Digital Nomad 101: How Do You Stay in Shape While Traveling?

Stay In Shape While Traveling - Featured Image

Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, the experience takes a toll on you physically. I know after my last 9-hour plane trip, it took me two full days to recover. After that incident, I realized how important it was to pay more attention to my health on my travels.

So, I checked with full-time travelers through their blogs and websites to find the answer to the question, “How do you stay in shape while traveling?

How Do You Stay in Shape While Traveling?

While the exact amount varied from traveler to traveler, these were the top 4 things you can do to stay in shape while traveling.

  • Stay hydrated
  • Get enough sleep
  • Eat right
  • Exercise

Stay Hydrated

Getting enough clean water every day may seem like such a basic thing, but I assure you, staying hydrated is extremely important while traveling. Air travel especially sucks the juices right out of you. The changes in cabin pressurization can cause you to become dehydrated.

Inadequate water consumption can make you feel fatigued, less alert, and moody. Not getting enough water can damage your kidneys, lead to constipation, dry out your skin, and provoke headaches. These are issues you certainly don’t want to have to deal with when traveling.

The amount of liquids you need to stay alert and healthy is probably more than you think. The Mayo Clinic suggests:

  • About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men
  • About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women

That amount increases if you’ve been in a dry zone, like the airplane cabin, or done some strenuous activity, such as hiking in the Andes.

Get Enough Sleep

Odds are you’ve experienced a bad case of jet lag at least once. Travel disrupts your body’s circadian rhythm, preventing you from getting the rest that you need. Jet lag results in fatigue, gastrointestinal issues, and difficulty with concentration.

If you have an extended flight, wear a sleep mask to reduce your bright light exposure and let your body know that it is ok to sleep. Once you arrive at your destination, get out, and enjoy some activities in the sunshine to assist your body in making the adjustment to the new time zone. Exercise is another way to reset your circadian rhythm.

Eat Right

While it may be easy to grab something quick to eat at the airport between flights, it might not be in your best interest healthwise to do that regularly. Studies have shown that a healthy diet, coupled with regular physical activity, will prevent all sorts of health problems ranging from IBS to cardiovascular disease.

Eating well doesn’t mean you need to miss out on the culinary delights of the place you are visiting. Instead, you should be mindful of your food choices.


As we’ve seen, exercise will not only help you reset your circadian rhythm but will also help you stay in shape while traveling. Let’s look at some things you can do in your hotel or out and about town to maintain your youthful figure.

Activities at the Airport

You might get enough heart-pounding exhilaration rushing to the gate so as not to miss your plane. Then again, your flight could be delayed several hours due to adverse weather conditions. Instead of parking your butt by the phone charger, get up and move.

Activities you can do at the airport include:

  • Walking the concourse
  • Use your water bottles as dumbells
  • Hauling your luggage hither and yon
  • Hoof it up and down the stairs
  • Lunges and wall pushups

Activities in the Hotel

Instead of laying down and watching a movie after your arrival, take some time to do some moderately active exercise. Pack some elastic bands or a jumping rope for even more options.

You could:

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Do some yoga stretching in your room
  • Swim a few laps in the hotel pool
  • Take advantage of the hotel gym facilities
  • Do a set of lunges and squats and planks
  • Tai Chi

Activities Around Town

The tourism industry has capitalized on health and fitness these days when putting together their marketing packages. Adventure or sports tourism is one of the fastest-growing tourism sectors.

There is no end to the activities you can incorporate into your schedule to stay in shape while traveling once you’ve arrived at your destination. Your chosen activity doesn’t have to be as intensive as the running of the bulls in Spain to be good for you.

Do your research and look for opportunities to enjoy a bit of physical tourism. Invest in a Fitbit or download a tracking app to your phone and watch the miles add up.

Some activities that you can do include:

  • Tango lessons in Uruguay
  • Muay Boran training in Thailand
  • Hiking tours in the Black Forest in Germany
  • Walking tours in New Orleans
  • Cycling the Boardwalk in Atlantic City
  • Swimming with the dolphins in Cancun
  • Backpacking in Patagonia
  • Rafting the Quebec
  • Skiing in Colorado
  • Horseback riding in Tuscany
  • Surfing in Tasmania
  • Capoeira training in Brazil
  • Play beach volleyball in Acapulco

Final Thoughts

Keeping in shape is the most important thing you can do for yourself. Staying active can prevent a whole host of chronic diseases and health problems. Traveling, coupled with remote work, often means long periods of sitting. A sedentary lifestyle is not conducive to staying in shape. If you reduce your sitting time to less than three hours a day, you can add two years to your life expectancy.

Experts recommend at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity activities each week. There’s nothing written that says these must be done in the gym and the gym alone.

Incorporate enjoyable physical activities regularly even when you are away from home and reap the physical and mental rewards of being in shape.

Do you have other exercise tips for the digital nomad? Tell us, how do you stay in shape while traveling?

Posted 5 years ago on 28 October 2019

About Parker

Parker Benjamin is the owner of DMAD and has been writing for the web for over 10 years. He is passionate about design, Wordpress, travel, language learning, fine dining, and online marketing. Note: Some links on this site are monetized by affiliate programs - see disclosure for more details.

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