I’m a bit of a health and wellness junkie and staying fit and in shape is something I prioritise. So this was non-negotiable for me when I started living a nomadic lifestyle. I wanted to ensure that I could stay fit and healthy as a digital nomad. But, I also want to enjoy my time travelling and eating and drinking is a big part of that too!
I don’t claim to be a health expert, but if one of your goals is to keep your body and mind healthy, then I hope the below can help! This is based on my own experience (as a relative newbie) as well as speaking to others who have been on the road longer than me.
Exercise to keep you fit and healthy as a digital nomad
Walk and Run – When you don’t have access to a gym or to exercise equipment, it can be easy to fall out of the routine of working out. But walking and running can be done anywhere, you only need a pair of trainers. Choosing to walk rather than take public transport is a great way to achieve marginal gains with your fitness. It’s also a great way to get to know an area. As for running, even if you don’t usually run at home, it could be something fun to take up whilst you travel. Try an app like Couch to 5k or look up local running routes on Strava. If you want to add in a social factor to your exercise, why not see if Park Run is available in your city and join that for free or look up running clubs wherever you are currently based.
Access free YouTube or Instagram workout content – if you need a workout to follow or an instructor to push you a bit, try following one of the many workouts available on YouTube or Instagram. My favourites are YouTuber Growingannans or Womens Health Mag on Insta, which even has live streams you can workout with. Theres loads out there for everyone, whether you’re looking for Yoga, HIIT or strength training.
Take some basic exercise equipment – Pack a lightweight travel mat and set of exercise bands. I have this compact yoga mat from Amazon and a set of these resistance bands. If you really can’t pack or carry any equipment, you can always use a towel as a mat or tins or bottles as hand weights! Yoga can be a really great way to stay fit on the road too – read our piece here on why this is a great activity for digital nomads.
Diet for wellness as a digital nomad
Cook and plan if you can – if you have access to a kitchen, then it’s a great idea to cook at home sometimes. Plan nutritious lunches to tide you over when you work and to avoid snacking. I like to batch cook a few things so I have leftovers for lunch. A spicy rice, risotto or salad with pulses work well for me.
Monitor your fruit and veg intake – we all know the 5 a day rule! It can be tricky to keep to this on the road. If I notice that my fruit and veg intake is low, then I try to bolster it with healthy snacks – handy snacks on the road could be bananas, peaches, tomatoes, or avocados.
Try the 5 2 method – this might not suit everyone, but I’ve become a convert to the 5 2 method in the last year. Eat whatever you want for 5 days and fast for 2. I find this is a really adaptable diet when you’re travelling. Admittedly it can be tricky if you’re in a new place and dont want to miss out on the local cuisine. But generally it fits in well with my schedule and also encourages a couple of days without alcohol.
Physical Health for digital nomads
Make time for Doctors, Eye, Dental and Smear Test check ups – its easy to forget this when you’re nomadic. Set reminders in your calendars and make time for this. If you’re able to stay registered in a home country, then do it.
Sleep routine – with changing time zones and moving around, this can be tricky. Personally I know that my health benefits from a regular sleep routine. Going to bed and waking up at roughly the same time every day.
Take time away from alcohol – perhaps two days a week as a minimum target. You probably wouldn’t drink every day if you were in one place, so dont do it on the road. Being nomadic is a marathon not a sprint.
Mental Health for digital nomads
Check in with yourself – if you have a journaling practise, then try to keep that up. Otherwise, take a little time to check in with yourself regularly. Have you got everything you need? What would nourish you more? Is there anything that’s draining you? This could be a big step towards staying fit and healthy as a digital nomad.
Make time to stay in touch with friends and family at home – it can be quite isolating to be on the road. Especially if you’re on a different time zone to friends and everyone is busy with work and other commitments. But try to stay in touch, maybe schedule a phone call in advance. I’ve heard that facetime provides almost as much social satisfaction as an in person meeting, whereas a WhatsApp or quick message is nowhere near!
Find community wherever you are – try going to events either for fellow nomads or locals. Yoga classes can be good. Or special meet up nights. I like to find local cultural events (music, theatre or food and drink) wherever I am. You could also try to find like minded people in your area online. But the best tip I’ve been given is to remember that the nomadic community will come and go. Enjoy it where you have it, but stick to your guns and if it’s time for you to move on, then do it!
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