GFGL TRAVEL FIT BLOG: Fitness with the Locals

As a foreigner in a new land with an unknown language, everything sounds intimidating. Naturally, I have been resorting to the running trail, and the running trail only. But I’m just beginning one of the best experiences of my life: a semester in Europe. What would be a better way to immerse myself in the local culture than with the locals working out?

I’ve discovered (in the week that I’ve been here) that Spaniards like to stay outside and away from gyms. There are not many gyms around where I live, but they are expensive if there even are any.

This is what we have in Spain, but I found this picture from the blog at This picture was taken in China

1) Dancing

Spaniards love to dance! At the clubs, their nights do not start until midnight–and that’s early for them. Locals will dance until 6 a.m. If the clubs are not your thing, try dancing classes. My university offers Basque Dancing as a 1-credit class option. All types of dances are different, but dances are a great cardiovascular and full body workout.

2) Futbol

Futbol (or soccer) may not be very popular in America, but you cannot escape it anywhere else in the world. There is always a pickup game being played, and, as a former soccer player, I can tell you that it’s an entire body workout. Futbol is a great alternative to running.

3) Local seasonal sports

Getxo, Spain is suppose to be an amazing surf spot. It hosts competitions throughout the year at its beautiful beaches. Surfing is a great upper body workout, not to mention it will give you an amazing adrenaline rush. Besides, no two waves are the same. Kayaking is also another great upper body workout when the weather is nice.

I also live next to multiple mountains that have ski resorts. I have yet to make my way up there, but if you want some killer legs, skiing is an option.

4) Be a tourist

I’m not sure about the rest of Europe, but Spaniards love to walk. They don’t have the quick New Yorker pace though. It’s a very slow stroll. And don’t be afraid because it doesn’t take a run or a strength workout to be sore. Take a walk around the city and be a tourist. No one will ever know you are foreign.

5) Outdoor gyms

I can’t escape running, and it doesn’t help that Bilbao and Getxo have (free) outdoor gyms along their running path (See picture).

Each of these options are available at home. If you ever needs a boost from your typical gym regime, don’t be afraid to get outside!

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