Help! I’m Going Away!
If you travel a lot for work, it can be frustrating trying to maintain an exercise routine. You may be lucky enough to have a hotel gym you can use, but your employer might only stretch to budget places with no such luxuries.
Or you might be going away on a much-needed holiday. Of course you’re excited, but you don’t want to get out of your fitness routine.
The good news is that you can still exercise while travelling – in your hotel room or outdoors.
What to Take With You
Generally you won’t want to take hand weights or other heavy equipment, owing to luggage space and weight restrictions. A resistance band, though, is extremely lightweight and takes up barely any space at all. Similarly, a skipping rope can be easily slipped into your luggage, giving you instant cardio wherever you go.
And don’t skimp when you pack your workout gear. Think of it as being as important as your undies. Take enough tops and shorts to last a few days before you can wash them. That way you’ll have no excuse not to exercise, and placing your runners next to your hotel bed will be a good reminder for you every morning.
What to Aim For
A lot of the exercises you can do while travelling use just your own bodyweight, others need a chair or park bench, and others simply require you to move and get your heart rate up.
One note of caution: if you’ve been used to doing a lot of weight training in the gym to build muscle and sculpt your body, you may find it hard to continue the same level of development using bodyweight exercises (like push-ups or step-ups).
Those kinds of exercises will, however, keep your fitness levels up, burn calories, help you retain some of your strength and prevent you from going back to square one when you return from your trip.
The most important thing is to stay active – after all, it’s so easy to over-indulge while you’re away. Setting aside 30 to 45 minutes each day for exercise will leave you feeling fitter and provide a greater incentive to choose healthier options at mealtimes.
Bodyweight Workouts on the Go
The term ‘bodyweight’ refers to exercises that don’t entail having to use machines or lift weights – your body’s own weight provides all the resistance required.
Examples include push-ups, tricep dips, lunges, squats, burpees and abdominal crunches.
If you’ve been exercising at home or in the gym already, you’ll be familiar with these exercises – if not, you can find YouTube or other videos that show you how to perform them correctly.
One of the main benefits of bodyweight exercises is that they can be done anywhere, so they’re ideal for working out while you’re travelling. You can do them easily in a hotel room or outdoors in a nearby park. In addition, you can combine them easily into circuits that will raise your heart rate and get you sweating.
Perform each of the above exercises in three sets of 12 repetitions, with a rest of 45 to 60 seconds between each set. So, start with 12 push-ups, rest, 12 more push-ups, rest, then the final 12 push-ups. Then move on to the next exercise (tricep dips, for example), performing three sets of 12 for that one.
Alternatively, you can do them in a circuit, doing 12 or 15 repetitions of each exercise, followed immediately by the next one, then the next and so on. Don’t rest between each set of exercises, but once you’ve completed all five, rest for around 90 seconds – you’ll need it! – and then repeat the whole circuit. Aim for three or four circuits.
Adding Some Weights
You can create your own weights while you’re away by using water bottles filled with water or sand or a backpack filled with books or stones. Use the water bottles to perform bicep curls and shoulder presses, and wear the backpack for lunges and squats.
Using a Resistance Band
Resistance bands are ideal for travelling – they’re super-light and are also versatile, so you can use them for lots of different exercises to incorporate into a workout.
They come in various forms. Some (like the Thera-Band) are simple strips of rubber, which are cut off a roll and come in different resistances denoted by their colour.
Others are tubular straps with handles on either end and are produced by the well-known sportswear brands. These ones often come with a pamphlet showing the different types of exercise you can use them for.
In brief, you can attach a resistance band to door handles, around poles or wrap it under your feet to perform exercises that target virtually every part of the body. Get clicking with that internet finger to find out all you need to know.
The Importance of Stretching
Don’t forget to spend a good five to ten minutes stretching at the end of your workout if you don’t want to ruin your trip with sore muscles or injuries. Stretch each body part for 30 seconds, working from your neck and shoulders down to your legs.