Top of main content

Tips to staying fit and healthy as an expat

Happiness, family and financial security are among the top goals for many expats. But keeping fit and healthy, both mentally and physically, may become more difficult as you settle into a new country and routine.

It doesn't have to be a burden or cost a fortune. If it's a priority for you to maintain your health, check out these tips that could help you get 'back in the saddle'!

Establish your new routine

You may be starting a new job and settling into a new life abroad, so it may take sometime to establish your new routine. Use this as an opportunity to kick start those healthy habits by incorporating exercise and healthy eating into your day. Whether that's going for a quick run or swim before work or planning your shop to cooking from scratch in the evening, identify where you could add quality time for yourself and watch it as it turns into a habit. You could even take a bike to work and kill two birds with one stone.

Remember, a habit takes on average 60 days to fully take effect for it to be automatic, so keep at it!

Free as a bee fitness

Put your trainers on and make the most of the outdoors. You don't have to have a fancy gym membership to keep fit - use what you have around you. Whether this is paths, roads, tracks or even your living room, with a bit of inspiration you can create your home gym where ever you want. You can also track your fitness journey with apps like My Fitness Pal, MapMyRun or Strava. It's a great way to share your activity with your friends and family.

Sports injuries can be a drag. Hopefully you got yourself some health insurance before you moved house.

adidas Runners

Running – you can do it anywhere, anytime. Meet up with this group of expats and locals to discover hidden trails and urban alleys. Adidas Runners is an international community offering running clubs around the world an opportunity to get fit as a running beginner or as an advanced athlete.

Check out more information here.

Hydration is key

Changes in temperature and altitude can affect how much water your body needs. Keep your water bottle filled up and with you to ensure you're drinking the recommended amount of around 2 litres of water per day.

Barry's boot camp

It's the original HIIT workout. We bet you haven't experienced anything like this. With studios all around the world, Barry's boot camp offers High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) classes for its international community. Made up of 50% treadmill and 50% strength training, it's the perfect all-round workout for those who need a quick and intense session before or after work.

Find out where you can find your Barry's Bootcamp studio here

YouTube, aka your new personal trainer

Don't have time or the money to hire a personal trainer and go to the gym?

Well, you can exercise in the comfort of your own home with just a mat, a towel and a bottle of water. Work out in your pajamas? Why not! FitnessBlender is currently the most popular exercise channel on YouTube. This healthy husband and wife duo have garnered over 5.8 million subscribers with 500 workout videos, and users like the "no frills" approach to fitness. Working out at home doesn't require a gym membership or much equipment, but you will need motivation.

Take free YouTube videos one step further with a bit of equipment, like free weights or a cardio machine – whatever you have space for. The best equipment allows you to use your body weight, so there's no need for bulky machines. Go for resistance bands, dumbbells, a pull-up bar and even space-saving mini elliptical and stationary bikes. You'll be looking so good, you may want to hit a real gym just to show off.

Eating sensibly

Settling into a new country can be exciting as often you discover a brand new culture, and of course, their food! Going for dinners after work or going out with the family is important, but equally ensure you are excising good portion control when you eat to make sure you're not overindulging. This could be using a smaller plate, asking for a salad as a side rather than fries, and understanding what a portion of a certain food group is.

Learn more about our international services

Trying to stick to an exercise routine is not the only thing that's hard when you relocate. We offer services for expats who could use a little help with their move, like professional property and education consultants, full global banking services, and country guides.

We can't help you get in shape, but we can help you get settled.

Learn more about our international services.


HSBC Holdings plc has prepared this article based on publicly available information at the time of preparation from sources it believes to be reliable but it has not independently verified such information. HSBC Holdings plc and the HSBC Group (together, "HSBC") are not responsible for any loss, damage, liabilities or other consequences of any kind that you may incur or suffer as a result of, arising from or relating to your use of or reliance on this article. The contents of this article are subject to change without notice. HSBC gives no guarantee, representation or warranty as to the accuracy, timeliness or completeness of this article.


This article is not investment advice or a recommendation nor is it intended to sell investments or services or solicit purchases or subscriptions. This article should not be used as the basis for any decision on taxation, estate, trusts or legacy planning. You should not use or rely on this article in making any investment decision. HSBC is not responsible for such use or reliance by you. Any market information shown refers to the past and should not be seen as an indication of future market performance. You should always consider seeking professional advice when thinking about undertaking any form of prime residential or commercial property purchase, sale or rental. You should consult your professional advisor in your jurisdiction if you have any questions regarding the contents of this article.