I never really understood the benefits of exercise until one summer in college in New Orleans. My good friend, Ali, moved in and became an amazing fifth addition my home; there were four of us living together at the time. Ali inspired me in many ways. I would come home and find her punching away in rhythm with a Billy Blanks Tae Bo video and her energy was contagious and I became curious. Eventually I started running with her through Audubon Park and through the neighborhoods of Uptown. Within 3 weeks I started noticing changes in my physic and energy levels. I was more productive in my daily life, slept less, and generally felt a huge sense of well-being.
This was the first time I saw the real physical and mental results of exercise. I knew then that this had to always be a part of my life for me to feel complete.
Unfortunately, this is probably the hardest thing to do when traveling…or at least I used to think so. I could make excuses like, how could you run on snow covered streets in Siberia? Or how could you run on ice covered sidewalks in Ulaan Baatar Mongolia? Or even in places like Nupo, the Burmese Refugee Camp, where a foreigner in running shoes would be quite an interesting sight.
Once I got over the fact that yes, people will stare at me, I realized that it is only because it is not a common thing to do. And this is where being a foreigner comes in handy. That is your excuse!
I love running. I love putting on music and pushing myself. I get pumped up and feel the endorphins flowing and know that I am doing myself a favor. However, there are also other things to do when it is completely impossible to get an outside workout (-30 degree weather…I mean what can you even wear to run in that?!)
For example, it’s been raining a lot here on Koh Tao. To keep myself sane, I have been doing yoga from a podcast called Yoga Amazing. Each session is less than 30 minutes and there are several options you can choose from! Michelle from La Rocchetta introduced me to the podcast and I began using Yoga Amazing in Marrakech when I was working at Peacock Pavilions. My co-worker, Katie and I would chose a new and different theme from yoga for colds to yoga for clarity and many others.
Sometimes it is hard for me to push myself to exercise but once I do, it never is a regret. After attending a high school with no sports activity at all (except for the senior vs teacher volley ball game at the end of the year), I am so grateful to have found this affinity for physical activity.
One of my favorite things to do here in Koh Tao is Muay Thai.
So if you are having a hard day I strongly suggest some form of physical activity. Whether it be a walk down the street or a quick yoga session or joining a kickboxing class (SO MUCH FUN!)
It is possible anywhere!