Exercise fanatics – the folks who hit the gym at least five days a week at home or have their own workout facilities in their spare room – may find the idea of being away from their regular exercise routine a bit disconcerting, even if they are getting to do some really cool travel. The good news is that there are ways to keep fit on the road without going to spin class, running on a treadmill, or using your BowFlex.
First of all, remember that you’re on vacation! If you can forget about your daily routine – including your daily workout regime – you’ll probably be able to get into the swing of things on your trip more easily. Sure, you’ll probably eat differently while you’re traveling, and you may gain a pound or two, but you’ve got to reward yourself now and then, right?
On the other hand, if the very idea of all the wine, cheese, and fancy desserts you’ll ingest nearly gives you hives and makes you want to hit the gym immediately, all is not lost. You’re likely to be walking more and doing more physical activity when you’re traveling than you do in a normal day at home (save for your workouts, of course), so that’ll help in the grand scheme of things. And there are a few little things you can do wherever you are when you feel like you need an extra exercise push – and they don’t involve paying the high price of a day pass to a local gym.
- Explore town at a faster pace.
Just because you’re sightseeing doesn’t mean you have to saunter. If you’ve got jogging shoes with you, go for a morning run while your hungover dorm mates are still sleeping it off. Even without running shoes, your comfy walking shoes will do just fine for a brisk walk through the local park. You can also sign up for walking tours and even some jogging tours these days, depending on the city you’re in, so check with the local tourism office to see what your options are.
- Take the stairs.
You can use the same kinds of little tricks that work at home when you’re traveling, too – things like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking from place to place instead of taking the bus, getting off the tram one stop earlier than the place you want to go and walking the rest of the way, or parking your rental car on the far side of the parking lot. And you can even practice tightening and releasing your abs while you’re waiting for your train!
- Flex those muscles.
Even if you’ve pared down your belongings to only the bare essentials, you’d be surprised at some of the heavy things you’ll find in your bag – one or two of them is bound to be the perfect size and weight to serve as hand weights. And if not, look around the hotel or hostel you’re staying in and see if you can find something heavy enough – don’t overlook the full cans or bottles in the hotel mini-fridge, either.
- Get into the local habits.
Going for a morning jog might get you some funny looks in some parts of the world, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t local equivalents that could be just as invigorating. Just pay attention, there’s sure to be some physical activity you can join in on – whether it’s doing Tai Chi in China, renting bikes in the Netherlands, playing a quick football game in Australia, or hiking in Switzerland.
- Bring it with you.
If you’re not on a long-haul trip or you simply must have access to some kind of exercise equipment while you’re traveling, there are some things you can buy that pack well and are travel friendly. You might also be able to bring something that packs really small and serves an exercise purpose even though it wasn’t intended for that. Something like a bungee cord can be a handy travel tool to have with you, and can also become a resistence tool for you when you’re working out in your room.
One thing everyone should keep in mind, regardless of whether you’re planning to exercise on your trip or not, is that remaining in your airplane seat for a long flight can be dangerous to your health – so there are in-flight exercises that are recommended for everyone.
>> Be sure to check the Guide to Fitness on the Road from the Business Travel Guide, with information about some hotels that offer workout equipment and clothing, ideas for tourism opportunities combined with sightseeing, and some travel-friendly workout gear.