How a Gap Year Can Help You Lose Weight

Profile picture of
Vicky Philpott

View Profile All Posts
Written by: Vicky Philpott

Turns out we’re set to be a nation of fatties come 2040, well half of us anyway. The National Obesity Forum spokesperson, Tam Fry (real surname?! Suggest change to poach or bake? ) says that by 2040, 50% of us will be classified as obese. The health issues related to this are predicted to cost the UK more than £50million. But it’s not the money that matters so much – it’s your health, your mobility, your life.

Chairman of the Forum, David Haslam says “‘Not only is the obesity situation not improving but the doomsday scenario set out in that report might underestimate the true scale of the problem.”

So, what can you do to prevent yourself wheezing as you climb the stairs, sweating as you waddle to the bus stop or wiping your bed sores when you’ve let yourself go just that little bit too far?

Go on a gap year, of course!

Staying healthy on your gap year

We can guarantee that in the average gap year your day will look like this:

  • Jump our your bunk bed excited for the day – walk to the showers
  • Go and find breakfast – quite hot so you don’t want too much, just some fruit
  • Walk around and explore, for hours
  • Go to the beach and walk in the sand / swim in the sea
  • Try some locally cooked, locally sourced cuisine
  • Go trekking
  • Lift your backpack
  • Walk to the train station to save paying for transport
  • Walk the streets having a few beers in the fading sun

You get the idea.

While, if you stay at home you’re looking more like this:

  • Walk two steps to the shower
  • Fatty breakfast to keep you warm
  • Get in your car and drive to work / college
  • Sit, all day
  • Eat some fatty food
  • Sit some more
  • Eat because you’re bored – high sugar, high calorie
  • Get in your car to go home
  • Make a half hearted attempt at the gym
  • Meet friends for a beer and sit down in pub
  • Grab a kebab
  • Sleep

Which lifestyle would you prefer?

The one where you’re outside soaking up the sun all day, testing your body to its limits and munching on locally produced cuisine or the one you sit on your arse, all day long, eating packaged crap from the local supermarket?

There’s plenty of time for the latter when you’re old and ladened down with kids. Now it’s time to live and stick with the former.

Your healthy gap year

Taking a gap year is the perfect opportunity to lose a few inches off your thighs and tone that six pack. If you’ve gone a bit crazy on the cheeseburgers and alcopops the last few years you could take a gap year to turn your lifestyle around, and get yourself into some healthy habits. The freedom of not having a desk job, means you have all the more time to get outside and explore the world.

In all the crazy adventures and exploits gappers enjoy, you may even find a new calling in life. You might actually like some sort of exercise, and you may even be good at it. Your parents won’t recognise you when you come back home.

Chilling on the beach on a gap year

Calorie exertion comparison

Gap year

  • Climbing Kilimanjaro (6,500 per day)
  • Scuba diving (500p/h)
  • Farm work (500p/h)
  • Skydiving (238p/h)
  • Skiing (400p/h)

Fat year

  • Sitting at work / school (53p/h)
  • Working at a pub (200p/h)
  • Driving (122p/h)
  • Walking (136p/h)
  • Running (900p/h)

Days on end exploring new places is much better for your physical and mental health than sitting indoors, especially in your early 20s. The obesity epidemic is down to sedentary lifestyles

The thing about gap years is that you’re up and about all the time, or at least more than you would be at home. Some gappers get settled in one place and just like to chill out in a hammock on a beach, maybe do a bit of work in a bar and then party all night. While others prefer to use their gap year to add to their CV – volunteering here, working there – either way they’re outside, moving about and experiencing new things. All vital aspects of staying healthy and losing weight.

So along with the fact that your gap year will be the best time of your life, you’re going to learn loads, do loads, see loads, and meet more new friends than you ever imagined, going on a gap year is also great for your health.

What else can we say to persuade you?!

Check out these top travel experiences


Surf camp in Australia

from £250

2 - 84 days


Begin surfing or improve your existing skills with expert instructors in a small and friendly community south of Sydney. Excellent...

Southeast Asia Explorer with Gapforce

from £2200

28 - 56 days

Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam

From Bangkok to Halong Bay on an 8 week adventure!

South America Explore with Gapforce

from £2400

28 - 56 days


A Trek to Machu Picchu, volunteering at our jungle animal sanctuary, learn Spanish and complete important community development work.

South Africa Adventure with Gapforce

from £2200

28 days

South Africa

Your adventure starts in the Mother City – Cape Town then it's on to road trips and conservation reserves! An...

Ski Instructor Training Course with Gapforce

from £8,400

77 days


From Red run to International Level 1 and Level 2 BASI Ski Instructor, our popular 11 week gap year ski...

Nepal and India Adventure with Gapforce

from £2,400

28 - 56 days

India, Nepal

Join us on an amazing and diverse adventure through the lost kingdoms of Nepal and onwards to breathtaking India, including...

Fiji Marine Conservation with Gapforce

from £2500

56 days


Learn how to protect the reef, learn to become an experienced diver and weekly community visits & free time in...

Expedition Leader Training with Gapforce

from £8,200

112 days

Costa Rica, United Kingdom

Guaranteed job on graduation of this course. Learn key Survival, Leadership and Management skills on this amazing course.

Costa Rica Marine Adventure with Gapforce

from £2400

28 days

Costa Rica

Incredible landscapes, a huge diversity of wildlife and an exciting culture are only a small part of what will make...

Costa Rica and Nicaragua Expedition with Gapforce

from £2200

28 - 56 days

Costa Rica, Nicaragua

Learn exciting bushcraft techniques including fire lighting and jungle survival, conserve turtles, chill at beaches & lakes, learn Spanish and...

Find more articles about travel health

[contact-form-7 id="4" title="Contact form 1"]