Living life as a digital nomad is now a realistic lifestyle possibility for people worldwide. Those working remotely often find themselves living exciting lives, with plenty of variety within easy reach.
Settling into a healthy routine may prove to be difficult, however, and many expats find themselves ignoring good habits and adopting bad ones. Here we suggest several ways for you to keep your body in good condition during your life abroad – from fundamentals such as quality exercise and sleep, to ensuring that you have proper digital nomad health insurance.
For digital nomads who are always on the move, a gym membership may be difficult to obtain. Therefore, we recommend developing a health and fitness regime that is realistic and you can maintain, even without a gym or equipment.
If you plan to work directly from your accommodation for long hours, you can easily exercise without even going outside. Find a comfortable space and perform light exercises like squats, push-ups and crunches. For more-advanced exercises, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is another great way to stay healthy, and can be performed with limited access to equipment. Running also provides a good workout, and can stand in as a free alternative.
If you do prefer going to a gym, there are many that offer drop-in sessions without needing to sign up for a long-term membership. There are also gym franchises which have branches all around the world, so a membership in one country will be useful everywhere. Apps such as Class Pass allow you to dip and dive into gyms all over the place.
Being an active digital nomad also provides you with new ways to exercise. Unlike those who work in more formal offices, digital nomads often have the opportunity to travel and work from a beach town or other type of ‘holiday’ destination. If you are working from home or remotely in a town near water, exercise opportunities should be plentiful. You can swim, dive, or even try a new water sport. If you spend time at the beach, make use of that time and stay active.
Our interview with fitness expert Nil Gonzales showed that there is no single best method of exercise. People find it much easier to get in the habit of doing exercise that they enjoy; otherwise they tend to give up. “The most useful type of exercise is the one you are doing. It's important to find something you like and you can stick to,” he said.
For this reason, it’s important to explore each area you travel to. Every city has its own – sometimes unique – ways that expats can exercise and remain healthy. As a digital nomad, it may be hard to keep a strict schedule; however, by setting daily targets, a good exercise routine can indeed be formed and maintained.
Of course, staying healthy as a digital nomad does not exclusively revolve around exercising. There are other considerations, such as:
Working indoors every day – at home or even a café – gives minimal exposure to direct sunlight, which can lead to a vitamin D deficiency. Digital nomads should be sure to go outside when they can. Even if you have nowhere you need to be, a simple walk after lunch is a great way to get more sunlight and fresh air. Performing your exercise routine outdoors will also help.
Many digital nomads fail to get enough sleep. Late nights out, the ordeal of travel, and unfamiliar surroundings tend to get in the way of a regular sleep schedule.
Digital nomads often end up relying on caffeine to stay awake (don’t we all!), especially when there are work deadlines to meet. But this strategy is unhealthy, and ultimately ineffective. A study by Americans for Sleep Medicine found that caffeine provides increased energy for only a couple of days. After three days of restricted sleep, caffeine was found to be no longer effective in improving alertness and performance. When your body tells you to rest, it’s usually a good idea to listen.
It can be tempting indeed to indulge in all the amazing cuisine available when living overseas, especially in Thailand. However, although life as a digital nomad may feel like a vacation at times, it’s still important to have well-rounded meals.
Alcohol presents a similar situation: You may be tempted to treat life like it’s a big holiday, but alcohol (and cigarettes, and drugs) quickly lead to adverse health effects. Having a properly balanced diet is just as important as any other element of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
It is wise to take advantage of the benefits that technology brings. Various health apps can help you maintain your exercise levels, food intake, and sleep habits, making it easier to stay healthy while on the move.
Proper access to hospitals
Even if you exercise regularly, eat well, and maintain an overall healthy lifestyle, you may still feel unwell on occasion – or have an accident and might have to access emergency medical health care. It is critical for digital nomads to have proper health insurance, so that you can be covered and stay healthy no matter where you are.
For digital nomads, health insurance company options may be confusing, as it is difficult to navigate the complexities of healthcare systems overseas. Illness, transportation accidents, and regular check-ups mean that occasional hospital visits will be a necessity for digital nomads. Health insurance is therefore vital to ensure that you are covered no matter where you are working and living.
Luma Health Insurance plans make coverage simple and comprehensive, providing world-class coverage for expats and those working remotely in Southeast Asia.
By adopting the right daily habits, taking care as you travel the world, and protecting yourself with comprehensive coverage, you’ll be able to rest easy and enjoy the full benefits and excitement of life overseas.
It’s all about the work life balance!