Similar to the infamous “Freshman 15” when you first start college, it is just as easy to lose your active habits and gain some extra pounds when studying abroad.
Think about it – you are moving to a new country for the next few months, your body will be adjusting to different time zones, you might not have the same accessibility to a gym or fitness class that you use while home, and you will be introduced to a new culture with food you must try.
While staying active does not have to be your top priority when you have a once in a lifetime experience ahead of you, it can still play a role in your daily or weekly routine that will make your time abroad even better. Depending on where you study abroad, different facilities and equipment will be available to you. Not everyone wants to pay for a gym membership, so creativity will be needed to find alternative ways to get some exercise. Here are some ideas that helped me.
Run on the Beach
This one is especially relevant if you study abroad somewhere like the Gold Coast because you will be surrounded by beautiful stretches of beach. They not only serve as a place to hang out and relax, but also where you can get a heart-pumping workout in. You can choose how far you want to run while taking in soothing ocean sounds and breathtaking views. I highly suggest running during sunrise and sunset – trust me, it is worth it.
Workout in a Local Park
Parks are everywhere! They may range is size but all offer outdoor workout opportunities. Many people run, bike or walk their dogs at parks. If you’re not a fan of running, there are often stations set up throughout the park that have equipment to do pull-ups, crunches, push-ups and more.
Rent a Bike or Surfboard
There are many shops where you can rent bikes and surfboards along the beaches. For cycling, there are pathways where you can take a coastal ride and stop at various lookout points. As for surfing, ff you are a beginner, lessons are available everywhere. If you are experienced, rent a board and join the locals at some of the well-known surf spots.
Hike the National Parks
The great thing about National Parks in Australia is that they have free entry. As long as you can get to one you will have endless hikes to choose from, most with a rewarding waterfall or swimming hole at the end. Hikes vary in length and difficulty. Be sure to check out Springbrook, Burleigh Head, Lamington and Tamborine National Park for a change from the beach.
If none of the ideas above interest you, try walking everywhere you go. Aside from using public transportation, you will do a lot of walking daily around campus and on the beach. Your Apple iPhone step count is bound to show at least a couple thousand steps per day, maybe even more.