How to Stay Fit While Volunteering Abroad

Traveling to a destination abroad is enough already to pull you out from your comfort zone till the time you are out there on the road. And if that trip is for the purpose of attending a volunteer project, your daily routine certainly goes for a toss. Most of the volunteering projects are located in the remote areas and villages where living conditions, even for a volunteer, can be a bit of an adjustment.

Whilst all the hard work and tight schedule, one certainly miss out on their daily fitness regime and fall prey to untimely eating, sleeping and other activities; affecting the health directly. To avoid getting into such situation while volunteering abroad, here is a list of things you can do to stay fit and follow your regime;


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    Make the accommodation your gym place. If you are getting into a volunteer project via any volunteer placement agency, you will see that the volunteer accommodation provided by the placement agencies is pretty spacious and good in condition. While, there are chances of finding an aerobic cycle or any other exercise equipment within the premises, you can always use the space of your room to do some basic level cardio and work out without them. A half an hour to 45 minutes investment every day will suffice to your fitness.
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    Go on a hiking expedition. Seldom would it happen that you are volunteering at a project in some remote area and you would not find location for trekking, hiking, or at least bouldering. If you are at such a destination where you have the option to do any of the above mentioned activities, just take it up and go for it. Take along a local person, just to not get lost in the wilderness, and take a hiking expedition to spend some time with the nature and experience the calmness; it’s a good practice to stay healthy.
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    Take out time for running/brisk walking. And in case you end up volunteering at a location which does not have the rocky mountains for you to go for a hiking expedition, you always have the option to take a long stroll on the street. Just follow the road and see where it takes you. The added advantage to this is that you will get to see the insides of the city you are in; the life of that particular place at a normal speed. A good 30 to 60 minutes’ walk around town will prove really helpful in keeping up with your fitness.
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    Keep a check on your eating habit. It is pretty obvious and normal to gorge ferociously when on a trip as you are trying out different and new cuisines served in local eat-out joints. But it is always a good practice to keep a check on three important aspects while eating, which are; Where you are eating, When you are eating, and What you are eating. While you cannot control the hygienic conditions at all eating joints or market areas, you can at least select a cleaner area to eat at so as to avoid falling ill. Also, to keep up with your fitness always try to eat at a particular (fixed) time of the day and keep a check on what kind of food are you eating (though you can’t have much of a control on that because of uncertainty of availability).
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    Try to get good sleep. It is said that a normal human body needs at least 8 hours of sleep in a day to rejuvenate and be fresh. Volunteering can be a bit of tough mental as well as physical work; hence requires a good and timely sleep to let your body and brain to relax and>
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    Pack some light weight exercise equipments. While traveling abroad to volunteer, it is very much feasible to make space for a few light weighed exercise equipment in your luggage bag. A yoga mattress, a light weighed dumb-bell, or a racquet to play can be taken along to your project destination and can be used during your free time.
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    Do what the locals do for fitness. So let’s say you have decided to do volunteering in one of the tribal communities at your selected destination. It is possible that the people of that particular tribal community have a unique exercise of their own to stay fit; of course it would not be racing with a Leopard! It could be a dancing, local sports or any other activity. Try to follow the fitness regime followed by the local people at your destination of project. This could also provide you with a very good learning experience of exercising in a different and new way.
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    Get Proper Vaccinations. Every country has certain medical and health related problems for which one needs to get proper vaccinations before arriving to that country. Do a thorough research about the kind of vaccinations required to be taken to have a safe stay during your volunteering work. Most of the volunteer placement agencies provide this information to its volunteers at the time of registration.


  • When you are on a volunteer trip abroad, you certainly would want to break free from your daily routine and constraints; but definitely not at the cost of your health. A healthy body leads to a healthy mind, which eventually leads to a happy and resourceful volunteering. Stay fit, keep volunteering!

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Categories: Travel Health