Molly Phannenstiel is a student at the University of Colorado Boulder and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in Barcelona, Spain.
Studying abroad in a big city can make it difficult to put health and fitness first. When you are studying abroad, staying fit isn’t usually your first priority. This can be a challenging problem to face and find solutions to, but it is possible to stay healthy while studying abroad without making it your number one focus.
I have some advice about staying healthy while studying abroad. The first couple of days I spent in Barcelona, I would go on morning runs along the beach. I highly suggest going on runs because it forces you to learn your way around the city you are studying in.
But, I could only do the same thing for so long before the boredom of routine hit me. Plus, I was used to going to the gym back at home. So, I decided that I was going to find a local gym to join. I went to about five different gyms that were located relatively close to where I live before I decided on one. If possible, join a gym with your friends so you have people to go with.
Even though we missed the beach and outdoor views, there are more options at a gym and the times you can go are broader. Running outdoors is also free, but it comes down to personal preference regarding your favorite way to exercise.
Another thing that helps me maintain a healthy lifestyle in Barcelona while studying abroad is cooking my own meals. Even though it is easier and maybe more enjoyable to eat out, it gets so expensive and it is not always the healthier option.
I would recommend going to a local grocery store and buying your own food and cooking meals for yourself that you know how to make and like. It is still okay to eat out occasionally, but if you cook the majority of your own meals, you will be living a much healthier lifestyle than just relying on restaurant food. It is also very enjoyable to learn how to cook local dishes and recipes!
I also recommend walking instead of using the local transportation or calling a taxi. Not only is this a good way to get extra exercise during the day, but it also helps you get to know the location you are living in.
Walking is a great way to experience everyday life in a city. You will see different things every time you walk, even if it is the same route. It is the healthier and more adventurous option to take for your daily commute.
Although it is more difficult to stay healthy while studying abroad, it is possible and can be a very enjoyable thing to do if you do it right!
The world awaits…discover it.