Living the digital nomad lifestyle can be incredibly rewarding, as seeing the world as you work opens up new opportunities and experiences. Unfortunately, staying in shape is more challenging when you’re not “home.” Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to help! Recently, digital nomads met in an online discussion and revealed many ways to help stay in shape while embracing this unique lifestyle.
1. Prioritize Your Fitness
Above all, even the most experienced nomad will get out of shape if they don’t prioritize their fitness. Do whatever you can to put fitness on a pedestal! “Whenever any of my workaholic friends say they’re so busy working and don’t know how I have time for a gym, I tell them I put it in my calendar as a non-negotiable thing,” confesses one experienced traveler. “I don’t care what meeting, client, or whatever is crying for my attendance. I take care of my health first, because the boss never will.”
2. Stay Somewhere Close to a Gym
When I lived in Croatia for a month in 2022, I prioritized my fitness, but that was merely step one. I booked an Airbnb that was a 20-minute walk to the nearest gym and made visiting part of my morning routine. I paid less than $30 for the month for gym access. As a result, it not only eased the transition into a digital nomad lifestyle, but I could keep my familiar and comfortable fitness routine while overseas.
3. Be Mindful of What You Eat
Sometimes, staying fit is less about working out constantly and more about eating healthy. It can be challenging to eat healthy overseas, but it’s not impossible. “Eat less and move more,” explains one man. “It helps to not consume calories as a beverage. If you are an American, most food outside the U.S. is less inflammatory, and many Americans find they lose weight without eating less once they leave the United States.”
4. Take Advantage of Beaches
Beaches are an underrated venue for your fitness goals. Walking, running, or doing bodyweight workouts on the beach is an excellent way to stay in shape while living as a digital nomad. I was surprised by how many Americans I witnessed in Croatia working out on the beach; it led to making many unexpected friendships during my stay!
5. Learn To Do a Pushup Anywhere
I distinctly remember staying in a small monthlong Airbnb in a tiny fisherman’s village in Sicily and wondering how I would keep in shape. My solution was straightforward: I learned to do a pushup anywhere! The stairs outside my Airbnb, the bedroom floor, and the kitchen chairs became the perfect places to do pushups. I had to be creative, but in the end, my body thanked me for it!
6. Go On Daily Walks
If you’re staying overseas, you’ll most likely live in a highly pedestrian-friendly part of the world, so take advantage of it. Walk everywhere! Daily walks (or simply walking instead of driving or taking other forms of transportation) have two tangible benefits: You’ll see (and appreciate) more of the town you’re living in, and you’ll find it far easier to stay in shape.
7. Drink More Water
Sometimes, the best advice to stay in shape is the most obvious: “Drink water regularly,” advises one nomad. “Don’t mistake thirst for hunger, as that will ensure you deviate from your fitness routine.” A word of caution, however: Much of Europe’s tap water isn’t safe to drink, so be prepared to pay for many bottles of water.
8. Ignore Elevators
Elevators become your biggest nemesis if you’re living the digital nomad life and prioritizing your health. Always take the stairs; never indulge in that fancy metal box that spares you a few seconds of walking. By being aware of ensuring you prioritize your health with (literally) every step, you’ll find yourself not missing elevators in short order.
9. Bring Exercise Bands With You
It’s always beneficial to be prepared. Bring exercise bands with you and enjoy the benefits of being able to do resistance training wherever you are at any time. “I take exercise bands with me everywhere in the world,” reveals one woman. “I have for about four years. I only bring the toughest ones so it’s not too bulky, and I bring the door attachment. I can do every exercise. They’re so lightweight and convenient. I love it.”
10. Book Excursions That Push You Physically
If you book excursions or other adventures to pass the time while working as a digital nomad, focus on activities that will be strenuous and beneficial to your health. Prioritize hikes and things of that nature; anything that gets your body moving can act like a workout if it’s physically demanding.
11. Book Hotels With Gyms
Although guests rarely take advantage of them (many travelers estimate less than 1% of hotel guests use the gym), gym hotels are one of the best ways to stay in shape. Although they’re often minimalistic, they’re better than not working out. I’ve gotten lucky and have stayed at hotels in Europe with state-of-the-art gyms, and because of these places, maintaining my fitness levels was easier than expected.
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