5 Unique Ways to Work Out While Traveling

Traveler, airport, airplane

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As any regular fitness addict knows, staying on track is all about routine. To consistently hit the gym, hop on the bike, or show up for your daily run, you have to establish a workout schedule and stick to it. You may have a great routine in place, but the second that routine is disrupted you may find yourself skipping workouts, making excuses, and falling off the fitness wagon once again. There is nothing more disruptive to a solid routine than travel. Whether it’s for business or pleasure, travel takes you away from your gym, running track, or studio to an airport, hotel, or new city. Once you’re in a new place, your eating habits will change, you’ll find yourself waking up and going to bed at different times, and your fitness regime will be disrupted.

While some changes may be unavoidable, you can keep your workout schedule on track. You may not be able to bench press, but there are ways to move your body, build strength, and stretch in all of those places you seem to spend a lot of time while traveling: airports, hotels, and cars.

1. Small space circuit training

birddog exercise, plank, gym mat

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Some of the best workouts are devoid of free weights or machines and only require your body weight to build muscle. Warm up by marching in place or doing jumping jacks for three minutes. Set a timer to make sure you get the full benefit of this cardio workout before you jump into body weight exercises. Start by doing 10 to 50 reps (based on your current fitness level) of the following exercises: push-ups, alternating lunges, dips, squats, and sit-ups or crunches. Repeat this circuit up to three times for the full benefit. This routine uses very little floor space and can be easily done in a hotel room, outdoor park, or in a quiet corner of the airport. For the dips, use an airport chair or table, park bench, or windowsill.

2. Tabata interval training

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Tabata is an interval based training model that will have you do 20 seconds of all-out, high-intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest for a total of eight times adding up to four minutes. The Tabata protocol can be used for core strength, cardio, and strength training. Since you are performing each exercise at a very high, demanding intensity your metabolism and heart rate will ump immediately and you will burn fat for hours after the workout is completed. Interested? Choose four exercises that you can do comfortably while travelling like pushups, squats, sit ups, burpees, crunches, triceps dips, stairs, and calf raises. A full list can be found here, but mix and match to hit your problem areas and get ready for a heart pumping 16 minutes!

3. Running to explore

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It’s important to get your heart rate up and blood pumping, especially if you’re on a high stress business trip or find yourself eating chocolate croissants for breakfast rather than your typical fruit smoothie. Running is one of the easiest ways to stay in shape while traveling. It’s free and you can literally walk out of your hotel and make it happen. Running in an unfamiliar city may seem daunting, but in today’s world of smart phones, you’re never at risk of getting lost. Running gives you the opportunity to see a city from a new perspective. Whether you’re on a business trip or vacation, running allows you to get your bearings and see the people and culture from a different point of view. If you’re in an airport, jumping jacks, burpees, and jumping rope (easy to pack) will be your best option.

4. Car stretching

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You can easily stretch in an airport or hotel, but you may not be familiar with stretching while driving in a car. This is a low-key way to stay fit and loose on those long cross-country road trips. Stretch and tone your lower facial muscles and give your neck a nice stretch at a stoplight by slowly turning your head to look over one shoulder and then the other. To release tense glutes and give them some fresh blood flow, contract your sitting muscles and hold for 10 to 15 seconds and release. To tone your abdomen and help aid in digestion, tighten and squeeze your diaphragm in and hold. For a nice arm and shoulder stretch, put one hand behind your headrest and slowly push your elbow back and forward to get a nice stretch through your shoulder blades and underarm area.

5. Workout videos

man sitting after exercise, workout

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If you have trouble getting motivated while traveling, try using a workout video. You can bring along a DVD, buy a video on iTunes, or just stream something on YouTube. Whether you’re look for strength building, core, or yoga, there are plenty of styles and teachers who may just help you push yourself a little harder than if you were going at it alone. Livestrong.com recommends Navy Seal Training, Belly Off! The Body Weight Routine, and The Biggest Loser: Boot Camp.

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