While I firmly believe in cutting yourself a little slack when you’re on vacation, a few smart strategies can make all the difference in how much time it takes to get back in shape when you get home.
7 Tips for Traveling Fit
A vacation can send your regular fitness routine off the deep end. But a good workout is still possible, even when you’re away from home. Follow these expert tips and practical suggestions for staying fit on the fly.
1. Pack your fitness clothes
“Health on the go is no longer an option, it’s a necessity,” says Steve Ehasz, fitness director at Maryland Athletic Club in Baltimore. Your hotel may have a gym or pool you can use, so plan ahead and pack your sneakers and a swimsuit.
You can also ask your hotel concierge for a map of local running routes and hiking trails, says Ehasz.
2. Bring an exercise video
Even if you only have 15 minutes before you head out, play your favorite fitness video on your laptop or smart phone, says Jessica Smith, a certified personal trainer and group exercise instructor in Miami Beach, Florida.
3. Pack a resistance band
A resistance band or loop won’t take up much room in your bag and can provide a great full-body workout.
“With bands or loops you can train your upper body with simple exercises like chest presses or back rows,” says Smith. “And you can train your lower body with exercises like resisted squats.”
4. Go exploring
If you take a jog around new neighborhoods and pedestrian-friendly parts of the town you’re visiting, your workout may feel less like work.
“The great thing about traveling to new places is it’s more interesting and exciting to get out and about,” says Smith.
5. Step it up
If you’re missing the stair-climber at the gym, the American Council on Exercise Web site suggests finding a sports stadium, multistory building or city staircase to walk up and down for five or 10 minutes.
6. Just do some
“Some exercise is always better than no exercise, even if it’s 10 minutes here and 15 minutes there,” says Kelly Wilson, a certified strength and conditioning specialist in Vermont. Any place where you can walk is an opportunity for interval training.
Wilson suggests alternating walking for five minutes with jogging for two minutes, followed by 10 minutes of walking to cool down. “If you’re new to jogging and can only go 15 seconds, that’s fine,” she says. “Slowly build up to two minutes.”
7. Terminate trouble spots
The trouble with traveling is that people forget how important exercise is when they’re away from their usual routines. To remind yourself, cut and paste your favorite do-anywhere mini-workout into your cell phone, or keep a note in your wallet.
Or, take along the Terminator exercise from certified personal trainer Susan Hyatt’s DVD, Rockstar Workout. “Three sets of 10 will burn up to 100 calories,” says Hyatt:
- Start in a plank (push-up) position.
- Jump both legs back to plank and perform a single push-up.
- Jump both feet forward to a crouch and do a squat jump (high, like you’re shooting a basket).