A health and fitness boost on your year abroad

A health and fitness boost on your year abroad by D. Sharon Pruitt

This article was written by Global Graduates, published on 27th February 2012 and has been read 3833 times.

From slightly altering your lifestyle, to running a gruelling 26.2 miles, here is our guide (with thanks to a few of our members) to getting a health and fitness boost before, during and after your year abroad.
Beginning with just a few little tweaks and culminating in long-distance running events, these are our top tips:

1. Get up early.

If you get up slightly earlier in the morning then you can have a proper breakfast (get your metabolism going!) and have time to walk to work/uni so you won’t need to take the bus! Because you really should...

2. Walk more.
As well as getting great exercise without realising it, walking in the morning will wake you up properly so you can face concentrating in a foreign language. Bex Nobes, on her year abroad in Granada, pointed out that walking everywhere will also help you to get to know your new town/city really well. Alternatively you could...

3. Get a bicycle.
You’ll be amazed how much more you can fit into your day if you have a bicycle. Extra courses and classes in the evenings, lunch dates across town and picnics out of town at weekends, and of course that means you're being more active! That definitely ticks the fit and healthy box, and is a wonderful replacement for the gym!

4. Eat your 5-a-day.
Lauren Platts pointed out that year abroad students should make the most of the amazing selections of fresh fruit and vegetables available in warmer climates. Sophie Bicheno added that shopping at the local market instead of the supermarket gives you more opportunity to practice the language and it's a lot cheaper!

5. Join in.
Find a local team that plays your favourite sport and get as involved as you can. Rachel Daw played badminton for Hannover 96 in Germany!

6. Sleep!
You know this one, so I’m sorry for nagging but as my mother always says “an hour before midnight is worth two afterwards!” It’s better to go to bed early and get up early than go to bed late and get up late. Obvious, but it will make a HUGE difference to your lifestyle if you feel awake and energetic all through the day.

7. Take a class.
Wherever you are, you'll find tennis coaching, salsa classes, yoga lessons... not only can you develop your vocabulary in ways in which will actually help and interest you, but you'll meet likeminded people and keep fit at the same time!

8. Cook healthily.
Although it's easy to get takeaways, warm things up in the microwave or get ready made pies from the supermarket, you need to learn to cook! Being abroad is the perfect time - you can borrow recipes from your new flatmates, buy a local recipe book, watch YouTube guides to preparing your favourite food or take a local cooking class! These are all great ways to pick up some key vocabulary and improve your language skills. Don't forget that if you've made it at home, even pizza is good for you! Fresh is best.

9. Have a short-term goal.
Either reward yourself with something delicious, or aim to do something fun and/or charitable with your new level of fitness. Why not team with a friend or two and enter one of the ten best fancy dress fun runs, cycles or walks when you're back in the UK?! You could wear a Sumo suit or gorilla costume and raise a lot of money for a worthy cause in the processs.

10. Have a long-term goal.
If you've started to take your running really seriously, it might be time to give yourself a real challenge. Here are the top 10 marathons and half marathons worldwide if you're feeling really energetic!

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