Keeping fit in Shanghai is hard. I would describe myself as being on the healthy side and I am thankful for that because living in Shanghai makes being healthy very difficult. From long work hours to the endless happy hours, the gym isn’t always at the top of the list. Couple this with oppressive smog and a lack of affordable, truly fresh food and it can make for a few extra ‘l.b.’s around one’s waistband. Some of my go-to ways of keeping fit are below. The next step is to work on motivation…..
Morning walks – If I can haul myself out of bed, a morning walk is my favorite way to start the day. There is something special about mornings in Shanghai. People are starting their day, whether it’s brushing their teeth outside their house, opening their shop or headed somewhere in their brand new BMW, you truly get to see Shanghai come awake.
Shanghai is known as a late night town. You can party everyday of the week until 6 a.m., but I prefer the mornings!
Biking to work & around town – This one is great especially when the weather is nice. Shanghai traffic is notoriously bad and depending where you are headed it can take up to an hour to go 2.5 miles. Insane. Taking bikes is probably about 20-30 minutes and far superior. Driving through stalled cars is a great feeling and the extra benefit of a little exercise is always good.
Yoga – Since I don’t do much cardio due to not wanting to breathe deep in Shanghai, yoga has become my go-to. If I don’t practice for a few days I can feel it in my legs, body and mind. Although, I miss cardio, yoga helps keep me sane. From my yoga studio in Jingan to online classes I try to fit a little in (even five minutes) each day. Some of my favorites are the free downloads from YogaDownload.com and New York magazine put out some nice recommendations of other free online classes.
Cardio – The best kind of exercise for me yet the most dreaded. Cardio helps me relieve stress and anxiety and is much needed, but I often don’t do it enough. I miss running, and walking is good but sometimes you have to mix things up. A few favorites are the old standby of Jillian Michaels DVDs and the great online resource, Fitness Blender, which has a plethora of workouts in many lengths and styles. A recent addition is Guava Pass. While I’ve only tried a two-week free trial I’m planning on going all in March this year. Guava Pass, like Class Pass, lets you try a variety of different workouts and studios. As there are some very cool exercise studios from spin, yoga, dance, crossfit and more, Guava Pass is a great way to experience the city, meet new friends and workout all at the same time.
And there it is – Happy health to you! Now, what do you do to stay sane?