Staying fit keeps you healthy and happy, but how can you maintain a healthy lifestyle and stay in shape while travelling? It may come as a surprise to some, but no – you do not need a fully-equipped gym to complete a brow-drenching workout or get fit.
The key is to be active every day. Thankfully, New South Wales has a myriad of opportunities to inspire you. Create a “to-do list” of activities and exercises to keep track of your progress and adventures in a diary. The following is a list of ideas, exercise motivation and travel fitness tips to get you started.
Remember, be prepared and stay safe. Keep an eye on the weather, dress appropriately and take plenty of food, water and sunblock, especially when venturing further afield into unfamiliar – and exciting – territory.
Hike in the National Parks
Did you know that there are more than 850 protected areas across NSW? Exploring the great outdoors on foot is an excellent way to keep fit. Choose from a wide variety of tracks through forest, up mountains or along the coast, from short loops to day trips or multi-day treks for more experienced hikers. Many of these are renowned for their unique and rare wildlife, such as Nightcap National Park. For visitors travelling through Sydney, Royal National Park and Lane Cove National Park are two handy possibilities.
If you have a penchant for hiking up mountains, Mt Kosciuszko is Australia’s tallest mountain at 2208 metres, located in the Snowy Mountains. The summit walk is guaranteed to blow any cobwebs away with breath-taking views to provide that extra boost of motivation. A chairlift provides a second route, taking hikers from Thredbo to the start of the 13 km Kosciuszko walk. The Blue Mountains have a vast network of walks that cater for all abilities and time frames. The list also includes some lesser-known mountains such as Gulaga located in the ecologically and culturally significant Gulaga National Park and the challenging 6km summit walk of the Mount Imlay National Park, so get ready to lace on those boots!
Get out on the water
When travelling for business, it can be especially difficult to find the right balance between work and play. For a refreshing change, head for the water. NSW is home to a vast network of rivers, lakes and over 2,000 km of spectacular coastline, offering many opportunities to work those muscles while having some fun!
For the shoulder muscles: hire a kayak at the historic Audley Boatshed in Royal National Park and kayak down the Hacking River to Port Hacking. For the core: try stand-up paddle-boarding in Manly. Other opportunities include canoeing, outrigger canoeing, dragon boating, rafting, surfing, kite surfing, sail boarding and sailing.
Get up into the trees
Travelling is the perfect opportunity to try something different and who knows? You may even discover some muscles you didn’t know you had!
Wild Ropes at Taronga Zoo is one such experience that will get the heart pumping. You can spot kangaroos, koalas, the Sydney Opera House and other Aussie icons throughout this action-packed high rope course.
Alternatively, drive 1.5 hours south of Sydney to experience Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures. This 1.5 km return tree top walk meanders a staggering 50 metres above the forest floor and is complete with Australia’s highest zipline.
Create your own daily exercise routine
It is not always possible to set aside entire days for physical activity. Thankfully, there is a range of exercises that require minimal space and no gym equipment. Consider squats, burpees, push-ups, sit-ups and lunges and all the variations thereof. Yoga is a fantastic addition to any travel exercise routine, with many poses that build strength and flexibility. Sydney, in particular, has an extensive network of outdoor gyms and fitness trails if you really are suffering from gym withdrawal symptoms.
Staying in shape means getting plenty of exercise, but do not forget the importance of eating plenty of fruit and vegetables as part of a healthy lifestyle. When travelling, it can be easy to slip into bad habits, as you may not have access the same cooking facilities or the stash of basic ingredients to prepare your own meals. It can be tempting to eat out all the time and to taste-test those specialty chocolate shops! Therefore, plan your meals to avoid the temptation to pick up a quick feed on the way. When you do go to a restaurant or café, choose your meal carefully (not the double whacker smacker combo).
This final tip goes hand in hand with the other activities on this list. Consider packing a tasty and healthy picnic to enjoy the National Park of your choice. Take plenty of healthy snacks to keep those energy levels up. Dried fruit, nuts, protein bars, hard-boiled eggs, apples and carrots all travel reasonably well and can be picked up at the supermarket when you first arrive. So what are you waiting for? Pack up and get active!
Sofia Lockett is a freelance writer from New Zealand, who is also a passionate traveller and photographer. Sofia often focuses her pieces on tourism and art, having written for contemporary art sites such as Ocula.