Fitness While Traveling

Maintaining your exercise routine and good eating habits while on vacation takes some planning and self-discipline.  You have worked hard to increase your fitness levels and strength gains.  Travel can seriously derail any fitness program and leave you feeling fatigued and stressed.  By scheduling in some moderate aerobic activity and sensible eating, it is possible to come home feeling energized and healthy!

An important tip to help you stay active is phoning ahead to find a hotel with a fitness room.  Many hotels have an exercise room with cardiovascular machines, weight machines, or free weights.  If this is not a possibility, then ask if they have an affiliation with a local gym where you can get a one day pass.  Some hotels may have a personal fitness trainer that will come to your room or a selection of workout videos to use.  Resistance bands are light and easy to pack and work your muscles as though they are lifting weights.  A pool is an excellent (and refreshing) way to get some exercise.  Swim some laps or simply "walk" lengths in shallow water.  Be sure to pack your swimsuit!

Remember that walking is the easiest and least expensive form of exercise.  Bring your gym shoes and do as much sightseeing on foot as possible.  This will also decrease your taxi fares!  Be sure to get maps from hotel concierge and walk in safe areas.  Ask if there are parks or trails nearby.  Take the stairs instead of riding elevators and escalators.  Go dancing in the evenings at a nightclub.

If you are flying and encounter a long layover or flight delay, try to store your carryon bags in a locker and walk the terminal.  When you are in your car, try to avoid sitting for more than a couple of hours at a time. Take a break at rest stops and take a short, brisk walk.  Park your car further away and walk to your destination.

Here are some simple exercises you can do - even in your car!

Pelvic Tilt - This exercise may help prevent and/or relieve any low back discomfort and will work your abdominals as well.  Sit up tall in your seat and place your hands behind you at the small of your back.  Now press your back into your fingers by contracting your stomach muscles.  Hold this contraction for 10 seconds and relax.  Try this a few times, holding the contraction even longer.  Be sure to breathe in and out slowly while doing this!

Gluteal Contractions -  Try contracting (squeezing) your gluteal muscles or "sits" muscles.  Hold the contraction for 10 seconds and relax.  Do a few of these, remembering to breathe normally.

Quadriceps Muscles - While sitting, use one leg at a time and straighten your knee, contracting your quadriceps (thigh) muscles.  Hold the contraction for 10 seconds and slowly lower your leg.  Try doing 10 on each leg.

Calf Exercises -  While sitting, move your feet in the formation of each of the letters of the alphabet or spell your name with each foot.

Upper Body Stretches -  Release tension in your neck and shoulders by tilting your head toward each shoulder slowly and holding for a few seconds.  Try shoulder circles in both directions.  Clasp your hands together in front, rounding your upper back and reach forward.  Reach your hands in back - opening up your chest and lift slightly.  For a full body stretch, reach your hands above your head and stretch yourself as tall as possible.

Calf Stretches - While standing, place one foot behind the other and press the heel down and hold this stretch for 20 seconds.  Repeat with your other leg.

It is challenging to eat well "on the road".  Many restaurants offer heart healthy options, vegetarian and vegan dishes and food preparations without butter, oils and cream sauces.  Carrying  some food with you such as fruit or raw vegetables can help to keep you from "skipping" meals.  You will be less likely to feel that you are starving thus overeating at mealtime. 

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!!  Always drink plenty of water, particularly if you are flying.  Be careful of the empty calories of soda and alcoholic beverages.

Whether you travel for business or pleasure, take your fitness routing on the road.  Be creative and most of all - ENJOY YOUR TRIP!