By The Florence Crew
Staying in shape during a study abroad semester can be difficult. Priorities and schedules shift and you may find yourself out 90% of the week with barely enough energy to sit through Art History class. Also, aside from being delicious, the Italian diet is a carbohydrate nightmare. So aside from avoiding a pound or two of pasta per day, there are some things you can do without access to a gym in order to stay active and in decent shape.
Walk everywhere. When possible, walk! While it may be tempting sometimes, avoid taking public transportation to get from point A to point B. Not only will you hold on tight to some much needed euros, but you’ll be helping to walk off that kebab from the night before.
Go for a hike. There are a few local options for this one.
1. Grab a few friends and head up to Piazza Michelangelo, or even further up to San Miniato. The views are spectacular – especially during sunset. The walk up is definitely considered a work-out and you can make an afternoon or evening out of it if you bring some picnic goodies along.
2. Take the 7 bus from Piazza di San Marco to Fiesole. It is a short 20 minute ride to a small country-side town just outside of Florence that provides the same incredible views from Piazza Michelangelo – just on the opposite side of the city. If you’re looking to go for a short visit, you can just walk up the (very) steep hill for a great photo opp. After you catch your breath, keep walking up to the free museum which includes a look into monk’s cells and a mummified cat. For a longer visit to Fiesole, walk past the main piazza to the right and you will find hiking trails that spit you out into the Tuscan woods.
3. Over the next few Sundays, Bus2alps will be heading to Cinque Terre for some serious hiking followed up by some beach time. We typically hike from Vernazza to Monterosso, which is a moderate to difficult trail that takes about 1.5 hours. Luckily, the coastal views are so breathtaking you will be too distracted to realize what a good work out you are getting.
Try a Yoga class. If the gym isn’t your thing but you still want to get some scheduled work out time in – try a yoga class. Studios like 19/r offer yoga and pilates classes throughout the day and into the evening at discounted rates for students. While most of the instructors are American, they teach half the class in English and half in Italian. You can get in shape and expand your Italian vocab at the same time!
Portion control. Ok, let’s be honest. This one is way easier said than done, but hear me out. You are only in Europe for a short period of time and it wouldn’t be fair to deny yourself of all the delicious goodness surrounding you. However, it might be a good idea to share your pizza with your bestie instead of going solo on it. Just some food for thought 🙂
Be Creative. If you don’t have the time or the money to go to the gym, you can use your surroundings to your advantage. This video explains it all…