Munich is a busy city and there is a ton of hustle and bustle going on. It also offers lots of choices for transport options so a few tweaks to your routine can help you maximise your daily calorie burn and get fit as you move around the city. Whether you’re a gym bunny or a couch potato, extra movement can have a positive impact on your health, your happiness and your enjoyment of the city we live in. In this article, I’m going to cover the usual suspects (such as the U-Bahn and tram) but our goal is to show how an open frame of mind lets you spot alternative options that may provide you with some extra health benefits by making just a few changes in your daily life. If you find a neat place to get some extra steps or have a tip we haven’t mentioned, leave us a comment! Even the LMBB Fitness Team needs new ideas for how to move more sometimes.
1. Get off at a different stop
You walked to the nearest S-Bahn platform or shimmied down to your closest blue and white signed U-Bahn station… But what if you got off two stops earlier than your destination and walked the rest of the way to the office or play date? What if you walked two stops farther on your commute home from the office and then hopped on the bus? Particularly in central Munich, stops are typically between 400-800 meters apart – about a 5-10 minute walk. Extra steps walked means an extra calorie burn. An extra calorie burn combined with healthy eating will lead to less weight being carried around on your body over time. Sure, you may get less time endlessly scrolling on your cell phone but the internet will still be there when you get home.
2. Vary your route
OK, maybe you already walk to the grocery store or to the park or to work. Try taking a different, longer route some days. Not only will you get a few more steps in but you’ll discover new things about your neighbourhood – maybe there’s a speciality grocery store where you can find that ingredient you’ve missed from back home. Maybe there’s a great kid’s play park or just a lovely sunny spot to sit. You’ll almost certainly find a new favourite bakery, so if you’re watching your weight you may need to change your route again!
3. Do a mini walking challenge
Have you ever challenged yourself to walk everywhere for one whole day? And I mean everywhere – no hopping on the bus! You can set a goal like “I am going to walk to the city centre and home” or “I am going to push the buggy to the Deutsches Museum” or “My toddler and I are going to both walk to the nearest park and then to the grocery store, with out jumping on public transportation”. Whatever works for you – just make it a little bit difficult.
A little secret about me, something that I am working on dealing with, is that I don’t take public transportation unless absolutely necessary. This is partly out of fear, partly because I don’t like confined spaces and mostly because I am a germaphobe. So if I am going to buy that pretty blue ruffle top I saw on sale at Zara, I have to get out in the fresh air and walk myself down to the city centre and get it! I swear all my post pregnancy weight melted off my body because I refused to jump on the tram. Instead, I had to push my double stroller through the snow during one of the worst Munich winters I can remember (2012…blah!) and although it wasn’t always fun it was great exercise.
4. Hop on your bike
Sometimes I feel as though bikes have more rights in this town then pedestrians or cars. Munich is a great place to get on your bike, and there are lots of benefits. Your legs, core (tummy area) and arms are all engaged when you are on your bike and the caloric burn can really rev things up. I even ride my bike to pick up my take-away. Hey, it is either the Deliveroo Service Representative or me getting the extra calorie burn right before I stuff my face with saffron deliciousness Dhaba. I choose me. If you haven’t cycled in a while, there are plenty of bike rental shops around the city. Cycling really is like riding a bike – you won’t take long to get back in the swing of it. You can find more information about cycling in Munich on the official city website.
5. Skateboard, scoot, roller blade or skate
Did you love your roller blades, skates, scooter or skateboard as a kid? Do you still have them stashed in your Keller – or perhaps at your parent’s house – collecting dust? Get them out! Where I come from there are dirt roads and ditches. No chance to glide freely down the avenue on my blades while exercising and having fun. But in this city there are endless opportunities to do this. As well as paths and parks in your own neighbourhood, you can go for mile after mile (or kilometer after kilometer) down along the Isar.
An adult will typically burn 538-1,338 calories per 60 minutes on roller blades. The exact number depends on your height and weight – and the effort you put in! The primary muscles involved in roller skating are the hip abductors, the quadriceps, hamstrings (my nemesis), shins, and calves. It’s also great for the secondary muscles involved such as the abdominal muscles, back and obliques. Roller blades can also be a mode of transport: I have actually seen people in the grocery stores with them on. If you aren’t causing a ruckus, but wanted blade down to the local market to pick up breakfast, lunch or dinner, it seems like a win-win.
6. Run around town
If walking is too slow, why not run? Many offices have showers available for people who cycle to work, so you can also run. You can also run home from somewhere – perhaps take the tram into the city for a mom date or to drop the kids off and jog home. You may feel self-conscious doing the grocery shopping sweaty and dishevelled or turning up to the Mommtische in running gear but try to get over that! No one is going to be judging you on the way you look, so please don’t ever let that be the reason you don’t do it. and if people are then just look at them and smile knowing that your heart is happier and healthier in that moment because you choose to get out and do something. If you want to run with a baby or child in a stroller, be sure to get an age-appropriate stroller designed for running. This will keep your kid safe from the bumps and shocks of moving quickly.
I have a love-hate relationship with jogging. Jogging for me is not fun – it is work. It is good work though. I love the way I feel after I do it and I know (because I am conscious about it and measure it) that it is doing exactly as I what I hoped for it to do which is trimming my waistline. I know, because I have done the research that jogging (for me at my height, weight and speed I run) has the most caloric burn out of all the ways to move I’ve listed above. In comparison to roller blading I feel as though I am fully engaged when I jog – I can’t coast like I can when I am on roller blades.
7. Do more of what you love
When all said and done you can get fit, improve your health and lose weight by walking, cycling, rollerblading, jogging, dancing, skipping, walking the dog, playing football with your kids or any other regular movement. Making a few small changes to how you get about town can make a huge impact on your fitness and also boost your calorie burn ultimately shaping up your waistline and toning your primary and secondary muscles. So don’t take the tram just because that is the easy thing to do: challenge yourself to get moving – and then come back and tell us about it!
Carolyn is a small business woman, previous firefighter and creative soul who, while living in Munich, fell in love with the city and its vibrant international women’s community. Even though she’s moved back to the States she enjoys writing for LMBB, where she shares her experience of creatively working out while mothering two children and keeping up both her house & business running. Carolyn is the soul behind Poppy’s Garden and is currently working as a consultant for Rodan & Fields.
Photo credit: Hailing from sunny Florida, Loralee is an English & Spanish speaking family & children photographer who enjoys capturing bright colors, big smiles & childhood memories. She is a Munich resident since 2015 and mom to one very cute little girl. Find her work at Loralee Photography.