Now that you have some ideas from my Healthy Traveler: 10 Do’s and Don’ts post that I hope will help you be happier and healthier on your travels, all you need is an exercise plan and you’re set. So I asked fitness expert and one of my favorite workout-creating friends Suzanne Digre to design an awesome workout you can do anywhere in any size space with no equipment necessary!
From the desk of Suzanne…
Sometimes it seems like there’s no way to avoid feeling dehydrated, sleep-deprived, and bloated while traveling. Ironically, travel is usually when we usually need to be “on,” lively, and social. But who doesn’t feel tired and out of sorts while they’re traveling? People who exercise, that’s who!
Exercising during all this upheaval can “reset” your body and give you a more normalized, energized feeling of wellbeing. It will also help your digestion when you’re eating foods you’re not used to, help you sleep better, and put you in a better mood.
But as we know, hotel exercise rooms can range from deluxe spas to graveyards for outdated equipment. So it’s best to be prepared with bodyweight exercises you can do on the go. If you’re so inclined, you can pack a jump rope to integrate between sets or as a warm up and a resistance band to add extra challenge. Just grab a towel for the floor and a chair and you’re all set.
Do the following exercises for two to three sets, depending on your fitness level. Strive for 10-15 repetitions unless otherwise noted. To increase the difficulty, slow down your reps on the eccentric (lengthening phase), use a resistance band, or even wear a backpack! Just take care to use proper form.
Step 1. Warm up. No need to get overly creative here, just do something low impact for five minutes in which you are using your arms and legs and becoming breathless. Examples: reverse lunge to front kick (reach for opposite foot), jump rope, stair runs, air jabs or uppercuts with little hops or sidekicks (my favorite), or high knees.
Step 2. Let the hotel or guest room badassery begin.
- Forward-moving plank. Get in plank position on your elbows and toes at the short end of your towel. Alternate moving each elbow forward while also lifting your feet, as if walking on elbows and toes. When you reach the end of the towel, go backwards (a total of 30 seconds). Beginner: Hold the plank on your knees, not toes.
- Jump lunge -> Double hop -> Squat. Step back into a reverse lunge with your front knee bent to 90 degrees and your back knee bent towards the floor. Now push off with the front foot and jump so that the other foot is in front in lunge position. Bring both feet together to hop twice, then do a single squat. Beginner: Alternate legs in reverse lunge to squat (no hops or jumps).
- Russian twist. Sit on the floor with knees bent, your back straight and raised to 45 degrees. Straighten your arms in front of you with your hands locked together. Slowly rotate your upper body and arms to the right, then to the left. Beginner: Keep arms bent and close to your body as you rotate.
- Curtsy lunge -> Lateral lunge. Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Take a big step with your right foot behind your left leg as if to curtsy, then move the right leg into a lateral lunge without putting your foot down. Your left leg will be straight and your right leg bent. Push off with your right heel back into a curtsy lunge with the same leg. Repeat on the other side.
- Elbow-to-hand plank. Get in plank position on your elbows and toes. Put your right hand on the floor and then your left, so that you’re resting on your hands and toes. Now lower back to your right elbow, then left elbow. That’s one rep. Beginner: Hold the plank position on your hands and toes for 30 seconds.
- Wall sits. Start with your back against a wall and your feet shoulder width apart, about two feet from the wall. Slowly slide your back down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Adjust your feet so your knees are directly above your ankles (not toes). Hold this position for 20-60 seconds. Beginner: Only slide down to 45 degrees.
- Pushup. No bodyweight workout is complete without pushups. Start on your toes or knees, hands shoulder-width apart, and lower all the way to the floor with a straight body. Beginner: Put your hands on the wall or a table.
- Back extension. People are always surprised by how hard this bodyweight exercise is after a few reps. Lie face down with hands lightly cradling the head and elbows back. Lift your upper body off the floor a few inches, keeping your head and neck in alignment. For extra challenge, lift the feet off the ground keeping your legs straight. Hold for 2-4 counts and lower.
- Pike shoulder press. Get in plank position on your hands and toes, hands about shoulder width apart. Walk your feet towards you so that your booty is in the air, your knees only slightly bent or straight. Now bend your elbows (as you would for a pushup) and lower your head towards the floor, being careful not to round your back. Beginner: Bend your knees and move your feet closer to your hands.
- Dips. Sit on a step, chair, or bench with hands next to thighs. Move your feet out as far out in front of you as possible. Keeping a slight bend in your elbows, slowly lower your body towards the floor, keeping your elbows tucked into your sides and your body close to the bench. Once your elbows are bent to 90 degrees, push yourself back up to the starting position with your triceps. Beginner: Bend your legs. Harder: Put your feet on a bench or chair.
Step 3. Cool down. Stretching after a resistance workout promotes flexibility and range of motion.
Enjoy your travels without fatigue by integrating resistance training into your schedule. Add in a brisk walk, run, hike, or bike and it’s almost like home.