Fitness and traveling aren’t two words you’ll see commonly used alongside each other. If anything, traveling is the perfect excuse to eschew any sort of strenuous exercise, especially if you have different priorities. For digital nomads, however, fitness can play a vital role in establishing some kind of routine. Whether you have ambitions of completing a marathon in an exotic location, or you simply want to stave off weight gain, consider these tips for building sustainable, long-term fitness habits.

Set Some Fitness Goals

Before you even slip on those fresh new trainers, ask yourself: “What is it that I want to accomplish?” If you’re shooting for some serious fitness aspirations, then you’ll need to create a realistic training plan to accommodate them. Start off with at least one overarching, measurable, time-bound fitness goal, and plot out a long-term plan to get you there. Want to run 5km in under 30 minutes? Start off with short, slow runs of 2-3kms to build up your stamina, and gradually add some speed into the mix. The 5km is a widely used benchmark which is why we’ve included it here, but setting goals can be especially useful if you’re a digital nomad coming off a fitness hiatus and you’re not quite sure where to start.

Bring One Fitness Item With You

Pack at least one small fitness item which will help you achieve your fitness goals. Personally, I find a skipping rope to be a great addition to my travel carry. Perhaps you have a pair of trainers or favorite training outfit which motivates you to get up and moving around. As much as good fitness habits are built from within, for the digital nomad, having a few travel workout essentials close by can play a huge role in maintaining your training regimen.

Seek Out Active Spaces

Finding safe and affordable active spaces can be one of the biggest struggles for digital nomads looking to get fit – especially when you’re used to certain creature comforts or specific machines. Part of building good fitness habits is seeking out these active spaces, researching on Facebook groups, and asking the locals where the best gyms or parks are. Some cities have very well-developed public stadia and fitness facilities which are free to use, so do some digging ahead of your arrival and find out what’s available.

Blast Calories With Bodyweight Workouts

Bodyweight exercises are a nomad’s best fitness friend. These types of workouts require almost zero fitness equipment and have the potential to blast calories into oblivion. Deceptively simple high-intensity compound exercises target a wide range of muscles to keep you in tip-top shape on your travels. If you’re stuck for ideas, consider downloading an app which provides varied daily time-based workouts – all of which you could probably do from the comfort of your hotel room.

Download A Fitness App To Keep You On Track

Apps are crucial if you’re looking to build and maintain a travel exercise regimen. They make fitness accessible not just to nomads, but to anyone looking to start from scratch when it comes to training. There’s also a degree of accountability when it comes to using fitness apps, as they track your activity and give you real-time feedback on your fitness progress. Some of the best free fitness apps include Strava (for running and cycling), Zero (for intermittent fasting) and Keelo (for full-body workouts).

Building good fitness habits as a digital nomad can seem like an impossible challenge at times, what with the allure of foreign cities and cultures to be explored. Follow these tips, however, and you’ll have a head start on healthy living. Understand, too, that you didn’t choose the digital nomad lifestyle to be subjected to the drudgery of a regular fitness routine, so don’t beat yourself up when progress seems slow. Fitness isn’t an overnight accomplishment but rather the result of sticking to long-term habits, something that we often tend to forget as we strive to stay in beach-ready shape.

Written by Stuart Hendricks