Contributing health and spa writer Sheryl Kraft offers some simple steps for staying fit while traveling.
One thing I love about traveling is the opportunity to change up my routine. But sometimes that can be just the thing I hate about traveling.
You see, I take my workout routine pretty seriously. I’ve gotten into the habit of doing a variety of things to keep me healthy, toned, and energetic – the elliptical or treadmill, barre, and spin classes. Travel often means abandoning these, or at the very least, searching for and locating a facility that offers what you’re used to – and that’s a tall order (and many times, not something you want to take time out of your day to do).
And abandoning fitness – especially when it’s likely you’ll be indulging in some new yummy local (and fattening) foods – can leave you with an unwelcome weight gain upon your return.
That’s where flexibility and planning come in. Travel does not always mean giving up on fitness and managing your weight. You just have to get creative.
1. Pack for it
Being prepared to work out with the right essentials is half the battle. With the right sneakers, exercise clothing and bathing suit you can be ready for just about any potential fitness opportunity.
A jump rope, some resistance tubing, or bands all pack easily and allow you to sneak in a good workout right in your hotel room (or a nearby park if the weather permits). And don’t forget your music and headphones for that extra push. Amazon sells a number of different portable travel workout kits like the one above.
Unless I’m wearing my smartwatch, I also like to pack a simple pedometer if I go somewhere that requires a lot of walking; seeing those numbers add up can be very motivating.
2. Don’t wait for it
You can start your workout even before you get on a plane. Wear good walking shoes or sneakers so you can walk through the airport terminal comfortably while you wait. (This comes in especially handy if you’re antsy, like me, or your flight is delayed).
If you’re driving, use your bathroom breaks to get out and stretch and take a short stroll. While traveling by train, you may also have the opportunity to walk outdoors when the train stops to let passengers on and off.
3. Go for it
I recently flew to southern California—a good six-plus hour trip from New York (since the winds were not blowing in our favor). Although I was plenty tired when I arrived (I had to wake up at 3:00 AM), after dropping my bags, I immediately grabbed my BFF and headed out for an 8-mile walk at one of my all-time favorite spots, Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve along the coast.
Between the walk and the breathtakingly beautiful sunshine and beauty, I got infused with enough energy to keep me from falling asleep over dinner. In fact, I made it until midnight – a rare occurrence even under normal circumstances!
If you’re not in a place with a great big beautiful outdoors (or not the outdoors type), get your energy going by swimming in the hotel pool, swapping out the stairs for the elevator, walking up and down the hotel halls, or using your own bodyweight to do pushups, leg squats and working your abs with crunches.
What do you do to help stay fit while traveling?
- Check out these travel exercise tips in The New York Times.
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