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I don’t know about you, but traveling tends to throw my body off completely. After a long flight or a time zone change, I can end up feeling tired, headaches and gastrointestinal problems for a week. There are only a few things that help – sleep, stay hydrated, and keep up with my exercise routine when I can. (I try not to treat my body like hot trash on vacation, but I don’t want to give up good food and drink.)
However, it can be a challenge to exercise as there is not always a gym available in a given destination. There are requirements for the size and weight of luggage, either due to the airline you are using, trunk space, or simply your upper body strength limitations. You can only do so much with your own body weight if you cannot or do not want to take all your training equipment with you.
According to a survey by Expedia, 53% of Americans (including me) find it “very or fairly important” to move when they travel. This may look different for everyone but may require supplies. Although I like to walk as much as possible, walking alone is not always enough for me.
“I really love this concept of 10,000 steps a day, and I really think it’s worth something,” said Holly Perkins, a board-certified strength and conditioning expert and author of Lift to get slim. “Well, here’s the thing. It’s really a kind of low-intensity activity. They don’t really get your heart rate up, they don’t really put a strain on your musculoskeletal system. So I don’t consider it a workout, but I do think it has value in terms of your overall health. And every time I do that, I just feel better coming out of time.”
If you’re lucky enough to be on a beach, walking or jogging on the sand will get you more bang for your buck from a fitness perspective, though Perkins isn’t the biggest fan of barefoot running. In these scenarios, she recommends an interval walk/jog.
“Let’s say you run for two minutes, jog for 30 seconds, or jog for a minute on the beach,” she said. “That would be appropriate.”
How to train while traveling
Perkins has nailed her travel exercise routine, and she knows what to do when space is limited.
All you have to do is pick five exercises (like squats, lunges, crunches, mountain climbers, burpees, planks, or something else), do two sets of 10 for each, and then do some type of cardio workout for five minutes close. Repeat this two more times, for a total of three rounds.
“People generally tend to pick their favorite exercises, or the ones they know best, but pick five exercises at random,” she said. “And then any kind of cardio exercise, like the jump rope. It could even be jumping jacks. It could be on foot. It could be jogging in a confined space.”
She finds that people are more likely to exercise when it involves exercises they already know or like so it doesn’t feel as intimidating. While she doesn’t need any equipment for the cardio component, a jump rope is one of her favorite travel essentials.
Anything that gets you on vacation is better than nothing, according to Perkins, but this type of simple routine can challenge your body enough to get your heart rate up and enjoy some real benefits.
There are also many other exercise machines that can help you with bodyweight training that are small and light enough to take with you. If you’re looking for some extra help or motivation to stay active while traveling, all this portable gear is easy to stow away.