Tips on Staying Healthy While Studying Abroad
Clau, SAI Milan
September 5, 2016

Staying fit and healthy while in another country – especially one known for its gelato or chocolate with churros – can be extremely difficult. And you may wonder, how locals manage to look fit and healthy when there are pastas, pizzas, gelati and sweets everywhere. Well here are a few tips on how to boost your mood, stay healthy all while exploring your new home.


The coastline of Italy offers great places to hike and walk


Exploring your new home is an easy way to get some exercise. Running, hiking, biking or even walking are simple and inexpensive ways to stay fit while discovering new places. Here are some suggestions:

1. Find a local park to run or bike: In Milan, Parco Sempione, is a popular place for locals to run and workout and there are many other parks and popular running routes. Or use a website like Strava, which offers a list of local popular biking and running routes in major cities around the world, including London, Barcelona, Paris and Milan.

Claudia - Milan - Fall 2016

The Regional Park of Portofino has diverse paths, ranging from leisure walking to advance hiking – from coastal views to covered forested areas

2. Head to a local regional or national park to hike: North of the famed Cinque Terre (which is also a great hiking area), the Regional Park of Portofino offers various outdoor activities including hiking, swimming, and kayaking. Other popular hiking and walking areas include the Amalfi Coastal Trail, Monserrat in Catalonia Spain, Lake Como area, Tuscan Archipelago, Fiesole and surrounding Florentine hills behind Piazzale Michelangelo.


3. Work out while you wait: Italy is notorious for its queuing and when you’re traveling each weekend it’s easy to find yourself in a line – whether it be at airline check-in, passport control or the grocery store. So why not try some discreet mini exercises to keep your mind fresh and your body agile.

4. Make time: The easiest excuse to not exercise is ‘But I just don’t have time.’ It’s hard, but there is always time. Sworkit and Fitness Buddy  are two of my favorite fitness apps. Both allow you to create quick personalized workouts based what type of workout you want and how much time you have, which is a great way to fit in a quick workout between class or even while traveling on the weekend.

Claudia - Milan - Fall 2016

The National Sleep Foundation advises 7-9 hours of sleep a night


5. Get enough sleep: Make sure you get enough sleep each night. It’s easy to fall into a routine where you sleep very little, but what’s the fun in exploring new places when you can barely keep your eyes open to see them. We require sleep, along with food, water and oxygen, to survive. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. So make sure you catch those Zzzs so you can enjoy your study abroad adventures!

Claudia - Milan - Fall 2016

Eating right is an important part of staying healthy

6. Eat right: Healthy eating is an essential part of healthy living. Enjoy the local cuisine, but take note of the locals on how they eat. Most Europeans are sure to eat produce that are in season and stay away from having too many carb-loaded meals in one day. Make sure you get enough fresh fruits and vegetables as well as enough protein to keep you going during your long weekends exploring the French Riviera. Remember, water is your best friend – staying hydrated not only keeps you alert but also increases energy levels.

Claudia - Milan - Fall 2016

Taking time to yourself to journal, draw or practice mindfulness are also important in having a balanced and healthy lifestyle

7. Surround yourself with positive people, but know it’s okay to have alone time: During your time abroad you’ll encounter new people – some of them will turn out to be life long friends. Enjoy your time with these new travel buddies, but know it’s okay if you need to take a break to reflect on your own. Your new friends will understand if you decide to take a day to yourself. Solo travel is a great opportunity to disconnect from our digital age of trending tweets, and viral videos. Take the time to journal, paint, enjoy people watching in a piazza over a gelato, or discover a new area of town on your own. It’s important to exercise your mind as much as your body and sometimes a day to yourself is exactly what you need.

Remember your time abroad should be fun, there may be bumps in the road, and new adventures to be had. Everyone has a different study abroad experience. Make sure you to stay healthy and fit during yours so you can enjoy every opportunity to be had!

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