If you stop and think about it, there are lots of instances when travel gives you a workout — whether or not you’re ready for it.
Consider this a friendly reminder to stay in shape — or to try and avoid some of these situations altogether! (The post-workout fatigue is real.)
Travel gives you a cardio workout when…
You’re late for boarding
Maybe you woke up late. Or maybe, you took your time grabbing a bite before heading to your departure area. If you’re on the least lucky end of the spectrum, perhaps nature called just a few minutes before boarding. (What are the chances?!)
In any case, it’s happening: Your name is being called. You only have a few minutes left before the plane leaves you behind — and you aren’t going to let that happen. The moment you hear your name in the overhead announcement, you sprint like your life depends on it! (Usain who?) The adrenaline rush is, thankfully, enough to get you there — even though you haven’t gotten any cardio in the longest time!
There’s no elevator at your accommodation
You excitedly booked that Airbnb with a super-cool aesthetic. But here’s the catch: It’s a fifth-floor apartment in a preserved old building. Take a deep breath, maybe take a few big gulps of water — you’ll be going up and down this stairwell for the entire duration of your stay, so you might as well get some practice. (You might even want to rethink all those happy hour cocktails you were so excited to have.)
Want a little extra challenge? Add a heavy suitcase to the mix, and you’ve got an even more intense workout!
Travel works out your back and shoulders when…
You’re stowing your carry-on in the plane’s overhead bin
Seasoned single carry-on travellers, you’ve probably perfected this skill by now! You may have escaped paying for extra baggage fees, but what you didn’t manage to elude was the struggle to stow your bag in the overhead bin.
You mentally prepare yourself to lift your luggage over your head as quickly as possible — there’s just too much pressure when so many people are waiting behind you! (Sometimes, asking for help is just too much trouble. #introvertproblems)
Travel tests your core strength when…
You squeeze yourself into a train that’s at full capacity
Full capacity? You don’t care! You have to get from point A to point B — no matter what it takes! (If there’s one thing Philippine public transportation has taught you, it’s that you can fit yourself into just about any available space.)
No more seats or handrails left? This is when travel gives you the core workout you weren’t expecting! You keep your feet firmly planted to the ground, engage your core, and fight to stay put. You want to stay as still as possible — that you might have to grab onto or bump into any strangers is something you dread!
Travel gives you a tricep workout when…
You’re fighting your way through crowded tourist areas
When passing through a crowded place, you just can’t handle it — you want to get out of there as fast as possible. This is when your best elbowing skills are put to the test. Left, right, left, right. By the time you finally make your way out of the crowd, your arms are exhausted! But hey, the struggle was worth it, wasn’t it? Finally, fresh air!
Travel forces you to work out your legs and glutes when….
Squat toilets are your only option
So, how low can you go? Squat toilets are many a traveller’s worst nightmare. But sometimes, whether you like it or not, you don’t have any other choice! While heading to the squatting pan, you scold yourself for not being able to hold it (and for eating and drinking a little too much). You bend your knees, and squat as low as you can — but not so low that your bottom is touching the surface.
If you’re visiting Asian countries like Japan or Taiwan, this one’s a workout you’ll want to master. The goal? To relieve yourself, while avoiding splash back at all costs!
Also read: A Traveller’s Guide to Conquering an Asian Squat Toilets
You bend down to get the perfect photo
Your travel buddy wants an Instagram-worthy shot, and you’re hell-bent on delivering perfect results! Not only should your buddy look good — the scenery has to be well-represented, too!
So, what do you do? You bend down as low as you can go. It’s the ideal way to get the subject’s best angle, without having to sacrifice the backdrop! Your muscles might burn after several takes, but the photos are certainly worth it!
You’re grabbing your suitcase from the baggage carousel
Maybe you overpacked, or perhaps you went a little too crazy with the shopping. Whatever the situation, you know how heavy your luggage is — and you’re dreading that trip to baggage claim. But you know what they say: Never skip leg day!
Much like doing deadlifts at the gym, you reach down with a flat back (you don’t want to pull any back muscles!), and lift that heavy suitcase! Bring it down to the ground, and voila. The worst is over — until the next trip!
Also read: Travelling Runner: All You Need to Know About Running Tours
Sometimes, travel gives you a workout — and you don’t even realise it until the fatigue hits! Next time, maybe you’ll make time for a little more exercise before going on your trip!