Travel can derail even the most dedicated fitness enthusiast. It’s easy to let a business trip or vacation become an excuse for not working out while you’re on the road.
Sometimes, however, it’s not the desire that prevents you from staying in shape when you travel; it’s your access to resources. Don’t panic! The key to taking your workout on the road is not to let your trip control you – be flexible.
Tip #1: Plan Ahead
Many hotels will offer some form of exercise option – a pool, spa, fitness center or TV workout program. Remember to check with your hotel as each one may offer something different. For example, Sheraton hotels offer free “workout in a bag kits” which feature a mat, a stretch rope and other items you can use in your room; Marriot hotels may also set up a Wii Fit on request.
Hotel Gym Facilities
If you have a gym membership and are accustomed to working out indoors, consider reviewing hotels in your destination city to determine which will provide the best workout experience for you.
Many hotels will also provide you with in-room workouts through the Cable Station exercisetv.tv. Exercise TV is currently available at Double Tree, Hyatt, Marriott, Omni and Radisson.
If you enjoy running, there are online resources and mobile apps that can help you to find safe, measured running routes in unfamiliar places. Consider the Runner's World Route Finder or Map My Run. Routes are available for all 50 states as well as other countries.
Tip #2: Workout Smart
Even without a fitness center, or if you prefer the privacy of your hotel room, it’s still possible to get a good strength and conditioning workout. Here are some exercises that you can do to keep in shape:
- Squats – This simple exercise will work your glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves all at once. Stand with feet hip-width apart, toes facing straight ahead or angled slightly outward. Slowly bend the knees and lower hips towards the floor, keeping your torso straight and abs pulled in tight. Keep your knees behind your toes; make sure everything's pointing in the same direction. Do not go lower than 90 degrees. Do three sets of 15 repetitions each.
- Lunges – Target all of the muscles in your quads, hips, glutes, hamstrings and calves. Stand in a split-stance (one leg forward, one leg back). Bend knees and lower body into a lunge position, keeping the front knee and back knee at 90 degree angles. Keeping the weight in your heels, push back up (slowly!) to starting position. Never lock your knees at the top and don't let your knee bend past your toes. Do one set of 10 lunges forwards and advance the maneuver by lunging backwards if you can.
- The Plank – This exercise works your abs, back, arms, legs and also targets your internal abdominal muscles. Lie face down on mat with elbows resting on floor next to chest. Push your body off the floor in a pushup position with body resting on elbows or hands. Contract the abs and keep the body in a straight line from head to toes. Hold for 30-60 seconds and repeat as many times as you can. For beginners, do this move on your knees and gradually work your way up to balancing on your toes. Do three planks for 15-20 seconds each.
- Push Ups – Will work your chest, shoulders, triceps, back and abs. Position yourself face down on the floor, balancing on your toes/knees and hands. Your hands should be wider than shoulders, body in a straight line from head to toe. Don't sag in the middle and don't stick your butt up in the air. Slowly bend your arms and lower your body to the floor, stopping when your elbows are at 90 degrees. Exhale and push back up. Do three sets of 5 to start.
How Often? If you normally work out 3-4 days per week, aim for every third day or 2-3 times per week.
How Long? Try to spend at least 15-20 minutes.
How Hard? Try and match the intensity of your routine at home.
Tip #3: Cut Back
How you are going to eat depends a lot on where you are staying.
Here are some quick tips you can follow:
- Drink Lots of Water – drink several glasses of water each day. Try to avoid soda.
- Aim for Healthy Foods – Substitute salads, veggies, chicken breasts and foods without heavy sauce for fried foods.
- Avoid Heavy Foods – Avoid heavy foods such as pastas, breads and foods with heavy sauces. Select whole grains when possible.
- Ask for Fruit – Substitute fruit in place of your breakfast waffles or for dessert items such as cake or brownies.
- Eat Smaller Meals – Eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day. Rather than sitting down to three larger sized meals, plan to eat smaller meals with a light snack every few hours. Chances are you’ll avoid that large meal at the end of the long day!
Tip #4: Don’t Fret!
Don’t worry about not working out every day. Research has shown that you can cut back on the amount of your workout if you maintain the intensity. Remember doing something is better than nothing!
US Travel Insurance Association (UStiA)
UStiA is a national association of insurance carriers, third-party administrators, insurance agencies and related businesses involved in the development, administration and marketing of travel insurance and travel assistance products.