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Global “Fitness Breaks” study examines how and why people exercise while traveling

Australians and Americans likeliest to exercise when traveling, British and Germans least likely.

BELLEVUE, WASH. – released the results of the 2017 Expedia Fitness Breaks Study, executed in partnership with Google Consumer Surveys. The Fitness Breaks Study asked more than 7,000 residents of seven countries – Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States – how they incorporate exercise into their travel regimen.

The study found the most active travelers are Australians, with a full 55% believing it is important to exercise while traveling. Americans come in a close second, at 53%. The people least likely to prioritize exercise while traveling can be found in England, with only 43% identifying exercise as important. 

The highest percentage of people who outright refuse to exercise while traveling can be found in France, at 23%. Only 10% of Americans say they "don't work out while they travel" at all, the lowest percentage in the field. The rankings on both metrics follow:

Travelers around the world feel it is "very or somewhat important" to exercise while traveling

1.       Australia:    

55 percent

2.       US:             

53 percent

3.       Canada:       

51 percent

4.       Spain:           

49 percent

5.       France:          

48 percent

6.       Germany:       

43 percent

7.       UK:                

42 percent

Travelers who "don't work out while they travel"

1.       France:      

23 percent

2.       Spain:         

22 percent

3.       Germany:     

14 percent

4.       UK:               

14 percent

5.       Canada:         

13 percent

6.       Australia:        

12 percent

7.       US:                 

10 percent

Exercise enriches travel experiences 
Globally, among those who do exercise while traveling, 22% claim to do so to balance indulgent food, an opinion shared most by the French (31%), the Australians (29%) and Americans (27%).

According to the Fitness Breaks findings, fitness activities also facilitate authentic experiences when traveling, with 16% of the French and 13% of Aussies exercising because it allows them to "see new areas of the destination."

Simply walking/exploring a new city is, by far, the most popular exercise undertaken while traveling, an opinion shared by 47% of all respondents. Exploration walks are most popular for Australians (just over 56%), the British (just under 56%) and Canadians (53%). The French are most likely (34%) to take guided walking tours, also enjoying long runs when traveling. Germans are most likely to hop on a bike (28%). Also, exercise helps travelers to keep their total shape and fitness.

Fitness-focused travelers adapt to their surroundings 
Fitness-focused travelers often exercise differently when traveling. Americans are most likely to modify their typical workout routine when away from home (42%). A full 41% of Aussies do the same, while only 20% of the Spanish – the least in the field – alter their regular regimen.

Many exercise-focused travelers simply "create my own workout" in some fashion when travelling. Canadians lead the way (47%), closely followed by Americans (45%) and Australians (just under 45%). Just under a quarter (24%) of the French "find local fitness activities" to undertake, the most in the field, while the British (11%) are the least likely to do so.

When it comes to accommodation, Americans (39%) are most likely to "expect fitness offerings at your accommodations" while traveling, followed by Canadians (just under 39%) and Australians (33%). The French, at 14%, are least likely to expect such features.

Fitness Breaks 
Given the willingness of fitness-minded travelers to continue their regimen while traveling, Expedia has launched a campaign to help them do so. Dubbed "Fitness Breaks," the campaign features travel influencers in Denver (The Bitter Southerner and Blue Mountain Belle), Seattle (Bokanev and Mr. and Mrs. Globetrot) and Washington, DC (Melinda Parrish and TravelFreak).

Each influencer was asked to design and experience custom itineraries – tracking their steps all the while – and to craft workouts designed to help travelers explore new destinations. The influencers have developed video guides, healthy eating suggestions and different clever fitness activities to undertake while on the road.