Roaming the world doesn’t mean you can’t stay fit and healthy – work out in style wherever you travel around the world with my handy guide, in collaboration with The Sports Edit.
How to work out anywhere with The Sports Edit
Travelling is wonderful, but a busy schedule of plane rides and bus journeys (plus lots of eating tasty street food to try) can leave you feeling unhealthy pretty quickly. Even if you’ve good routine of working out at home, staying fit far from the gym, your local yoga class or your favourite running route can seem a little daunting. But there are plenty of great ways to work out on the go – my favourites include practice-it-anywhere yoga sequences, exploring new places by running and working on my fitness with an outdoor swim session.
Practise yoga anywhere
Yoga is a wonderful way to feel calm, centered and healthy when travelling. It’s one of the most versatile workouts there is, too, as all you really need is a yoga mat – a cheap, one-time investment for a habit that’ll keep you flexible and strong for life. Pack a foldable travel yoga mat (I love my Gaiam mat) in your backpack and you can perfect your downward dog anywhere from a hostel to the beach.
Warm up: The sun salutation (Surya Namaskar) is a great warm-up for all sports and a good way to stretch out after a run.
1. Stand at the edge of your mat with your feet together. As you breathe in, lift your arms up from your sides. As you breathe out, bring them to your chest and press your palms together as if in prayer.
2. Breathe in and lift your still-touching hands up and over your head, stretching your back.
3. Breathe out and fold your upper body forward over your legs, bringing your hands down to the floor next to your feet. You can bend your knees a bit if you can’t reach.
4. Breathe in and send your right leg back behind you as far as possible, toes on the ground. Rest your right knee on the floor. Look up.
5. Send your left leg back too – you’ll end up in a plank position.
6. Breathe out and lower your body to the floor, keeping a bend in your back so that your knees and chest and chin touch the floor first.
7. As you breathe in, slide forward and raise your upper body up with your palms, keeping your shoulders down, and look up.
8. Breathe out and send your body up into an inverted V shape (yoga’s famous Downward Dog). Keep your legs straight – you can pedal your feet a bit to loosen your legs – and make sure your tailbone is reaching up and your hips are reaching back.
9. Breathe in and bring the right foot forward between your hands, as in 4.
10. Breathe out and bring the left foot forward and stretch down, as in 3.
11. Breathe in and roll your body up, bit by bit, and bring arms up and over the head to stretch back with hands pointing to the ceiling, as in 2.
12. Breathe out and bring your body back to standing with arms by your sides, and relax. Repeat as many times as your chakra desires.
Work out anywhere resource: I’m a huge fan of Yoga with Adriene’s tutorial videos – there’s something for all levels of yoga and they range from 10 minutes to over an hour, so you can fit yoga into the busiest travel plans.
Running on your travels
My running trainers are always in my rucksack when I travel. A 5 or 10k run is a great way to fit a good workout into a busy day, and I also love how running lets you explore a new place faster than walking. I’ll often take a look at a map of a new city and see if I can go for a run around a new neighbourhood. My other favourite way of clocking up miles abroad is beach running – jogging barefoot on sand is great for your muscles and balance and has less impact on your body than solid tarmac. Plus, you can’t really get lost on a beach, so it’s easy to relax and focus on your run. If you want to make your next run a great workout but you don’t have lots of time, try interval training. Alternating bursts of running as fast as you can with recovery runs trains your muscles to work more efficiently and economically at higher speeds.
Work out anywhere resource: Three interval training plans for runners
Swimming for fitness
If you’re travelling anywhere near the ocean or staying somewhere with a pool, you’ve got an instant outdoor gym at your fingertips. Swimming is utterly amazing for getting fit – It puts no pressure on your bones and muscles, yet still builds up strength and improves cardiovascular (that’s your heart) fitness really efficiently. If you don’t feel you’re a confident swimmer, sign up for lessons in the pool first and work on achieving a decent level of stamina before you consider a dip in the briny.
In the pool: If you’re lucky enough to have a pool large enough to swim lengths in where you’re staying, you can work on your stamina by building up how many laps you swim without a rest, work muscle groups with leg-only and arm-only lengths or add in sprint lengths to your routine.
You can also work out in the tiniest of plunge pools, and you don’t even need to be able to swim if you can touch the bottom. The resistance created by water is great for working out – try the exercise videos below.
Work out anywhere resource: Handy pool-based exercise videos from PopSugar.
Swimming outdoors: A good first step to getting into outdoor swimming for fitness is to find a placid lake you can swim the width of – you’ll quickly get used to guiding yourself without painted lanes. In the sea, I suggest beginning in shallow sea water and swimming parallel to the beach – you want to feel that you can easily stand up at any time. Wear a wetsuit unless you’re in tropical waters, use decent goggles and try building up to completing an increasing number of laps of the shore. Before swimming anywhere, check if there are any currents or riptides to be aware of.
Get kitted up for travel fitness with The Sport Edit
Packing your suitcase for your next adventure? Work out anywhere you travel by making sure you include sport leggings, a supportive high-impact sports bra, your swimsuit, goggles, some looser leggings and clothing for yoga and versatile running shoes.
The Sports Edit stock beautiful, high-performing workout kit, lots of it so gorgeous you’ll be able to wear it for day to day travelling, too. I love these PE Nation leggings and my LNDR sports bra for running on the beach, and when I’m on trails I team them with the brilliant APL Techloom breeze running shoes – they’re designed for running but look so good you can wear them with anything, making them a great space saver when you’re travelling light.