5 Ways To Stay In Shape While Living Abroad

Adjusting to life in a new country can be an exciting adventure, but it can also disrupt your regular fitness routine. Amidst navigating new cultures and cuisines, maintaining your physical health becomes a unique challenge. However, living abroad doesn’t have to mean compromising on fitness. With creativity and planning, you can integrate exercise into your daily life, ensuring that you stay in shape no matter where you are in the world.

Join A Local Sports Team Or Club

Joining a local sports team or club can be a fantastic way to keep fit and stay in shape while integrating into your new community abroad. When you move to a new country, finding your place can be challenging, but sports offer a common ground.

Remember that engaging in physical activities can sometimes come with the risk of injury, so it’s recommended to have expatriate health insurance. This ensures that if you do get hurt, you’re covered for medical expenses and can focus on your recovery without financial stress, especially when living in another country.

Benefits of Joining a Local Sports Team:

  • Community – You’ll meet locals who share your passion for sports, which can lead to lasting friendships.
  • Motivation – Being part of a team creates a sense of accountability. This means you’re more likely to show up and participate.
  • Routine – Scheduled practices and games help you maintain a regular fitness routine.

Taking part in local sports is not only about maintaining fitness; it’s about embracing your new home and culture. Whether playing football, joining a running club, or practicing martial arts, you’ll be enjoying a healthy lifestyle while making meaningful connections. Remember, the goal is to stay active and have fun!

Participate In Community Events

Attending local events can be a powerful way to maintain your fitness levels while soaking in new cultures. No matter where you are in the world, most communities host events that encourage physical activity. Here are some ways to get moving:

  • Join local clubs that focus on activities like running, yoga, or hiking. Not only will you stay active, but you’ll also meet people with similar interests.
  • Look for community-sponsored sports leagues. These gatherings, such as soccer or basketball games, offer regular exercise and a chance to form new friendships.
  • Take part in local festivals or dance classes. They provide a unique workout and plunge you into the heart of the culture.

Keep an eye out for opportunities like marathons, cycling races, or “fun runs” that are often part of local celebrations.

These events enable you to connect with your new environment and join the community. Plus, they’re a fantastic way to combat feelings of loneliness often experienced by expats.

Cycling Or Walking To Work

Integrating physical activity into your daily routine can be an efficient way to stay fit, and cycling to work is a fantastic option that combines transportation with exercise.

You get to skip the traffic, enjoy the local scenery, and engage your muscles in a low-impact workout that boosts cardiovascular health.

Here are some benefits of cycling:

  • Enhances endurance
  • Builds muscle tone
  • Provides a daily dose of fresh air

If cycling isn’t your speed or seems daunting due to distance or terrain, consider walking to work instead. Walking is a gentle yet effective exercise that anyone at any fitness level can do.

Some of the perks of walking include:

  • Improves mood
  • Increases balance and coordination
  • Offers flexibility – walk as briskly or as leisurely as you like

To make the most out of your walk or cycle, try these simple tips:

  1. Map Your Route – Find the most bike-friendly or scenic paths to make the journey enjoyable.
  2. Gear Up – Wear comfortable shoes for walking, or invest in a reliable bike and helmet for cycling.
  3. Stay Safe – Always stay aware of your surroundings and follow local traffic laws.
  4. Track Your Progress – Use a fitness app to monitor distance and time.

Remember, commuting by bike or foot not only helps you to stay in shape but also immerses you in the local culture, offering a unique perspective on your new home abroad.

Using Stairs Over Elevators

One simple yet effective strategy to stay in shape is to take the stairs instead of the elevator. This choice not only saves you from waiting for elevators but also offers a variety of health benefits.

  • Burns More Calories – Using the stairs increases your heart rate and energy expenditure. Even short bursts of stair climbing are effective for burning calories—vital for weight management.
  • Strengthens Muscles – It targets your lower body, strengthening your legs, glutes, and core muscles.
  • Improves Cardiovascular Health – As a form of aerobic exercise, stair climbing can improve your heart health and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Engage with your new surroundings by looking for historical buildings or tourist spots with public access staircases. Not only are you keeping fit, but you’re also immersing yourself in the local culture.

Carry Groceries Home

When you choose to walk from the store instead of driving or hailing a cab, you’re not only being environmentally friendly but also adding an extra layer of exercise to your day.

Why carrying groceries benefits you:

  • Strengthens Muscles – The weight of your grocery bags works similar to lifting weights, targeting your arm and core muscles.
  • Increases Cardio – Walking, especially if your route includes hills, boosts your heart rate, contributing to cardiovascular health.
  • Burns Calories – The extra effort burns more calories than if you were sitting in a vehicle.

To maximize the workout:

  • Use a Backpack – Distribute the weight evenly on your back to avoid straining one side of your body.
  • Take the Scenic Route – Make your journey longer to increase the health benefits.
  • Stay Hydrated – Carry a water bottle to stay refreshed, especially in warm climates.

By the time you get home, not only will you have completed an errand, but you’ll also have contributed to your fitness goals. It’s a small step with a double reward—groceries in your pantry and steps on your fitness tracker!


While we didn’t mention it on the list above, you can also search for local gyms in your area. Whatever option you end up choosing to stay in shape, the important thing is that you’re staying active and keeping your health top of mind while living in another country.

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