7 Ways to Get Exercise When You Travel
My wife and I just returned from an extended weekend vacation full of hotel rooms and travel logistics. We ate and drank more than we usually do, which is par for the course with vacations. But--surprise!--we also burned more calories than we usually do.
When you travel, whether for vacation or business, exercise is usually the first routine to go. Unless you go to a full service resort or upper tier hotel, workout facilities are often inadequate--if they exist. Pools are too tiny for laps. Single-day memberships at sports clubs are expensive. And locales can be unfamiliar and unsafe for walking and running.
But just because you're on a trip, doesn't mean you can't get in a good workout. Here are seven strategies that can help you exercise when you're away from home.
Take your walking shoes
Even when I'm traveling light, I always pack my running shoes. On some trips I don't know when I'll get a chance to workout, but if I don't have my shoes with me, there's zero chance I'll exercise.
Learn the landscape
I can't tell you how many times I've been stuck in an unfamiliar hotel in an unfamiliar city pining for some exercise. These days I try to scout before I book, looking for nearby parks, malls or other places I can get recreation. If I'm going to be in a city for an extended period, I look for nearby state or federal parks--and yes, there's an app for that.
(Many big cities have apps that help you find local attractions and recreation areas; of course, plugging your hotel address into Google maps or Mapquest can help you dial up options, too.)
Schedule extra time in your trip
Traveling is hectic enough as it is. Tight timetables can ruin a vacation and make business travel miserable. When possible, I plan my trips with additional time before departures, which can allow for physical activity.
My wife and I used this extra time on our recent trip to go shopping at a mall (lots of walking) and to take a stroll at sunset.
Plan to exercise
Of course the biggest barrier to exercise when you travel is scheduling.
Business dinners, roadside attractions and entertainment plans usually trump other plans. That's why I set an appointment to exercise. This helps me keep on my routine even when away from home.
Get exercise when you can
If you can't actually get exercise on your schedule, squeeze it in where you can. Skip the moving sidewalks at airports and hoof it instead. Changing terminals? Where possible, walk instead of taking the train. Lugging your bags will add to the workout.
In walking cities like New York, skip the taxi and walk to your next destination. You'll save money and get exercise. My wife, who wears a pedometer most of the time, racked up an additional 10,000 steps--about five miles--in one day of our trip by using her legs as the main mode of travel.
Create your own gym
If you can't leave your hotel--or if the area isn't safe for walking--take advantage of your body weight and gravity to get a good workout. Start by taking the stairs at your hotel--and carry your own bags. A parking lot can also be a good place to get your heart rate up, provided it's well lit and there's not a lot of traffic.
Finally, you can even use the furniture in your hotel room to get a good resistance workout. Try these three moves next time you're on the road and need to burn some calories.