Travel Tip Tuesday: Five Tips for Staying Fit When You Travel in Italy

Travel Tip Tuesday

Italy is known throughout the world for its perfect pasta, creamy gelato and homemade dolci-as well as for their tall, dark and sexy men and graciously thin, yet-somehow-still-curvy women. So what’s the deal? How do these people live in a country where their food is celebrated and still look like they just stepped off of the cover of Vogue Italia?

Yea … I don’t know.

(But I find out, you’ll be the first to know!)

What I do know is that it isn’t always easy for travelers who come in search of that perfect pasta to leave with their pre-vacation waistline.

So here are five tips for staying fit when traveling in Italy.

pilgrims on St. Peter's Square
photo credit: rootskontrolla

1. Use Your Feet

Many Italian cities cater to pedestrians who take to the streets when buying groceries, visiting museums or going out for dinner. Join them. Instead of taking a taxi, hopping on a bus or using the subway, walk. You will get in some extra exercise and see new attractions along the way.

2. Chew on This

Although it is likely caused by too many lunches gobbled at our desks, many Americans have the sad habit of inhaling food. We are in a hurry, we have five minutes before our next meeting, we are starving. I understand that. But when you are traveling in Italy, take time to slow down and enjoy your meal. Chew slowly, savor the flavors and people-watch and you will begin to see the real beauty of an Italian meal.

Two female joggers on foggy Morro Strand State Beach
photo credit: mikebaird

3. Fill ‘er Up

Staying hydrated is one of the top weight loss tips on the Internet, so it makes sense that drinking plenty of water when you travel, will help you stay fit. Italy abounds with free water fountains. Keep a bottle with you and refill it often. On a side note, you can purchase bottled water in supermarkets at a fraction of what you will pay outside vendors or bars.

4. Be a Creature of Habit

That is to say, don’t change your habits just because you are traveling. If you regularly enjoy a morning run before breakfast, then bring your tennis shoes and spend some time jogging near your hotel or B&B. You will get a great view of the city and help work off some of those extra calories.

5. Choose Your Own

… breakfast items and snacks, that is. Much to my dismay, Italian breakfasts mostly consist of croissants and coffee, so if you are hoping for healthy bagels or low-fat oatmeal, you are out of luck. To help stay in shape, go to the local grocery store or market and stock up on fresh fruit. You can add this to your breakfast, alternate fruit with croissants or have fruit as a snack between meals or at a night.

What other tips do you have for staying fit when traveling in Italy?

Until Next Time … Buon Viaggio!

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5 Responses
  1. Anon

    My husband’s Calabrian family and basically every resident in their town/city who sees me thinks I am nuts for running. And in all my miles (I should say kilometers) logged in Calabria while running and the thousands more logged while driving, I have only seen one other runner EVER. Running in Rome and big cities is much easier. Also, not recommended for womyn when in primarily Muslim countries — I don’t have the abs to let me look good in a sports bra alone so I always wear a shirt while running, usually with sleeves unless it is VERY hot, but I have been subjected to a lot of harrassment/shouts/etc in Muslim countries. Calabria has resulted in lots and lots of grief — shouts, but I didn’t feel at all threatened or unsafe as in Muslim countries. Still very uncomfortable for me. I think walking is a much better suggestion for Calabria. Unless you can somehow find a treadmill.

    Thanks for the tip on traveling in Muslim countries. We actually have a fair number of runners here in Catanzaro, though. I think on an average we see 5-7 pass by us a day. Maybe it is different in the small villages?

  2. Does Italy tend to have public swimming pools?

    I loved the open-air pool in Santiago, Chile – and the south of France has plenty, too. France does force men to wear speedos and everyone has to wear a swimming cap, but then laughter is supposed to tone up your abs as well, isn’t it?!

    Ha … I don’t want to think about it. I know there are some pools around here, Abi, but I’m not sure if they are public or if you have to have a membership.
    .-= Abi´s last blog ..Cirque de Gavarnie =-.

  3. Maybe big lunches and small dinners are part of it? Or the balanced Mediterranean diet? I know I have lost weight since living in Italy!

    I also think it might be all of the fruit I eat here, compared to the US… maybe?

  4. “Inhaling food” made me giggle. 😉

    Mediterranean diet – check. Good food, properly prepared (ie. not overprepared, overadorned or pointlessly processed).

    In big quantities. Er. Check. But…

    I do think a Med diet – such as a proper Italian diet – is much much less likely to cling to your ribs/hips/other parts than the standard International Westernized fare at the moment. I ate like I was being forced to eat at gunpoint when I was in Greece, and I actually lost weight. But I’d very easily eat myself stupid on a diet as enjoyable as that. There’s a line, and I can easily see myself straying over it.

    One thing about Italy – if you’re staying in big Italian chain hotels (firstly, why? B&Bs are nicer and probably cheaper), then treat the breakfasts with caution. They might be the same old stodgy stuff you’re used to eating with a different label – like those chocolate-goo-filled clammy foil-wrapped pastries that seem to be the only thing that people in Bari eat before midday.(OK, maybe I exaggerate).

    Aim for the fruit.

    Fruit is always fruit.

    Yea for the B&B plug! But seriously, you made a point about breakfasts in Italy. It is hard to find something besides croissants. I usually go for cereal when I can… it is better than the nutella pastries, right?

    .-= Mikeachim´s last blog ..Your Turn: Healthy Ham and Heartless Hoteliers =-.

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