Students attempt exercising overseas
It’s summer and you’re going on vacation. You have a top-ten-list of things to do and chances are, working out isn’t one of them. But what if you need, or even want to work out on vacation? You do have to return to real life, eventually.
For athletes like junior Kaitlin, a week long beach vacation on the Caribbean island of St. Barthélemy (St. Barts) didn’t mean a week away from working out. As a competitive swimmer, Kaitlin constantly has to stay active—getting back in the pool after a week without training is no fun. Although she doesn’t speak any French, she said “[immersing] myself in a French-based culture was really different,” and she did not intend to miss out on the fun.
So, every morning Kaitlin would wake up early to run. She’d run on the road over to the track at a nearby elementary school and then finish up her run along the beach. “The beach was definitely the hardest part,” admits Kaitlin.
For Kaitlin, fitting in a daily workout wasn’t too difficult. Everyone in her family went on a run when they woke up and met up afterwards for breakfast. Though she struggled with the humidity and terrain of beach runs, she enjoyed the change of scenery. She also had plenty of time to participate in other activities, like surfing.
Kaitlin isn’t keen on swimming laps in the ocean and suggests running as a really great way to stay in shape for any sport. The best way to stay fit is by doing a workout that you find enjoyable. Running every morning keep Kaitlin fit, “it really paid off,” she said.
Road tripping to Iowa this summer made sophomore Sarah an expert on working out on the fly. While vacationing, Sarah said she would “pick up a few cheap fitness magazines and try some of the workouts in them using the fitness centers.”
Alternatively, working out in new places can be just another aspect of touring. A leisurely stroll or intensive run is not only good exercise but, as Sarah points out, “a great way to see the place you are visiting or get ideas about where to go for the rest of the day.”
Be warned, you may turn into the spectacle yourself. After a few too many incredulous looks (What is that girl doing? Running?), during her month-long stay in Italy, senior Megan switched to a month-long membership at a local gym.
Upon starting a new five-day-a-week workout routine at a beautiful European-style gym, Megan quickly learned how different Italian gyms are from their American counterparts. Initially, Megan got the same weird looks, but “figured it was just because I was a young girl amongst guys in their 20s and 30s.”
But she soon discovered that it was her apparel and the way she worked out. The Italian women went to the gym dolled up, never broke a sweat and wore what Megan calls “from-street-to-the-gym outfits and makeup.”
They wore cute tanks, she wore big t-shirts. They wore black leggings, she wore Nike shorts. They wore fashionable sports shoes, she wore actual running shoes. Oh, the “You Belong with Me-ness” of it! Megan sums up the experience as “just embarrassing, as if I’d worn jeans to winter formal.”
Working out on vacation doesn’t have to be a daily dose of the reality left behind, but a cultural experience unto itself.