Holiday season usually means being a little more ce la vi when it comes to our physical health. Especially when we travel! With new foods to try and beautiful places to relax, why would we want to use our precious holiday hours on hitting the gym?
It’s not always the first thing you think of, but once you set out on a big adventure you quickly realize that it’s a lot harder to keep up your healthy lifestyle when you are on the road. All of a sudden you can’t get to a gym, if you’re used to going for a run you might find that you’re in an area where it’s not safe to do so, and forget about a good night’s sleep, you’re probably going to sleep in all sorts of strange places at even stranger times (hello jet-lag).
But, have no fear! Here are some easy exercises you can do on the road:
Airplane work out:
Why wait until you’ve reached your destination to pick up where you left off at the gym? Kill some time on those long plane journeys with some core strength work outs. When the seat belt sign is off and people have started watching their movies or snoring away with those eye masks on, get up and walk to the ‘spacious’ area near the bathrooms. Here you can find a spot against the wall for some wall sits. People might give you strange looks but in the end, you’ll be the one with awesome abs when you alight the plane.
And while you’re sitting in your seat, stretch those legs. Not only does it help prevent DVT, stretching your muscles helps increase blood flow and nutrient supply to your muscles. It will help reduce soreness later on when you’ve been sitting still for hours!
Work your arms and chest without having to whack your neighbour in the face. Interlock your hands, placing palms together. Lift your elbows to a 90 degree angle and then gently pulse, pushing your arms towards each other repeatedly. Like many arm exercises, you won’t feel anything straight away, but after a few minutes you will feel the burn.
Make the playground your gym.
If your hostel doesn’t have Wi-Fi … you should probably find a new hostel! But also, you should get your but to a café with Wi-Fi and open google maps. Odds are you will find a play park somewhere nearby. Playground are heaven for those who are used to hitting the gym. Here you have the monkey bars, stairs, and open spaces. Perfect for a full body work out session!
Morning work outs
Work your core first thing in the morning while you’re lying in bed! These workouts a perfect, even for those on a bottom bunk. Work your abs, obliques, butt and arms with a few different work outs:
1. Swing those legs!
Start on your hands and knees, shoulders and hips stacked parallel to your wrists and knees. Tuck you toes under. Carefully balance on your left palm and right knee while you lift your left knee to the side, holding it parallel to the bed. Then, swing your knee forwards so that you can tap it with your right hand while keeping your ankle parallel to your knee. Then, swing it backwards until your left ankle passes your right leg on the bed. Repeat this movement for 30-seconds and then switch to the opposite side.
2. Lift those legs!
Start by lying on your right side. Bend your right knee and place your right foot behind your body. Then, straighten your left leg parallel to your body. Slowly lift your left leg as high as you can (or as high as your bunk allows) and lower it back down. Keep your hips stacked and your movements slow and controlled. For the best workout don’t let your leg touch down in between lifts. Continue this for 30 seconds and then switch sides.
3. The plank!
The easiest stomach work out for any place is the plank. Roll onto your stomach, balance on your elbows with your hands interlocked, level to the ground, and tuck your toes in. Then lift your hips up so that your body is straight and parallel to the ground. Use your stomach, not your back muscles to keep you up. For an extra work out slowly rotate your hips from side to side while keeping parallel to the ground.
Find some stairs!
Take you fitness to the next level! For those that are looking for an easy way to do just a little exercise every day, find a hostel or a hotel with stairs and don’t get room on the ground floor! Stairs are great for increasing your heart rate, working your hamstrings, quadriceps and your core as well as burning that extra fat from all the pasta you’ve been eating! By skipping the lift you’ll be working to keep your legs shapely. You might get a few weird looks from people when you pass them on the stairs, but having a reputation in the hostel as the fitness junky is hardly the worst reputation to have!
Have some fun!
A final thing to think about though is not to stress too much about your fitness while you are away! Odds are you are doing more work than you think without even trying! All those walking tours and window shopping…unless you’ve been driving around in a taxi the whole time you are sure to be doing some cardio work as you pound that pavement. Try looking for activities that include exercise when planning your itinerary; like scuba diving, bike riding, hiking or dancing! That way you can have your cultural experience while also making room for that extra desert you’ve been dying to try!