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Top 5 Ways to Stay Fit and Healthy Abroad

Written by Ross Mason

Staying fit and healthy while studying abroad can be difficult, especially if you’re staying in a country renowned for its cuisine, such as Italy or France. With all the hustle and bustle of studying abroad, exercising may not be your top priority. However, working out while studying abroad has many benefits, and not just for your health; it’s also a great way to meet people, explore your new home, and according to the Mayo Clinic, provide an emotional outlet, as exercise will relieve stress and improve your mood. Here are some tips on how to stay fit, happy, and healthy during your time abroad.

  1. Run
    Running is a great way to get to know a new area. Upon your arrival in your host country, stop by the office of tourism and ask if there are any local parks where it’s safe to run, or if there are any running groups you can join. Make sure to double check areas to avoid, and always run with a friend.
  2. Walk when you can
    Walking at 2.5 mph for an hour burns about 200 calories, and you will have plenty of chances to walk while you are abroad: take them! Wouldn’t you rather take advantage of a beautiful day in a foreign city by being outside, rather than taking the subway? You might also try biking if walking or running isn’t an option; it’s a great workout and many cities are more conducive to biking than running.
  3. Work out when you can
    One of the biggest difficulties you will run into is finding the time to work out. What with going out and taking full advantage of the time you have abroad, it can be easy to let working out fall by the wayside. Try to make exercise part of your daily, or at least weekly, routine, and stick to it. You may find that you have to get up early in order to fit it in. Even if you’ve only got 30 minutes of free time, use those 30 minutes for a quick workout, rather than catching up on American TV shows.
  4. Join a club or team
    Joining a club or team is not only a good way to get exercise, but also a great way to meet people with similar interests and to make new friends. Sports and teamwork are great ways to break down the language barrier in a new country.
  5. Cook for yourself
    One of the hardest things about staying fit in a foreign country is the food. You may feel obligated to try everything while you have the chance; remember that you will be in your host country for quite a while; you will have plenty of opportunities to try everything. There’s no need to try to fit everything into your first few weeks. You’ll also want to cook for yourself; eating out often is expensive and sometimes unhealthy. But cooking for yourself doesn’t mean missing out on the local cuisine! Try looking for local farmers markets and immersing yourself in the cuisine of your host country. Healthier options like fruits and veggies are often cheaper than things like pain au chocolat, focaccia, crêpes and kebabs, so you’ll end up saving money as well as staying healthy.

The most important thing to remember while studying abroad is to have fun. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and you’ll want to make the very most of it. Take full advantage of all the opportunities presented to you.

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