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Staying healthy abroad

April 28, 2017
by CEA CAPA Content Creator

When I arrived in Dublin 9 weeks ago (still not accepting how quickly time has flown by!), I was thrown off my routine for a few days. Everybody was trying to adjust to the time change, going to our orientation sessions, and adjusting to life in a new country. After about the third day, I noticed that I really wasn't coming around, and that's when I realized I had been missing one key factor from my routine - exercise.

For me, being active is the best way to avoid stress. I have more energy, I feel better, and I don't feel guilty about diving into a full Irish breakfast later. There are plenty of gyms near student housing here in Dublin, but there are tons of other ways to stay healthy while you're abroad too, no matter what city you're in.

 Overlooking Galway Bay atop Diamond Mountain in the Connemara State Park

Check out the parks

Dublin has a massive park about a mile and a half from CEA housing, and it's laden with all sorts of trails, from paved to gravel to wooded to street side. You don't have to run a marathon by any means, but walking, jogging, or anything like that is a great (free!) way to get outside, explore the city, and get some activity in.

 Views of the Wicklow Mountains from Phoenix Park

Take the long way to school

It takes me about 15 minutes to walk to school if I take the most efficient way (it can be done in about 12 if I'm running really late), but if I have some extra time, weaving through the Grafton Street area or exploring any of the Quays can add anywhere from 10 to 50 extra minutes to my route. Add a backpack in and you've basically just done cardio and weights in one.

 Part of the trail on a recent hike in Glendalough in County Wicklow

Climb the mountains

I would not have described myself as a great lover of nature before I came here, but after climbing several mountains nearby, including trails in Glendalough, Bray, Howth, a farther away one in Connemara, and even Arthur's Seat in Scotland, I think I might be becoming a nature person. It's another great way to see the country, getting there using the public transport systems is really easy, and the pictures you get will be phenomenal. #doitforthegram

 Climbing Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh, Scotland!

Make grocery shopping a sport

This one is actually the most physically strenuous one I've experienced here, ironically. The closest grocery stores are about a 10 minute walk from the compound where we all live. We don't have cars, and the public transportation system that would run right by us is under construction, so that means that we have to walk. If you buy all the groceries you need for one week, put them in two bags, and hoof it home, you can add in some interesting arm exercises because I promise you, those grocery bags will make your arms feel like jello in about 3 minutes.

Find a buddy

For me, one of the best motivators to stay on my routine has been my roommate, Tyler. We decided to join a nearby gym and quickly paired up knowing that we'd need each other to stay accountable. Both of us know that we'll feel so much better if we force each other to go to the gym every morning, and I know when I get the "are you up?" text, it's time to get going. Let's be real, I probably would press snooze on 7:30 AM spin class without her.

 Tyler and I at the top of Festun Hohensalzburg in Salzburg, Austria. It was a bit of a hike to get up there but the view was worth it!

Victoria N. is the Spring 2017 MOJO Blogger in Dublin, Ireland. She is currently a junior studying Commerce & Business at Rhodes College.
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