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Expat Tips: Stay Active

Keeping fit is an essential part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle wherever you are in the world. Lauren and Samuele’s handy tips remind us, just because we’re abroad, that doesn’t mean we’re on a permanent holiday where calories don’t count. Try and get into good fitness routines as soon as possible after you arrive in your host country. Your future self will thank you for signing up for the gym or finding out which parks are the best for a weekend run, I promise.

Embrace Your Natural Surroundings

The opportunities available to get active and into the fresh air are often largely influenced by your local environment. I recommend taking note of what you have on offer on your door step and what options there are for filling a weekend or evening when you want to squeeze some exercise in. If you’re near to a mountain range, maybe invest in some good hiking boots and start climbing. If you’re by the ocean, you could try out some watersports. This gives you a great opportunity to meet people from the area when you’re hiking, swimming, etc. and also adds another level of interest to those daily office conversations. Who knows, you might even get invited to join a group excursion with a colleague!

Incorporate Exercise into Your Routine

As Lauren mentioned, incorporating your exercise into your morning commute is also great way to work out when you feel like there aren’t enough hours in your day. Whether you cycle to work, skip public transportation a few times a week and walk in, or use your lunch break as an opportunity to have a quick powerwalk around the block, the possibilities are endless. Exercising in the morning might also help wake you up, so you feel refreshed and ready to start the day in the right mindset at work. Why not give it a go?

Join Some Classes

Entering an exercise class in a foreign country is, in my opinion, comparable to going into a baptism of fire. On my arrival in Germany, I was keen to take full advantage of the classes which were on offer at my local gym. Despite my enthusiasm, every time I entered the building, my stomach would tighten, and I’d put it off for another week. One day, I decided to bite the bullet and spent the whole session with a grin on my face as the instructor clapped and bellowed the instructions from the front of the room. Yes, I may not have been able to understand everything he was saying over the pounding music, but I left feeling like Superwoman. Work-out classes are also a great way to practice your language, as you’ll soon start recognizing the technical terms for “stretch” and “sprint”. It’s a great place to chat to some locals and meet new people through a common interest and hobby, too.

Try Something Crazy

Moving to a new country or culture can reignite the desire for adventure that might have been lying dormant for some time. I recommend making the most of this new feeling of wanderlust and encourage anyone who’s new to a country to try something they wouldn’t have done back home. Say “yes” to the invitation to go slacklining in the park and click “going” to the canoeing trip happening on the weekend. Humans are preprogrammed to seek out new experiences, and this could be your chance to try something which you have always wanted to do but never got around to. You never know, you might even find a hidden talent. InterNations has a constant supply of new and exciting activities happening in our communities across the globe. If you’re in need of inspiration, why not take a look at our Events section.

Never Underestimate the Power of the Mind

Exercise is great for stress and anxiety relief and releases endorphins in body which give you a buzz of optimism every time you push yourself to the limit. Stepping into the gym or outside for an adventure can take a considerable amount of effort, but the benefits we reap from taking the time to look after our body are infinite. When your body feels fit and healthy, then your mind feels clearer and things seem less daunting. I have no doubt that these handy tips will make a difference to your everyday life as an expat. There’s no excuse to sit on the sofa and watch television for days — get out there and enjoy expat life!


Isabella Martinez

"As you can imagine, expat living in Baghdad is difficult at times. The InterNations community helped me a lot to cope with the daily challenges!"

Mathias Döringer

"Iraqi bureaucracy is very different to what I know from Europe. Sharing experiences with fellow expats helped me to overcome many obstacles."

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