Whether you're taking to the skies on a business trip or hitting the road with friends or family, you can stay fit with a few easy strategies. Consider these fitness tips when traveling.
Explore by Foot
A before-breakfast run is a great way to explore the city sights near your hotel. Or, you can put on some comfortable shoes and walk. In addition to promoting good cardiovascular fitness, walking strengthens bones and muscles, improves joint health, enhances sleep, and boosts your mood. For easy walkability, choose a hotel near your worksite or close to vacation hotspots like shops, restaurants, parks, and museums.
Rent a Bike
To see more sights quickly and get your exercise, rent a bike. Most medium-to-large cities offer bicycle rentals, and some companies even deliver and pickup. Biking makes a fun exercise option for friends or couples, and it reduces stress for people who get anxious driving in unfamiliar places.
Take the Stairs
One way to stay fit while traveling is by opting for stairs instead of elevators and escalators. Climbing stairs builds muscle and improves cardiovascular health. To use stairs for working out, put on a pair of running shoes with good traction and try these activities:
- Use the bottom stair to do step-up exercises.
- Take stairs two at a time.
- Run stairs for three-minute intervals (or longer depending on your fitness level) with a one-minute rest in between.
- Crab-walk up the stairs (and down if you're feeling extra-spry).
- Run multiple-flight stairs and add a flight each time you run up and down.
Visit the Gym
If you're a faithful gym-goer, look for a hotel with a fitness room or one with a gym nearby. Most hotel fitness rooms have machines for cardiovascular fitness like treadmills or exercise bikes, mats for stretching, and some weight training equipment. Types of equipment to look for in a hotel gym include:
- Squat rack
- Pull-up bar
Bring Light Workout Gear
If you don't have access to a gym, you can create your own by packing light workout gear. In addition to proper exercise clothing and shoes, consider packing:
- A yoga mat
- Resistance bands
- A jump rope
- A blow-up stability ball
- Blowup, water-fillable dumbbells
Use Your Own Body Weight
In lieu of exercise gear, you can use your own body weight to stay strong and fit when traveling. All you need is a little space, which you can create easily in most hotel rooms. Use a hotel towel for work done on the floor. Exercises to consider include:
Push-ups work your arms, chest, and core. To do push-ups, get on all fours. Your palms should be flat and placed a bit wider than your shoulders. Keep your elbows bent slightly and move your legs back about hip-width apart with knees straight and your bodyweight balanced between your hands and toes. Keeping your back straight and core tight, lower your body to the floor until elbows are angled at about 90 degrees and push up to the starting position. Aim for one to three sets of push-ups with 10 to 15 repetitions.
For easier versions, try bent-knee push-ups with your weight on your knees and not your toes, or do wall push-ups. For wall push-ups, place your hands on a wall, extend your feet slightly behind you, and perform the same motion as a floor push-up.
Planks are some of the best exercises for a strong core. To do standard planks, get into a pushup position and hold your body there for 30 to 60 seconds. For a modified plank, rest your body weight on your forearms and toes and hold for 30 to 60 seconds, or use a knee push-up position and hold.
To do squats, simply stand with your feet in line with your hips. Extend your hands in front with your palms down. Keeping your back straight, lower your hips until they are parallel to your knees. Return to your starting position, and repeat 10 to 15 times. Do more than one set if you're feeling extra-strong.
If squats are too difficult, try wall sits. Just stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your back against a wall. Extend your feet in front and slide your body down until your knees are even with your hips. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, and aim for five to 10 repetitions.
More bodyweight exercises to try in your hotel room include:
- Bicycle crunches
- Heel raises
- Side planks
- Tricep dips
Go for a Swim
Many hotels have swimming pools that can provide a good away-from-home workout. You can even get exercise in crowded pools. Hold the side of the pool to practice kicking or tread water at one-minute intervals. Doing this vigorously burns about 11 calories per minute.
Find a Class
A variety of classes can help you stay fit and healthy when traveling. Before you book your hotel, look for classes nearby that complement your schedule. Examples might include:
- Circuit training
In addition to exercise, what you put into your body helps keep you healthy and fit when traveling. To boost energy for physical activity and reduce the symptoms of jet lag, remember to:
- Eat nutritious foods.
- Stay hydrated.
- Bring dietary supplements if you take them.
- Go easy on alcohol.