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How to Exercise Anywhere: 5 Portable Workout Plans for Travelers
Don’t let a hectic travel schedule keep you from getting or staying fit. Adopt one of these on-the-go exercise regimens, which can help you stay in shape in any city, state, time zone, or hemisphere!
By nature, travel can be disruptive to a routine—including your workout routine—which makes it all too easy for you to abandon consistent, heart-pumping activity during your trips. The result: You end up feeling sluggish, rather than invigorated and you may actually start to put on a few pounds.
No matter where you’re headed on your next adventure, or how long you’ll be away, committing to consistent on-the-go activity is easier than you might think. It starts by choosing a workout routine that works with your travel schedule and can be done from just about anywhere, like the five options included here. Opt for the one that fits best with your personality—and don’t forget to pack some workout clothes and shoes!
1. The Efficiency Expert
The New York Times recently published The Scientific 7-Minute Workout, which consists of 12 exercises that can be done from anywhere. The routine was developed using the latest fitness science to craft a workout that offers both cardio and strength training benefits in just seven minutes. The routine includes exercises most of us learned in grade school—including jumping jacks, push-ups, abdominal crunches and squats. Since it takes just seven minutes to do, it’s an ideal workout to try in the morning to start your engine for the day.
2. The Heavy Hauler
When you can’t find a hotel weight room on the road, remember that you’re already carrying “weights” with you: your luggage! When loaded with some of your gear, large packs like the Rincon 90L or the Rincon Vita 75L can offer a serious upper body workout. Simply strap your pack on—then drop and do 10 push-ups. Try to do three sets a day and work up your reps until you physically cannot do another with the pack on. Once you’re almost maxed out, take the pack off and do a final set without it on. Smaller bags like the EC Adventure Weekender work as a substitute for dumbbells. Loaded down with heavy objects such as books or magazines, it can be used for triceps kickbacks, bicep curls, kneeling one-arm rows, upright rows, stationary lunges, and most other exercises that can be done with a dumbbell in hand.
3. The Yoga Poser
Long before gyms existed, Vedic priests in India were getting a great full-body workout using only their arms, legs and core. Use a book (like this one from the American Yoga Association) to help you memorize a yoga routine, or bring a guided routine on your iPhone, e-reader, or laptop. If you don’t feel comfortable moving through the motions without a little guidance, seek out a yoga class at your destination: whether your in a massive metropolis or a small village, you’re almost always sure to find locals offering instruction or classes.
4. The Activity Junkie
Most destinations offer a range of activities that can challenge the body as well as—or better than—any gym can. Once you land in a new locale, seek out activities such as rock climbing, hiking, swimming, surfing, and cross-country skiing. If you’re in a small town, find a public soccer field and odds are you’ll find a group of kids more than happy to have a foreigner join their team. One word of caution: Their Pelé-level football skills may put your own to shame!
5. The Road Warrior
Health experts agree that you should aim to get 30 minutes of cardio exercise per day, at least five days per week. The easiest way to do this (and to explore the sights while you’re at it) is by running, jogging or power walking activities that can be done almost anywhere on the planet. Be sure to pack a pair of lightweight running shoes and make a commitment to put them on every day. Remember to always ask about the safest routes before heading out for the day, let someone know where you’re headed, and if possible, run with a fellow traveler.
Remember, exercise is never without its risks, and this or any other exercise program may result in injury. Always consult your healthcare provider before beginning a new exercise program.
Luke Maguire Armstrong is an author, musician, editor and travel writer who has spent the last six years working in human rights and development from Guatemala to Kenya to The Bronx, NY. Follow him @LukeSpartacus and he will sing you songs.