What comes to mind when you think of South America? Maybe the Inca masterpiece Macchu Picchu in Peru, the lively Copacabana Beach in Brazil, or the stunning Patagonia Mountains in Argentina. From beaches to jungles to mountains to deserts, South America has it all and that fact is not overlooked by its inhabitants. It’s a known fact that South Americans are adventurous, fit, and healthy. While most of us in North America and Europe, spend most of our days inside, South Americans love to spend time outside in parks with friends and family. While there is the advantage that the weather is warmer, there are several fitness and health habits that can be learned from South Americans that can be brought back home. After traveling around South America for a month and a half, here are my five fitness habits that I will be taking away from South America:
- Sports=Socializing: Kids actually are kids here and play in the park to have fun with their friends. People don’t live on their phones, they actually go outside and play sports such as soccer or basketball to interact. Just yesterday I played basketball with the waiter from one of the cafes that I had breakfast at. I have learned to get away from technology more and get back to basics. Sports bring people together and those words have never rung truer than in South America.
- Food To Feed The Soul: People don’t eat to slim down and look good in their next Instagram post. They eat for themselves and don’t worry about their weight. (Insert number on eating disorders in Ecuador and overweight) They eat because they are in the company of their friends and family while indulging in moderation. The portions are smaller and the food is fresher. Many tourists here lose weight in South America just because the quality of food is so much higher. With that being said, not many South Americans skip on their desserts (“postres”) especially with a mid-afternoon espresso.
- Outdoor Workout Parks: Each city has their own workout park full of pull up bars, dips..etc. In Chicago, we have one along the Lakefront, but I don’t know too many other cities with them. In South America, they are in every city that I have been to and frequently in use. We can take after South Americans and do our own bodyweight workout in a local park such as my 1,000 Rep Inferno.
- People Love Their Fitness Activity: South Americans are passionate about what fitness activity they are doing and no one seems forced or hates what they are doing. If they don’t enjoy it, they won’t do it. Working out is not a chore. Another thing is that South Americans love to joke and laugh. Everyone just wants to live life to the fullest and laughs at themselves. Less stress, more laughs. At the cafe work at in Banios, Ecuador, everyone is full of energy and happy to be where they are. People are fun loving and joking around even when things are tense. I have learned to be easy and remember that everything will be okay at the end of the day.
- Dance: There is always music blaring in the streets at all hours of the day and night. You never know when an impromptu dance party might break out. South Americans love to dance and all of the gyms offer Zumba. It is in their blood and part of their culture. Dancing is how they express themselves, but also a metaphor for their low key, laid back lifestyle that is full of love and joy. In South America, it is much more about form than function. The art and expression is much more appreciated and celebrated. That can be seen in how South Americans shake their hips!
About the author:
I started CarryOnTravelFitness because I have found over the course of my travel adventures and fitness journey that you often times are forced to choose one. I want to show that you don’t have to ‘check’ traveling or staying in shape, but carry on both by posting street workouts, street basketball court locations, and worthy enough gyms. After I graduated from Texas Christian University (Go Horned Frogs!) this past December, I went on a backpacking trip around South America and then I will start a one year working holiday visa in Australia in September. I am currently based in Montreal, QC for the summer and will be working on earning my ACE (American Council on Exercise) personal training certification. Be sure to follow along! Travel. Fitness. Together. You can find out more or on my social media pages below: