How to Stay Fit on Your Travels

Attending a gym or fitness class is a great way to keep in shape. Cardiovascular exercise keeps you healthy and manages your weight. But when you travel for work, holiday or a weekend away, you may not have access to these facilities. 

The good news is there are lots of ways to keep in shape when you travel. This doesn't necessarily mean completing a 10k run every day of your holiday. The key is to stay active and have fun. 

Here are the top calorie-burning activities to stay fit on your holiday. 


1 - Rock Climbing  818 Calories


Rock climbing is a physically and mentally demanding sport. It combines cardio and strength, boosting the heart rate and engaging every muscle group in the body. Rock climbing tests strength, balance, endurance and agility along with mental control. For a person weighing 160 pounds, a one hour ascent will burn 818 calories. According to a 1997 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the energy consumed in rock climbing is similar to running at a pace between 8 and 11 minutes per mile.

TIP: Some of the best locations to rock climb for beginners include Yosemite National Park in California, Railay in Thailand, Boulder Canyon in Colorado, Wye Creek in Queenstown New Zealand and Frankenjura in Germany.

2 - Stand Up Paddle  708 Calories

Standup Paddleboarding gives you a full body workout. It improves balance, increases overall strength and improves cardiovascular health. It's the perfect alternative exercise to surfing when the waves are small. The amount of calories burned during this exercise will vary depending on wind resilience, water current and how much you weigh. A one hour session at 3mph will burn approximately 708 calories. 

3 - Muay Thai  690 Calories


Muay Thai is a hard martial art and combat sport of Thailand. Because of the use of the hands, knees, elbows and shins, Muay Thai is often referred to as the 'Art of Eight Limbs'. Depending on the intensity of the training, one hour of Muay Thai can burn up to 690 calories.

If you're travelling to Thailand, individual classes or one month training camp packages are available. Accommodation and several intensive classes are usually included in the package. 

4 - Mountain Biking  614 Calories

Mountain biking increases cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, reduces body fat and improves posture and co-ordinatation. A 160 pound person will burn 288 calories cycling at a leisurely pace. Mountain biking is more strenuous due to off road trails and hills. This can burn up to 614 calories per hour. 

TIP: Cycling tours are a great way to experience the highlights of your chosen destination. If you prefer mountain biking, research the best trails in the area before you travel. 

5 - Swimming  590 Calories

Swimming ranks as one of the best cardio exercises you can do. It works every muscle group in your body and helps maintain a healthy weight, healthy heart and lungs. In addition to these benefits, swimming builds endurance, muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness. For a person weighing 160 pounds, swimming fast will burn up to 590 calories per hour.

TIP: Your stroke makes a difference. The butterfly burns more calories than breast stroke and backstroke. If your hotel doesn't offer a pool, swimming against the current in the sea will give you an intense workout.

6 - Trekking  550 Calories


Trekking involves interval training which helps the metabolism function better, burning more calories for a longer period of time than steady cardio workouts. It's a great way to discover a new destination, allowing you to experience the best views while keeping in shape. One hour of trekking can burn between 440 - 550 calories. 

TIP: Guidebooks and Tripadvisor are a great way to discover the best treks in the area. 

7 - Dance  450 Calories

From Bollywood to ballet, dance is a great way to experience local traditions. Are you heading to Bazil? Be sure to check out a samba club! Argentina? Learn how to Tango! The rest of the Americas will have you doing the salsa! Check out the Viennese Walz in Austria or traditonal folklore dance in Switzerland. Dancing offers a wide range of physical and mental benefits including improved condition of your heart and lungs, endurance, increased aerobic fitness, improved muscle tone and strength, weight management, stronger bones and reduced risk of osteoporosis. One hour of intense dance can burn up to 450 calories.

8 - Tennis - 414 Calories


Tennis is played around the world, though it is most popular in Australia, France, New Zealand, Switzerland, UK, Singapore, Belgium and the United States. Health benefits of tennis include increased aerobic capacities, lowered resting heart rate and blood pressure, improved metabolic function, increased bone density, lowered body fat, improved muscle tone, strength and flexibility and increased reaction times. A person weighing 160 pounds can burn up to 450 calories in one hour of singles tennis.

9 - Kayaking  360 Calories

Kayaking increases muscle strength, particulary in the back, arms, shoulders and chest. It also increases torso and leg strength, as the strength to power a canoe or kayak comes mainly from rotating the torso and applying pressure with your legs. Kayaking can also reduce the risk of wear and tear of joints and tissues. A 160 pound person will burn 360 calories per hour when kayaking.

10 - Yoga  356 Calories


Although there are 15 styles of yoga, a typical one hour class burns between 240 - 356 calories. Yoga is an ancient exercise focusing on muscle strengthening, flexibility and breathing. It can improve posture, reduce stress and aid weight loss.

Yoga is practised worldwide but is particularly popular in South Asia, including India, Nepal, Thailand and Indonesia. 

TIP: If you are travelling to South Asia, save money and pay for a yoga course upfront. This will tyically include a discount, making it cheaper than paying for individual classes. 

11 - Tai Chi  356 Calories


Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese tradition. Originally developed for self-defense, tai chi has evolved into an exercise which is used for stress reduction and a number of other health conditions. It combines slow, gentle movements, deep breathing and relaxation to improve balance and increase muscle strength in the legs. One hour of Tai Chi can burn between 240 - 356 calories. 

TIP: If you're travelling to Hong Kong or China, visit a park in the early morning to practice Tai Chi with the locals. 

12 - Surfing  250 Calories

Since surfing involves more time paddling, it provides an intense upper body and core workout. Paddling out against the waves requires a lot of effort. As well as the physical benefits, surfing is also associated with lifting your mood. It reduces stress which can lead to better sleep and improved mental health.

In addition, the vitamin D you get from being out in the sun is essential for strong bones, as it regulates the amount of calcium and phosphorus in the blood. A person weighing 160 pounds can burn 250 calories through one hour of surfing.


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Sam MurrayAbout the author

Samantha is the content creator and co-founder of RevereSport. Through her passion for fitness, nutrition and active travel, she aims to inspire others to lead healthier, sustainable lifestyles without compromising on fun.

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