
We are big smoothie drinkers and having access to fresh pineapple, avocadoes, and exotic fruits is a big plus for us.
However, if you are not so fortunate, the prices in the grocery stores are usually much better priced than in our Canadian and American stores.
If you love to cook, why not take some cooking lessons and learn how to make the many wonderful dishes that are available in the country you are visiting? I am learning to love Mexican dishes although I haven’t reached that comfort level of ‘spicy hot’ that so many here love.
We also have regular weekly markets where you can buy fresh coffee and chocolate from Oaxaca, artisan bread, lots of fruits and veggies, fresh cheese, hummus, yummy sweets, soaps and essential oils, and so much more. Buying local also helps the economy!
3. Walk, Run, or Bike Instead of Driving/Bussing
Local transportation is very economical and can take you to a lot of places whether it is to the beach or the nearest grocery store. However, if it is the exercise you are seeking, try walking, running, or riding your bike. My husband often bikes to the beach which is about a twenty-minute ride from our house, and we often bike to the grocery store or the local markets. Fresh air and exercise! Win/Win.
Another benefit to walking is seeing sights you might otherwise miss such as our local crocodile!
4. Invest in an Exercise Mat
I recently picked up a great exercise mat with a carrying strap at Walmart in Playa del Carmen and use it just about every day where I do a nice long stretch before heading to the park to exercise. Even if I am not going to the park, it is a great way to start my day. Just throw on some comfy clothes and get stretching. If you are not venturing out and are an online shopper, you can pick up a good one here.
5. Swim (beach or pool)
If your travels take you near a beach, bonus; resorts have pools. We happen to have a pool in our complex and I have seen a few ladies do water aerobics in the mornings. Granted it is a bit cool right now (our winter here), but it doesn’t take long to warm up when you are moving around in the water. Exercising in the water is low impact so if you have sore joints, aches and pains, hit the water! You will get a workout and burn calories.
6. Join a Class (if available)
Salsa Class, Puerto Morelos, Mexico
How about joining a gym or taking a dance class? Our particular area has a couple of gyms. You can even take Zumba, Yoga, and Salsa classes (pay by the class or take a short term membership). This is a great way to stay in shape, have fun, and meet people.
Again, check the rules. If a mask is requested, then make sure you have yours with you. If you feel the groups are too large and don’t feel comfortable, practice your salsa at home with your partner! It could be fun!!
7. DRINK WATER – LOTS OF IT!
Stay hydrated. With all that walking, swimming and dancing you are doing, you need to drink plenty of water. Of course, you need to check to make sure your water is drinkable from the tap – in Costa Rica, it is, in Mexico it is not. So we keep 3 big full bottles at all times, just to be sure we don’t run out.
Tip: Out partying and want to space your alcohol intake? Drink a glass of water between drinks! Opt for wine instead of beer or mixed drinks.
Make Friends and Chill Out
You are on vacation; stop stressing if exercise isn’t your thing. There are lots of people, like you, wanting to enjoy life so get out there and have fun!
Go fly a kite, do some paddleboarding, maybe snorkelling, or just hang with some amazing people!
There are many more ways to keep fit while travelling but these are a good start. There are so many other benefits too, such as meeting local people and learning their culture, tasting some amazing cuisine, learning something new such as Zumba. The key is to enjoy yourself and be healthy!
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