It's hard enough for most people to stay healthy as a digital nomad when they're home. Being on the road a lot as a digital nomad makes it even more difficult. People would say it’s almost impossible to manage your life to include physical activities as well on top of work and exploration.
However, it’s not impossible at all and with the help of technology, some time management and healthy habits you can put that on your schedule without great effort.
Staying physically and mentally fit doesn't have to be an insurmountable task if you can break down your to-dos into small, manageable bits and apply some discipline. Remote working and living doesn’t necessarily mean an unhealthy lifestyle.
What exactly are these small secrets? We’ve put together a list of activities and ideas that will help you stay healthy as a digital nomad despite a year-round traveling lifestyle.
Exercise in your hotel room or find a park nearby
Open Google Maps to find a nearby park and walk over there for your workouts. In some cities, parks have equipment you can use to work out with like an “open air gym”. Or you can get creative and use the trees for pull ups and steep roads in the park for running and cardio.
Here are some simple and effective exercises you can do in your hotel, hostel, or even just a nearby park:
- Jumping jacks
If you love swimming, check out the local swimming pools and pay the one time entry fee. It should be affordable in most of the places and half an hour in the water should burn you a lot of calories!
Another great option is to check websites like meetup.com for regular workout groups in the location you will be living for a while. Most cities have running clubs that host weekly runs, yoga sessions in the park, tai chi, and other sports/activities. Check around to see if there is anything nearby that raises your interest and will help you stay fit.
Are you up for trying new activities and discovering new sports? Look for plogging (jogging and picking up trash), tumbling, parkour — by spending an hour to research this groups (even before you land), you will find a lot of options
It can be difficult to stay fit on the road, but remember, it’s very important to stay fit and healthy, especially because most of the time you will be on your own and you might not want to use your medical insurance. Moreovers, the hospitals in less developed countries are not the best so you want to stay out of them. Even 10-15 mins of exercise per day AND a healthy diet can keep you away from the doctor and help you live a beautiful lifestyle.
Diet is the Key
Not all digital nomad are well off or have a steady income, so sometimes their budget for meals can be tight, meaning the food quality might be low.
That likely means that you’re not eating that healthy and so you might get a few extra pounds soon. Don’t be stingy with your food budget and try to prioritise it against maybe other activities. Your health should be your top priority to live a fulfilling life and enjoy it to the fullest.
Protein and veggies in your diet are a must. Cut the low quality carbs and processed food immediately. How about you try the famous Keto diet or even become a vegetarian. This is a more sustainable way of living and it’s very easy to have this diet in a lot of countries (from Asia to Central America and Africa).
We tend to live in rented Airbnb or co-living spaces fitted with kitchens and that’s a great opportunity to cook healthy and save money as well. We totally recommend you to cook your food a few times per week and then, if you prefer, go out and eat healthy and only healthy meals.
You can also try changing up your diet to better suit the local options. Try buying and eating from the local markets or enjoy the fresh sea food served in the local family owned restaurants. This way, you’ll be eating more fresh produce while supporting the local economy.
Have you tried intermittent fasting? Look into the 16/8 fasting which involves fasting every day for about 16 hours and restricting your daily eating window to approximately 8 hours.
This is an excellent way to stay healthy and also save some money that you can use for fun!
Rely on healthy food delivery services
You have a few really nice options here that can keep you healthy as a digital nomad during your adventures.
- You can use a fresh food delivery service which delivers raw meat, fresh fruits and vegetables that you can stash in your fridge and then cook in your airbnb or hotel room.
- Order from delivery apps like Deliveroo, Uber Eats, Zomato, Food Panda and so on and aim for the high rated, non fast food restaurants to order your meals. This way, you will keep your weight under control by eating cooked food, not processed.
- How about subscribing to services like Hello fresh where they deliver fresh ingredients and fast recipes lasting for a few days that you can cook at “home”? This is the best of both worlds where you can choose the recipes you receive and also cook with fresh produce.
Have a look at what food delivery service is available in the country where you have your temporary “nomad” home and start cooking healthy!
Book good restaurants to make sure you control the quality
Digital Nomads are dedicated entrepreneurs who work long hours and also have busy social schedules like any keen explorer. This means that sometimes it’s ok to eat out if time is scarce and there is no time left to cook. OR maybe you want to socialise with other nomads in a nice restaurant with service? That’s perfectly fine, however try to be picky with the places you get your lunch or dinner.
You want to use apps like Google Maps’ Explore Function (the review part) and get very selective with the restaurants that show up. Go only for the ones over 4 stars and look especially for the organic ones and keep in mind the reviews.
In famous digital nomad cities like Bali, Bangkok, Lisbon and so on we will not fall short on the number of available restaurants so you can afford to be picky. Don’t hesitate and control your diet closely.
Invest in on-demand fitness apps
On demand apps are ideal for people on the go or who are a bit more introverted. It’s also a good option for rainy days or until they learn the ropes of the new location they are in.
The way these apps work is pretty straightforward. They are monthly subscriptions just like Netflix or Hulu. You pay a flat monthly fee to stream unlimited workout classes on your TV, computer, tablet or phone.
In most of the cases, the classes are pre recorded and available on demand, but some services (e.g. Peloton) also offers live classes that you can log into and engage with the class in real time.
Here are a bunch of on demand apps that you can use to stay fit in whilst on the road and you can use anywhere (hotel room, airbnb, gym, parks, etc)
Stick with a routine - wherever you are
According to a study made on digital nomads, 66% of them prefer to stay in a single place for 3 to 6 months, with six months being the sweet spot for most digital nomads. 80% of nomads prefer to stay in one place for 3 to 9 months. Hence, it is possible to create a routine during your stay wherever you decide to “camp” for a few months. Science says (yes, there is a study about that actually) that it takes a person about 66 days on average to create a new habit. Guess what? You’ve got plenty of time to create healthy habits like waking up early and doing meditation or hitting the gym early. How about a massage session every two days or a run on the beach late in the evenings?
Make sure the routines are a bit outside your comfort zone, but not too much otherwise you’ll find them too challenging and won’t stick to them. Find the sweet spot and stay with it.
Try to have longer stops in your travels so you can discover more beautiful things about the local culture but also to be able to create and stick to these healthy routines. They go hand in hand.
WALK instead of taxi or tube, but only if it’s SAFE
Walking is healthier than you think and if you are in the right city (Paris anyone?) It's extremely enjoyable too. Amongst the benefits of walking, you will find increased cardiovascular fitness, reduced risk of heart disease and stroke, stronger bones and improved balance and many others.
Ok, ok...we get it. You are a busy digital nomad and work a lot on your business, however this is a super easy habit you can get into, especially if you are located in a spectacular city like Rome, Buenos Aires, London and so on. Walk the parks to get some fresh air or just stroll the most iconic boulevards and look at the architecture of the buildings. Discovering the cities on foot can bring a lot of pleasant surprises that you cannot see from the Metro or car.
Get a hotel room with kitchenette or an Airbnb so you can cook your food
Living in a place with a kitchen like an airbnb can literally make the difference. You will be in full control of your nutrition and can also store food for several days.
Digital Nomads should be looking to rent Airbnbs or places with kitchens where they can have quick healthy breakfast or cook a dinner with the newly acquired local friends or fellow digital nomads from the location they’re in. This can also become a social event (or why not more1) where you can create amazing life long connections with new people and discover the world together.
Swim, Climb, Surf, Snowboard - use the surroundings, stay fit and enjoy life.
A lot of fellow digital nomad people prefer to travel to sunny countries like Spain, Portugal, Costa Rica and so on because of the good vibes and sometimes cheap lifestyle. One amazing perk that comes with these locations is the nature that is there for you to explore.
Why not use the environment to have fun and stay healthy? Costa Rica for example is famous for its high speed internet, but also for the amazing surfing spots it has to offer.
Are you planning to go to Spain? The Costa del Sol is very long and offers a huge amount of beaches where you can run in the morning or swim in the warm water.
Ever thought about trying rock climbing? It’s extremely demanding and builds up your muscle really fast. If you are “digital nomading” through mountainous countries like Austria or Romania, you can definitely try some hikes in the Alps or Carpathian over the weekend.
There are groups on meetup.com for these types of activities and not only that you’ll stay in shape, but you might befriend some locals too.
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