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Keeping Active While Abroad

Before I departed for Spain, one of my biggest concerns about studying abroad was how I was going to stay fit and healthy. I was going to be away from my normal gym without my normal equipment and resources, and I would be back to eating in a dining hall with very few options when it came to meal time. During my semester here, I have learned that you have to adjust your normal habits to accommodate your new surroundings.

In the United States, I frequently habit the gym, often using the cardio machines or weight equipment. However, in Spanish culture regular exercise at the gym is much less common, and the few gyms that exist here have the amenities I am used to. Because I am pretty frugal and because I discovered that much of the equipment I normally use at gyms would not be available anyway, I decided to forego a gym membership and find free ways to work up a sweat.

I have fallen in love with something that I almost never did in the US: running in the fresh air, outdoors. I go on runs most days, spending all of that time in one of my favorite spots in Granada – Federico Garcia Lorca Park, a wonderland of trees, roses, ponds, and fountains located very close to the city center.

 My favorite photo I have taken of the park during a sunset jog

I am fortunate enough to have such a beautiful place to jog, I actually look forward to running which is something I NEVER thought was possible. To my delight, the big pond is also full of ducks, geese, fish, and turtles! As a huge animal lover, the chance to see adorable ducks makes jogging through the park that much better.

 Some turtles at Garcia Lorca park taking in the sun.

In addition to my jogging, I have taken up another very Spanish way of staying fit: walking. I enjoy living in a city because I can walk everywhere, and not only does that save money on transportation, but it is also healthy for you! I downloaded a pedometer app on my phone when I got here and use it almost obsessively. I walk at least five miles every day, usually more, all the while doing my normal commute or while exploring new areas of the city.
 Roses in Garcia Lorca Park - definitely a beautiful thing to see while exercising.

Finally, there is another fun activity that Granada provides, unlike many other cities. In less than twenty minutes of walking from my residencia, I can find myself in the hills that house the famous Alhambra. There are seemingly endless trails that circle around the Alhambra, across one of Granada´s rivers, and through a plethora of native flora. With such easy access, hiking is one of the best ways to get some exercise while observing beautiful landscapes and vistas.
 My pedometer app, using GPS,
shows me exactly where I
have hiked. Here you can see
just how close I was to Generalife and
how many twists and turns I take
during my hikes.

Once I get back to the States, I may revert back to my old fitness habits which would be fine! I also know that I now have some more options that I can implement into my daily life.

Eve Olson is the Fall 2015 CEA MOJO Blogger in Granada, Spain. She is currently a Junior at the University of Utah.

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