Moving abroad brings with it adventure as well as challenges, but it doesn’t take long when settling into your new life to realize that your day-to-day life may not look that much different than it did at home. Expat life is not a long-term vacation – it is life and can be just as mundane as life where you came from. You’ll still wake up, have your coffee, get the kids to school (if you have them), make dinner, and establish a routine to stay fit as global nomad.
Many expats make the mistake of being in vacation mode when they first arrive in their host country, especially when it comes to their eating and fitness habits. We can’t blame them – there are often so many delicious local foods to try.
Ways to Stay Fit as Global Nomad
Here are 8 ways global nomads and expatriates can stay fit when living overseas.
Do as the locals do
Part of fully immersing yourself in the host culture where you have landed involves doing what the locals are doing. Sticking yourself in your home and trying to recreate a familiar life won’t give you the experience you’re looking for. Moving abroad is a great time to adjust your fitness routine to learn new ways of life. Maybe the weather where you have landed is unfamiliar to you and prevents you from exercising. What are the locals do? If it’s too cold to continue your running habit, see if the locals enjoy skiing or snowshoeing. If the heat is ruining the joy of your long evening walks, ask the locals what they do.
Adopting the locals’ fitness habits can give you a deeper experience in the culture than you might have had otherwise. Why not join a yoga class in India or a hiking group in the Alps? Find out how your new friends and neighbors stay fit, and try some of the same things to stay fit as global nomad.
In most areas, you can find group fitness opportunities that will let you stay in shape while making local friends. Solo expats need to check social media expat groups in your area for opportunities to join with others in outdoor fitness, running, yoga, and more.
Take the opportunity to explore
Exploring your new home is a fun activity that can get you closer to meeting your fitness goals. Many cities offer multiple walking tours as well as bike tours that will help you see all your new home has to offer, learn its history, and stay in great shape. After you go on a few of these tours, you’ll be able to take your friends and family on their own tour when they visit!
Pace your treats
Any culture in which you land will have a plethora of tasty treats waiting for you. Any area in the world will have healthy options as well as unhealthy options – and both are likely to be delicious. If the locals in your area are fit, follow their lead on how often you indulge in sweet or fatty treats. For example, France is known for its rich, delectable foods, and any observer can see very fit locals indulging in treats.
However, the locals tend to eat a diet of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins and balance delicious treats sparingly. If you’re curious as to how the locals can stay fit while navigating rich foods, ask some fit locals what their eating habits are like. Certainly, you want to try everything your host country has to offer, but you don’t have to try it all at once! The great thing about being an expat is that you have a long time to experience all the wonderful things you find.
You’re not on vacation
This is one of the most important principles to remember when staying fit as an expat. A two-week vacation to a foreign country is certainly an opportunity to skip the gym, splurge on rich treats, and drink local drinks. However, living like this long term will wreck your fitness goals. The wonderful thing about living abroad is the opportunity to live your day-to-day life in a foreign context. This means that you have to engage the same discipline you need to achieve your goals back home.
Hire a coach
If you try all you know and find your fitness goals are still beyond your reach, consider hiring a coach. If you can find a local trainer or nutrition coach, you’ll get to know your area better and get to know some nearby health amenities or local food options you may not have been aware of. Try asking fellow global nomads or social media groups to recommend a coach they have worked with. If you can’t find a local coach, there are many professionals who can work with you virtually over the internet. Hiring a coach provides you with expert help as well as regular accountability for reaching your fitness goals.
Get into a routine
One of the best things you can do for your mental health when moving abroad is to get into a regular routine. Having a set time at which you wake up, take your meals, engage in leisure activity, and exercise has a positive affect on your mood as well as your feeling of stability after a big transition. Some people prefer to exercise first thing in the morning, while others find it refreshing in the evening – the time of day doesn’t matter as much as consistency, so get into a routine as soon as possible.
Buy a global medical plan with preventative health coverage
Remember to also think about how preventative checkups can assist you in your goal as a global citizen to stay fit while living abroad. One key component is to make sure you purchase high-quality global health insurance that includes some preventative health coverage for you and your family. A doctor can be your coach in providing tests and steps to improve your health abroad, especially in regions where local medical care is lacking. We offer lots of different global health insurance plans for global nomads.
Final thoughts for staying fit while living abroad
It won’t take long in your new life abroad for you to start feeling that this new place is home. The more you settle in and get yourself into a regular routine, the more quickly you will start to feel you are making progress in adjusting to your new home. When you make sure to focus on your physical health and stay fit as global nomad, you set yourself up for many more years of healthy adventure in your expat experience.