While I am by no means a fitness guru nor a travel expert, I feel as though I have amassed some knowledge about the relationship between physical health and overall wellness during my time in London.
Anyone who knows me knows how much I love to eat and the experience of trying new foods. Studying abroad has certainly been a food lovers’ paradise so far. Each trip I take presents me with a new opportunity to try different foods – and different treats (of course). Learning to balance enjoying different types of foods while maintaining a healthy body can take some consideration and thought. Here are a few tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way:
Join the gym!
If your study abroad program has a gym attached to its university, seriously consider purchasing a gym membership. The price for the remainder of the semester’s membership came at a discounted rate. Once you have purchased a fitness membership, you will be much more likely to force yourself to go more frequently, in order to make back the money you’ve invested.
Coming from a primarily yoga background, I have always preferred group fitness classes and environments to solo gym ventures. While yoga classes in London are certainly not the same as the yoga I am used to in Ann Arbor, I have thoroughly enjoyed getting more comfortable with spinning classes — a great low-impact workout that is similar to yoga in terms of its set-up and overall structure of class (group environment, yet an individual experience). Additionally, you’ll have the opportunity to meet people who you wouldn’t otherwise meet. It’s very calming to know that each week I will have the same spinning instructor on the same day, with the relatively same group of people in my class.
Due to obvious space restrictions, I was unable to bring my extra-long yoga mat with me across the pond from Michigan to England. However, I did purchase a four-pound blanket for my bed, which has become my makeshift yoga mat for my time here. While it’s not exactly the same as my beloved Lululemon mat, it certainly gets the job done. There’s something about being able to fold up my blanket on the floor of my flat, turn on a Spotify playlist, and instantly feel at home by simply following the structure of a basic Vinyasa yoga class. By inserting this practice into my day, if only a few times per week, my mood has improved tenfold and I am instantly put at ease.
There are A LOT of changes that occur once you’re abroad. Your entire social circle changes, the schedule of your day is affected greatly and even meal preparations will inevitably be affected. While it’s important to try to embrace the change, finding some consistency can be so comforting.