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The best (and, sometimes worst) thing about travelling is throwing your routine out the window. If you’re stuck in a rut, deviating from the norm can inspire creativity, but the same disruption to your health and fitness routine is like hitting rewind to a very frustrating square one.
Fortunately, we’ve worked out a way to stay fit and healthy while eating all the local foods, seeing all the local things and having a ripper of a time – whether your travels last for a week or a year.
# 1 Get your head in the game
When travelling, getting into a healthy frame of mind should be your first order of business. Being healthy while travelling isn’t about being so rigid that you miss out on those once-in-a-lifetime experiences – no-one wants to do five HIIT workouts a week while eating clean in the Peruvian Amazon. Holidays are all about giving yourself a break without letting yourself off the hook. Nobody’s perfect, so just do your best (wherever in the world you are).
#2 Take a hike
This is the number one way to see a country while doing exercise that doesn’t feel like exercise, and you can do it anywhere in the world. Seeing Macchu Picchu after trekking for five days through Peruvian cloud forest and jungle high in the Andes is beyond rewarding. You get to follow in the footsteps of an ancient civilisation, walking the paths the Incas walked. At the summit, you’re treated to the spectacular majesty of Macchu Picchu sweeping out before you. It’s the stuff of goosebumps, and completely unforgettable.
Not into hiking? There’s plenty of other activity on offer: try kayaking on Lake Titicaca, cycling through the Sacred Valley near Cusco, or horseback riding near Ollantaytambo. You can even go white water rafting – it’s not really a stretch to have some active fun in a country like Peru, and every country in the world will have its own bounty of activities to sink your teeth into. Get Googling.
#3 Eat well and eat local
On holiday, there’s no shame in hitting up the breakfast buffet for seconds. But there is a way to avoid a total blowout while stuffing your face full of dulce de leche.
Try subscribing to the “one-and-done” rule, where you don’t have more than one naughty meal in a row (or per day if you’re really good). This way, you still get to indulge every single day but with blowout-preventing boundaries in place.
We all know processed foods usually have lower nutritional value than whole foods – and that doesn’t change while you’re travelling. The good news is when you’re somewhere like Peru, “real food” means enjoying things like fresh seafood (hello ceviche!), pollo a la brasa (roasted spiced chicken) and arroz con pato (rice with roasted duck). These local dishes aren’t processed and the ingredients aren’t from a packet, they’re harvested or caught. Farmers and local markets are a fun way to find whole, fresh and unprocessed national dishes.
Eating local is great for two reasons: you’re supporting local businesses, and local food has a higher nutritional value (because it’s picked closer to being ripe as it doesn’t have to travel as far). Eating local also means you can tap into native foods on home soil.
Peru is your Mecca if you love superfoods. Sacha inchi, maca, lucuma, camu camu, cacao, purple corn, quinoa and amaranth grow from the nutrient-rich soil of the Amazon and Andes regions and are full of health-enhancing goodness. Discover what local foods are praised for their health benefits in the places you visit and take full advantage.
#4 Look after your body
This is the part where we tell you that taking it easy is good for you.
Nothing is better for aching muscles than natural hot springs or thermal baths – the water is mineral-rich (magnesium helps re-energise your muscles) and they always seem to be in beautiful locations, so are an attraction in their own right.
For Inca Trail trekkers, there are hot springs in Lares and Aguas Calientes (which literally means “hot waters”) and also more at Santa Teresa in Cocalmayo. Hot springs provide the perfect post-exercise soak, and you’d be surprised how many there are around the world.
We’re also giving you a prescription to get massages. Massages increase circulation and relax muscles, releasing any stored-up tension. Holidaying is so hard, you guys. You deserve it.
#5 Do basic strength training once a week
A strength workout once a week will keep you firing on all cylinders. The best part is that you don’t need equipment or a gym – your body is all the weight you need, and your hostel room or a local park will do nicely. Do strength exercises like squats, burpees, push-ups and chin-ups two times a week and you’ll be ready for anything – from Amazon expeditions to trekking at high altitude to seeing one of the Seven Wonders of the World. You’ll even look great for your selfie with a llama.
Raring to go on your next adventure? Check out G Adventures’ award-winning treks on the Inca Trail, which are sure to keep your fitness levels up. Plus, they also offer a variety of must-do tours through the Andes, the northern beaches and Lake Titicaca. While on tour, you can eat the best local produce with the help of your knowledgeable G Adventures tour guide. Book now!