How To Exercise For Free While Travelling (Easy And Fun)

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Although I love working out in the gym, in many countries around the world gym memberships can be quite expensive. Having to pay a lot of money to exercise is enough to make a lot of people not want to work out. Especially if you are living as a nomad it can be quite annoying trying to find a good gym that is not too expensive. However this problem can be avoided if you learn how to exercise for free.

Some countries that I have lived in, such as Mexico, it is super easy to find inexpensive gyms. However when you are traveling in places such as Europe and North America gym passes can be very expensive.

free exercise at the calisthenics park on the beach in la paz mexico
Calisthenics area on the beach in La Paz, Mexico

When you learn free exercises that you can do anywhere in the world. You will be far less likely to slip into bad routines while traveling or being away from home. So whether you are a traveler or just wanting to save on gym fees in your home town. Read my tips on how to exercise for free so that the world will become your gym.

Calisthenics

Calisthenics is my favorite way how to exercise for free and when I move to a new city I search for a Calisthenics park as soon as I arrive. It is a great way to build muscle without needing to go the gym and lift weights.

I first started doing Calisthenics while living in Toronto and finding that all the gyms in my area where quite expensive. Then I stumbled upon a Calisthenics area in a park next to where I lived and decided to try some pull ups.

It was extremely hard to begin with as I wasn’t able to do many pull ups but I was hooked immediately. I found it very relaxing to workout in the park under the trees and in the sun rather than under artificial lights in the gym.

The other benefit was that it was totally free and the park was right next to where I lived. So I saved on gym fees and didn’t have to travel to the gym.

Calisthenics area at the beach in Barcelona
Calisthenics area next to the beach in Barcelona. Shows one of the big reasons I love Calisthenics is the locations of a lot of the parks.

Also if you are a nomad it is an excellent way to workout as nearly all cities around the world have Calisthenics areas in local parks. One website that is very useful to find workout parks is calisthenics-parks.com. They have documented thousands of Calisthenics parks all over the world.

However they don’t have every single park so you should also search using google maps as well.

Beginning with Calisthenics can be very tough as it is much more complicated than just picking up some weights in the gym. But there are many high quality Calisthenics channels on youtube that will teach you everything that you need to know. They are useful for learning the most basic skills to the most advanced.

One channel that I can highly recommend is Calisthenic Movement. They have very detailed easy to follow videos that will teach you everything you need to know about Calisthenics.

Great video showing you some exercises that help you get started with Calisthenics

Running

Running is one of the most natural human movements and something that I think should be included in every exercise routine. It has endless benefits and is also an excellent way how to exercise for free. As long as you have a good pair of running shoes you can go for a run practically anywhere you are in the world. So it is a great exercise for nomads and an excellent way how to exercise for free.

One way that I mix up my running routine is to do sprints as well as long distance runs. A common complaint I hear from many people is that going for runs is boring. If you find long distance runs to be boring then sprints may be a good option for you. Not only do sprints offer different physiological benefits to long runs. But you can get a great workout in just 20 minutes.

For a great sprint workout simply find a flat area with about 60 – 100 meters to run. Then after warming up do 8 sets of sprints for the distance you have measured out. The sprints should be max effort so running as fast as possible. In between the sets you should rest for as long as you need until your heart rate slows down.

Doing a set of 8 sprints really gets your heart rate going and you will have a fast efficient workout. Because they are over so quick you won’t have the boredom that comes with a long slow job.

Great video that explains how to do a sprint workout.

I try to do one long run a week and one sprint session a week as they both offer unique physiological benefits. It is also an awesome way to be outside and get some fresh air.

Bodyweight Exercises At Home

Calisthenics and Running are great but if the weather is terrible they may not be an option. For days when the weather is not the best or if you are in a location with no calisthenics park. Then there are still tonnes of bodyweight exercises you can do inside.

You can do them in your bedroom, living room or wherever you choose. No equipment bodyweight routines will still give you an awesome workout. So they are great if you are short on time and don’t want to leave the house.

Bodyweight exercises at home can still be used to build muscle. If you master a pistol squat, handstand pushup or planche push ups you will build a good amount of muscle.

But you can also do cardio if you do sets of pushups, burpees, air squats etc. There are a lot of different routines available. Once again the best resource is youtube.

For cardio I find that it is best to search for HIIT workouts. These workouts will be sets of bodyweight exercises that will get your heart beating in no time. However if you want more strength workouts I find that Calisthenics channels have the best videos.

Great HIIT workout that you can do from home with no equipment.

Hiking

Over the past couple of years hiking has become one of my favorite activities while traveling. During our stay in Cape Town we did so many amazing hikes. The hikes were not only super beautiful but they gave us a good workout at the same time.

Of course in many cities around the world going for a hike may not be an option. However you may be surprised how many great hikes are just a short drive away. I find that hikes not only give you great physical benefits. But the biggest benefit I find is the mental calmness that you get while hiking. In our modern world we need time to be away from phones and technology and just enjoy nature.

So no matter where you are in the world just do a google search and try find the closest hike. Then get out into nature and have a workout at the same time.

Hiking in Andorra a great way how to exercise for free
On a hike in Andorra beautiful scenery and a good workout for our legs.

Yoga

Yoga is not something that I have really taken part in to be honest. However I am well aware that it is a great workout that has plenty of mental and physical benefits. There also yoga classes in practically every location around the world particularly if it is a digital nomad hotspot.

But once again if classes are expensive you can always find everything you need on youtube. So if you do yoga at home it can be another great way how to exercise for free. One channel I found that looks great for beginners is Breath and Flow they have great videos for all experience levels.

Because Katharina quite often goes to yoga classes we are always traveling with a yoga mat. Even if you are not into yoga, traveling with a yoga mat is a great idea. They can be very useful for doing other exercises indoor and you can easily attach it to the side of your back pack. Or you can just carry it with you on a plane. So if you would like to do more home workouts while on the road I highly recommend traveling with a yoga mat like this one we bought from decathlon.

Buy Simple Equipment To Use At Home

So this advice of course is not completely free as you have to buy some equipment. But there are some very inexpensive pieces of equipment that you can buy that will really improve your workouts.

A couple of pieces of equipment that we travel with are push up bars and resistance bands. They are both lightweight and easy to travel with. We bought the push up bars for about 7 USD and the resistance bands for about 6 USD.

Pushup bars and a resistance bar a great way how to exercise for free
These are the push up bars and resistance band that we travel with. They are cheap lightweight and easy to fit in your luggage.

So they have are super low cost and you can then use them to have a great workout no matter where you are in the world.

Push up bars are great for doing many different push up variations. But they are useful for more advanced moves like the l sit, hand stands, the plance and more. Check out the video below to see some of the different exercises you can do with push up bars.

Resistance bands have many different uses. They can be used to help you get started with calisthenics by assisting you if you don’t have the strength to do pull ups for example. Or they can be used to do exercises such as bicep curls or squats.

If you have not seen a resistance band before it is hard to explain how to use them. So check out the video below to see all the different exercises you can do with them.

If you are just beginning with Calisthenics I highly recommend getting some resistance bands. If you do not have the strength to do a decent amount of pull ups or dips it can be quite frustrating. By looping a resistance band over the bar and putting it under you feet you will be able to do far more reps.

They are also very useful if you want to learn more advanced moves such as a front lever or a planche. So considering their low cost and light weight I think they are a perfect piece of equipment for nomads wanting to stay fit.

That brings us to the end of my tips for how to exercise for free. I hope that it inspires some of you to workout more while you are on the road. I find that I am much happier when I stay in a consistent workout routine. If any of you have more tips for how to workout for free let me know in the comments below.

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Travel, health and fitness fanatic. Co-founder of happyhealthynomads.

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