I love travel, but like many travellers I tend to forget any health and fitness routines of back home when I’m on the road. Jane Grates has kindly supplied this guest post about why you shouldn’t give up your running routine when travelling:
People flock to travel because it affords them so many opportunities beyond the tedium they otherwise encounter on a day-to-day basis. Suddenly, food options are different; transportation is nothing like what they have back home; and perhaps even the language is completely different and unlike anything they’ve ever seen or read before! Travelling can be very exciting and exhilarating and an amazing way to challenge yourself to get outside your comfort zone.
However – it goes without saying – but even when you’re travelling the world, meeting lots of different people, and experimenting with local cuisines and cultures, you still have to be an adult and take care of yourself. Just because you’re not sleeping at home in your bed, for example, doesn’t mean that you suddenly no longer need to get enough sleep each night and can instead stay out all night, every night, partying until the sun comes up.
Similarly, even though you might be thousands of miles away from home, your body while you’re travelling is still your body; you still have to take care of it by feeding it nutritiously and keeping your body as healthy and strong as possible. That said, it behooves you to still maintain some semblance of an exercise routine while you’re travelling because not only will you feel great while you’re travelling, you’ll also have the sustained energy to keep going out there, and you’ll probably be healthier than you’d be otherwise, in the absence of exercise.
I’m a runner, so I tend to look at exercise through a run-focused lens, so I wanted to further describe more reasons as to why you shouldn’t give up your running routine while travelling. If you aren’t a runner, no problem; simply sub running for your exercise of choice, and the sentiment will still hold true.
Below, here are just a smattering of reasons as to why you shouldn’t give up your running routine while you’re travelling. They include, but definitely aren’t limited to:
Running Gives You Energy
When you spend time each day doing a vigorous cardiovascular activity such as running, you’ll likely find that later in the day, you have more energy than usual to still go about your normal day-to-day obligations and commitments. It’s kinda weird to think about actually, because a lot of people say they’re too tired to exercise or to run. Even if you just go out for 5 or 10 minutes, that’s better than nothing and still enough to confer benefits from. Plus, when you’re travelling, you want to have as much energy as possible (without relying on copious amounts of caffeine or dubious supplements) so you can see and experience as much as possible!
Running Helps You Sleep Well At Night
As you get into an exercise routine, you’ll likely notice that your sleep patterns may change. More specifically, you may find that you want to go to bed each night a little earlier than normal, and you’ll likely find that you’re sleeping more deeply and more soundly than normal. This makes perfect sense physiologically, when you think about the build and recover processes that your body undergoes during exercise. Your body actually gets stronger during rest periods – when you’re asleep, when you’re taking a rest day, that sort of thing – and when you have a hard workout, such as a run, most days, your body will more or less crave the nighttime sleep. It can be hard to sleep well whilst travelling, but keeping a regular running routine can help mitigate this challenge.
Running Can Help Keep You Regular
Lots of people have gastrointestinal troubles when they travel, due to a whole host of diverse reasons. Fortunately, running can help with that! Runners often say that their morning runs help keep their gastrointestinal tracts running “regularly,” so to speak. This can be hugely important, particularly when you’re travelling and may otherwise be feeling pretty constipated.
Running Can Keep You In Good Spirits
For as fun and exciting as travel is, let’s face it: sometimes it can be really stressful. Running each day can help you feel a flood of “feel good hormones,” called endorphins, and they can put you (and keep you) in a good mood for the entire day. Many people run each day to help them relieve stress or work through challenging life situations, and when you’re travelling, it’ll be important for you to feel like you also have some sort of “out” to turn toward when things are tough. You may find that running helps mellow you out and keeps you happy and flexible, in good spirits to handle all the crazy stuff that you’ll likely encounter when you’re a global jet-setter.
Running Can Help You Appreciate Your Locale
I firmly believe that one of the best ways to see a new locale is by foot, and hey, running’s more efficient than walking, so why not? Running through a locale can help you get a better sense of direction and orientation, it may even help you feel more confident in getting around and finding things that you need. Plus, if you really go off the beaten path and explore the local trails in your new locale, you may find vistas that are otherwise inaccessible to people. Running can help uncover all the hidden gems in all the places that you’re visiting, so it’s worth it to keep at it!
Running Can Help You Meet People
Finally, while many people feel that running is a solitary sport, I think part of its beauty is in its flexibility. You can choose to run by yourself if you’d like, talking to no one and acknowledging nothing, or you can meet-up with other runners and go on an exploration. Running when you’re travelling can be an excellent way to meet other runners – locals or other travellers – and it’s another way that you can meet the locals of the place that you are visiting. Runners are often very sociable people, and it may be nice to find some kindred spirits when you’re thousands of miles away from home.
Hopefully just a few of these reasons are enough to encourage you to keep up your running routine while you’re travelling. You have so much more to gain by continuing to run and train, and overall, I think it’ll further enrich your travel experiences. Give it a try, and I bet you’ll find that in future trips, your running shoes become one of your gear essentials.