Stay Healthy

How to Stay Healthy and Fit While Studying Abroad

How to Stay Healthy and Fit While Studying Abroad

Studying abroad is a life-changing adventure, but it can wreak havoc on your health if you’re not careful. Balancing classes, social activities, and exploring a new culture is challenging enough without the added stress of maintaining your fitness. Dive into our guide and discover practical tips to keep your body and mind in top shape while experiencing the world. Ready to stay healthy and fit abroad? Let’s get started!

Studying abroad is an exciting opportunity that offers a wealth of experiences, but it can also pose challenges to your health and fitness routine. Navigating a new environment, different foods, and an altered schedule can easily throw you off balance. However, with a few strategic adjustments, you can maintain your health and fitness while enjoying all the benefits of studying in a foreign country.

Adapting to a New Environment

One of the first steps to staying healthy abroad is adapting to your new environment. This involves understanding the local climate, food, and lifestyle habits.

Understanding the Local Climate

The climate of your host country can significantly affect your health and fitness routine. For example, if you move from a temperate climate to a tropical one, you might find yourself sweating more and needing to hydrate frequently. Conversely, colder climates may require you to find indoor exercise options or bundle up for outdoor activities. Understanding the weather patterns can help you adjust your workouts and stay comfortable while being active.

Embracing Local Foods

Food is a significant part of any culture, and trying new dishes is one of the joys of studying abroad. However, unfamiliar foods can sometimes lead to digestive issues or unhealthy eating habits. To stay healthy, try to balance enjoying local cuisine with maintaining a nutritious diet. Seek out fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains available in your new location. Don’t shy away from asking locals or fellow students for recommendations on healthy dining options.

Establishing a Routine

Establishing a routine is crucial for maintaining your health and fitness. This might seem daunting in a new country, but it’s essential for creating a sense of normalcy and stability.

Setting Up a Workout Schedule

Consistency is key when it comes to fitness. Find a gym, yoga studio, or park near your accommodation and set a regular workout schedule. If your host city has bike-sharing programs or scenic running paths, incorporate those into your routine to make exercise enjoyable and a part of your exploration.

Prioritizing Sleep

With the excitement of a new environment and a busy academic schedule, sleep can often be neglected. However, adequate sleep is vital for overall health. Establish a regular sleep schedule and create a restful environment in your room. Avoid late-night screen time and try relaxation techniques such as reading or meditating before bed.

Managing Stress and Mental Health

The pressures of studying abroad can sometimes lead to stress and anxiety. Taking care of your mental health is just as important as physical health.

Finding Support Networks

Building a support network can make a huge difference in managing stress. Connect with fellow international students, join clubs, or participate in campus events to create a sense of community. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your university’s counseling services if you need someone to talk to.

Practicing Mindfulness and Relaxation

Incorporating mindfulness and relaxation techniques into your daily routine can help you stay grounded. Practices such as meditation, yoga, or even regular deep-breathing exercises can reduce stress and improve mental clarity. Many universities offer mindfulness workshops or have spaces dedicated to relaxation—take advantage of these resources.

Staying Active Through Exploration

Exploring your new surroundings is a great way to stay active. Walking tours, hiking trips, and sightseeing can all contribute to your daily physical activity.

Walking and Biking

Walking and biking are excellent ways to explore your host city while staying fit. Many European cities, for instance, are very pedestrian-friendly and offer bike-sharing services. Use these opportunities to discover hidden gems in your new home and stay active.

Joining Local Sports or Fitness Groups

Participating in local sports or fitness groups can be a fun way to stay fit and meet new people. Whether it’s joining a local soccer team, attending a dance class, or practicing martial arts, engaging in group activities can enhance your fitness routine and integrate you into the community.

Eating Well on a Budget

Maintaining a healthy diet on a student budget can be challenging, but it’s definitely possible with some planning and creativity.

Cooking at Home

Cooking at home allows you to control what you eat and how it’s prepared. Try to prepare simple, nutritious meals using local ingredients. Not only is this cost-effective, but it also gives you the chance to experiment with new flavors and cooking techniques.

Smart Snacking

Healthy snacks can keep your energy levels up throughout the day. Stock up on nuts, fruits, yogurt, and other nutritious snacks that are easy to carry with you. This will help you avoid the temptation of unhealthy vending machine options or fast food.

Balancing Academics and Health

Balancing your academic responsibilities with health and fitness is crucial for a successful study abroad experience.

Time Management

Effective time management can help you balance studying with staying active. Create a schedule that allocates time for classes, study sessions, workouts, and relaxation. Using planners or digital tools can help you stay organized and ensure you have time for all your activities.

Taking Breaks

Don’t underestimate the power of breaks. Short breaks during study sessions can improve focus and productivity. Use breaks to stretch, take a short walk, or do a quick workout to keep your body and mind refreshed.

Real-Life Examples

To illustrate these points, let’s look at some real-life examples of students who successfully maintained their health while studying abroad.

Emma’s Story

Emma, a student from the United States, studied in Italy for a year. She found the Italian diet heavy in pasta and bread, which initially caused weight gain. By joining a local gym and participating in yoga classes, Emma was able to balance her diet with regular exercise. She also embraced the Mediterranean diet by incorporating more vegetables, fruits, and seafood into her meals.

Mark’s Experience

Mark, an Australian student, spent a semester in Canada. The cold climate made it difficult for him to maintain his usual outdoor running routine. Mark adapted by using the university’s indoor track and swimming pool. He also joined a local ice hockey team, which helped him stay active and meet new friends.


Studying abroad doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your health and fitness. By adapting to your new environment, establishing a routine, managing stress, staying active through exploration, eating well on a budget, and balancing academics and health, you can maintain a healthy lifestyle while making the most of your international experience. Remember, the key is to be proactive and intentional about your health choices, and you’ll be able to enjoy your time abroad to the fullest.


What are some easy ways to stay active while studying abroad?

Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine by walking or biking to class, exploring your new city on foot, and joining local sports or fitness groups. Finding a nearby gym or park can also help you maintain a regular workout schedule.

How can I maintain a healthy diet on a student budget?

Cooking at home with local ingredients is a cost-effective way to maintain a healthy diet. Prepare simple, nutritious meals and stock up on healthy snacks like fruits, nuts, and yogurt. Avoid frequent fast food and explore local markets for fresh produce.

What should I do if I feel stressed or homesick?

Building a support network of fellow students and locals can help alleviate stress and homesickness. Participate in campus activities, join clubs, and use university counseling services if needed. Practicing mindfulness and relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga can also help manage stress.

How can I balance academics with staying healthy?

Effective time management is key to balancing academics with health. Create a schedule that includes time for classes, study sessions, workouts, and relaxation. Taking regular breaks during study sessions to stretch or walk can also help maintain focus and productivity.

Are there any tips for sleeping well while studying abroad?

Establish a regular sleep schedule and create a restful environment in your room. Avoid screen time before bed and try relaxation techniques like reading or meditating. Make sure your sleeping area is comfortable and free from distractions.

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