Staying Fit While Abroad

Exercise Abroad

 

Exercise Abroad

Exercise by Lel4nd, on Flickr

Traveling, as amazing as it is, can sometimes take a toll on your health. While abroad, you’re more likely to eat out and drink more often than if you were at home. You also don’t always have the time or resources to exercise.

For those of you who want to stay fit while studying abroad, don’t stress. We have a few workout suggestions for you, whether you’re on a time crunch or have few minutes to spare. All you need is a small amount of space, comfy clothes and a positive attitude!

Cardio

Time Crunch
Don’t have the time or space to go for a run? You still have plenty of options to get that heart pumping. Jumping jacks or jump roping are both great ways to get active that don’t require much time or space. (Hint: You don’t need a rope to jump rope. An imaginary rope works just as well.) Tuck jumps, mountain climbers and burpees are also viable options that can be done in a small room. If you want to do something more similar to running, try high knees. Mix and match for a more complex cardio workout. You can spend 30-60 seconds doing each activity, depending on how fit you are. Then take a small break and repeat!

No Rush
If you aren’t pressed for time, why not go for a run? Hiking is another good workout when walking at good pace or at an incline, so hit the trails if you have any nearby.  Doing a full circuit workout, which combines cardio and strength, is another great way to burn some calories. You can also be active while exploring the city in which you’re studying abroad. Forgo the public transportation and walk to museums or restaurants. Instead of taking the elevator, take the stairs. Sign up for a walking or biking tour of the city to explore and be active at the same time.

Strength

Time Crunch
If you want to spend less time on strength workouts, you’ll need to increase the intensity. That way you can get in a good workout without having to do as many sets. On the off-chance you didn’t pack dumbbells, some creativity is required. Rather than regular push-ups, try clapping push-ups. Another option is to do incline push-ups, or push-ups with your hands on the floor and your legs elevated on a chair or sofa. Feeling extra strong? Combine the two. For squats, take your heaviest text book and hold it straight above your head with locked elbows. Not heavy enough? Try doing jump squats while holding a heavy object. Hold the same object over your head during lunges if you’re trying to tone your booty.  Lunge jumps is another option if you need a challenge. Wall sits are another great way to get in a strength workout on a time limit.

No Rush
More time means you won’t have to scrounge around your dorm or apartment to find weights; simply do more sets. Rather than doing ten weighted lunges, do 20 with no weights.  Squats or jump squats are also great exercises to tone your legs. Make sure to position your legs shoulder-width apart, keep your back straight, and squat low enough so your knees and your rear-end are parallel. Hold your arms straight out in front of you to balance. You can do one-legged squats the same way, just rest one leg on a chair behind you or hold one leg out in front of you. Do enough in each set to tire your muscles, then take a minute or two to rest and start again!

Core

Time Crunch
You only need eight minutes to complete a good ab workout. It’s called… eight minute abs. If you are familiar with a variety of abdominal workouts such as reverse crunches, bicycles, flutter kicks and planks, this workout should be relatively easy. If you aren’t, click here to familiarize yourself with ab-toning exercises. Start doing a simple ab workout and after 30 seconds switch to a different one. Keep doing this without resting until eight minutes have gone by. Then you’re done!

No Rush
If you have more time, you can do sets of more challenging abdominal workouts.  Leg lifts, dead bugs and more complicated variations of planks are great ab workouts that don’t require any equipment. Do one set of 15-30, rest for 60-90 seconds and then repeat. For a good workout, aim to do three sets of three different types of ab workouts. Going slow is the key to core exercises, so take your time. The slower you go, the more fatigued your muscles get. And fatigued muscles are a sign you just had a great workout!

What are your favorite workouts to do with limited time or space? Share your routines in the comments below!

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