What To Do When You Like Rice and Working Out



Paella, a Spanish staple, and one of the many delicious foods I have consumed

It’s a known fact, I am an athletic person. I have always loved all things working out and sports-related. Staying in shape and healthy is important to me. Arriving in a new country away from all my common running/biking trails and gym made the idea of working out seem daunting. Throw in the fact that I seem to be eating rice/pasta/potatoes at every meal, and I am worried about gaining weight during my eight weeks here in Spain. The good news: Europeans walk everywhere. The bad news: Europeans walk everywhere- get ready! I will look down at my watch at the end of the say and it will have upwards of 10-15 miles that I have walked. This makes me somewhat content with all of that rice I have consumed. 

My favorite thing about Valencia, both in transport and exercise, is Valenbisi. This is a bike service that has hundreds of stations all over town where you can take out a bike, ride to your destination, then lock it back up at the closest station. I purchased the yearly membership which was about 30 euros. This is a great deal considering I take a bike almost every day. There is also an option where the first 30 minutes you use the bike are free, but you do not want to get caught paying the fine if you go over the time limit. My friends and I greatly enjoy the ease of taking the bikes out and meeting up in the town center, at the beach, at the park, or wherever we want! There are also bike paths all over the city, making it a safe area to ride. Valenbisi has an app, Bike Hire, that shows all of the bike lanes and all of the hundreds of bike stations, along with how many bikes/open slots there are at each station, making it even more convenient. 

One of the many bike stations around the city

Between all of the biking and walking, working off all of those extra carbs is not as hard as you might think! I have truly found my oasis in Valencia by going to the Turia park. It is a long park around the city through where the Turia river used to flow. There are bike paths and running paths along the whole thing, and I love going there to work out or hang out with my friends. Throughout the park there are also these little “gyms” that have body weight style “equipment” that is also useful and free! 

Just a typical park workout!

If you still do not feel like there is an option for you, there are plenty of gyms around town where you can buy a monthly membership for the time you are here. Just remember, you are here to have a good time, so don’t worry about hitting the gym every day since all of the walking will add up! Now, pack your comfiest walking shoes, and don’t forget to lock up your bike!

Jessica Doublesin is a student at University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. She is an ISA Featured Blogger and is studying abroad with ISA Internships in Valencia, Spain.

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