Cultural Experience | Europe

Staying Fit for Free While Studying Abroad

Keep Fit During Travel without Breaking the Bank

Most of you who study abroad, want to get the very most out of your budget. If you don’t have that extra 100 pounds to spend on a gym membership while traveling, don’t worry. There are ways to embrace the spontaneity and change in environment without sacrificing your health or breaking the bank. So try every new food and spend as many lazy days by the Mediterranean as possible, but let these guidelines keep you in a healthy and thrifty mindset.

1. Always carry water with you.

Traveling around, you’ll get thirsty fast. Water fountains are not as common in many other countries and who knows when you’ll be stuck somewhere without stores nearby. So get a big water bottle and fill it up before you set out. This will save you money and keep you from feeling hungry when you’re actually just dehydrated.

2. Try something new.

Being in a different country is a unique opportunity to try a sport or activity that isn’t common back home. If your host university or city offers these types of clubs, it is an inexpensive way to exercise as well as connect with locals. You could even take cultural dance lessons or join a dance club.

3. Bring portable equipment or rent it cheaply.

There are two great essentials to bring abroad; a resistance band and lacrosse ball. These both take up minimal space and weight in your suitcase and are great for at home or on the road stretching and workouts. Look up how a lacrosse ball can help loosen your muscles after an exhausting day of travel. Additionally, many universities have sports gear that you can rent out for minimal cost.

4. Capitalize on the value of free attractions.

Do not feel guilty for not going into every renowned exhibit or site with an expensive admission price. There’s an abundance of free gardens, cheap markets, and outdoor exhibits to explore. You can see the natural beauty and culture of a destination by looking up hiking, biking, and walking trails.

5. Be your own mode of transportation.

Whenever possible, always choose walking over transportation. This will end up saving you a ton of money. It will also give you more opportunities to really see the place you visit…while burning calories! Most importantly though, bring the right bags and shoes. If you have a kinked back or sore feet, you’ll be discouraged and end up resorting to paying for transportation.

6. Record yourself.

Fitness and health apps are great ways to give structure to your healthy mindset while abroad. These are often free or inexpensive. However, you will not always have access to Wi-Fi or an endless battery life. A great alternative is journaling. Don’t get too caught up in this, but recording your workouts or planning new ways to exercise is a simple and free way to stay motivated.

7. Practice quality over quantity.

Find the right times to cut back and the right times to be indulgent. Eat healthy or cook for yourself when you’re on campus so that you can really splurge on those weekend trips. Food is a part of every culture and there is no need to feel guilty while delving into the experience of those new places. Also, avoid drinking all your calories! Enjoy inexpensive €4 bottles of wine and only pay for the heavy drinks at the pub when it’s the really good stuff.

8. Make your room your personal gym.

The Internet is your friend. There are endless blogs and online videos that will give you at home workouts. Stretch and exercise from your dorm or hostel with absolutely no equipment.

9. Find a workout buddy.

Get into a routine with a fellow study abroad peer or new international friend who enjoys being active. There’s nothing like having a like minded companion for a free personal trainer!

10. Plan beforehand.

Before you go abroad, decide what standards you want to maintain and what works for you personally. Make sure to budget your time, money, and priorities. Don’t sacrifice the good habits that are a part of who you are, but know not to set lofty goals that will stifle your overall experience.

11. Bonus tip: Always say yes to the gelato.

Gelato is a vegetable for the soul.

Emily Roth

University of Connecticut | 6 stories

Emily is a current UConn senior and Political Science major, deeply in denial about graduation. She studied in Nottingham, England for a semester of her junior year and feels super lucky that she was able to travel around Europe. She hopes to pursue a creative and entrepreneurial career which allows her to make actual change in people's lives. She can often be found enjoying cheap wine while consuming excessive amounts of home remodeling shows.

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