For those dedicated to burning calories and feeling healthy (or one of the other numerous benefits of exercise), trading the gym for a new destination can often derail an exercise plan. Whether it is a business trip or a family vacation, leaving the “safety” of your own fitness facility can set a finely tuned fitness schedule ablaze.
But it doesn’t need to be the case.
With the size and scale of the fitness industry, as well as the increasing scope and demands of health-conscious exercisers, nowadays many chain hotels offer the convenience of an on-site fitness center. In some cases for exercise-conscious travellers, it can now be an in-room, mini-fitness facility option.
The exercise equipment offered in your temporary lodging might vary. It might not have the versatility of a Precor AMT or svelte lines of a Queenax, but if you need to hit the gym to get the endorphins pumping, they will have something to help.
Benefits of Exercise on Travel
Visit a little of the countryside outside of the office, conference center or tour bus. Plus, you get to see some of the stuff at your own pace.
This really goes without saying.
Travel, especially long distance, can quickly stack up the cortisol levels. The natural endorphin rush from even moderate exercise can help to bust up the stress from hours in a car or plane.
Studies suggest that exercise can speed up recovery time in jet lag and reduce the circadian rhythm regulation period—especially if done outdoors (in sunlight) and close to the same time period as when you exercise in your base time zone.
A good workout can help to earn a better night’s rest. That’s true no matter where in the world you work out.
Good ol’ endorphins again. Plus, knowing that you are working toward a better physical form can create a tremendous boost in confidence and self-esteem.
Studies (like this one in cell.com) suggest that exercise can aid information retention. Better memory is nice to have, especially if it is a business trip.
Alternative Means to Getting a Workout
There might be big box chain fitness facilities in the same city where you are staying. You might look at day passes. There might be a gym on the 2nd floor of the hotel you are staying in. If you are lacking motivation, in some cities you can even get a personal trainer on demand that will come to you.
If your chosen destination doesn’t offer you the option of sweating it out on in-house exercise equipment (or if you prefer to do it in private), there are alternatives.
Although not everyone’s first choice for exercise away from home, it is a nice way to get out of the hotel room and see what the city offers while getting some exercise in. Other than your running shoes and some climate- and local weather-appropriate apparel, you don’t need bulky exercise equipment to stay fit on the go.
This is another great outdoor exercise option. Only quicker. You might not be able to get your Wilier 0.6 110 SRAM RED ETAP bike onto the plane, but there will be places that you can rent a bicycle from to get a little biking done.
Tips for Running and Biking Abroad
If running is your go to exercise (as it is for many travelers), it’s good to know a little about the area where you are running. You can probably do a little investigative snooping on the internet before you get to your place of stay, but it is probably best to ask the advice of the staff members on hand, as they are most likely to know the lay of the land as well as traffic patterns and overall runner-friendliness of the area.
A smart phone can be a lifesaver. Literally. With running apps like MapMyRun, you can map a route before you even get to your destination. It will even save your old routes so you don’t have to search for them if you find yourself in the same spot later on down the road. Also if things don’t go according to plan, you can call for help. Make sure that you program a local In Case of Emergency number into your phone (which is good advice when travelling anyway) and put it under both ICE and Emergency on your phone.
There’s a pretty good chance that if you are in a hotel (regardless of stars), there will be a flight of stairs or two that you can navigate. It might not be your facility’s stairmaster, but the principle is the same. And thanks to the advent of elevators, there’s also a pretty good chance that you won’t need to elbow your way through a crowd.
Great thing about yoga is that is can be done almost anywhere. (pic of yoga on moon). You don’t need exercise equipment or a lot of space to be able to get a yoga session in. If you have a favorite workout committed to memory, you can tap into that. You can even turn the room thermostat up if you’re looking to get your hot yoga on!
Digital Personal Trainer
As many smart device users will tell you, (even if you don’t ask) “there’s an app for that.” And if you need some motivation (or direction) when you are out of your own exercising space, there is.
Fitness Builder Plus is such an app. It offers over 750 workouts with pictures and videos of how to accomplish them, as well as a drag and drop option that allows you to tailor your own routine.
And to take it one step further, The Active Times has a list of the Top 7 Personal Training Apps
That you can choose from to suit your particular needs.
Exercise Bands are a versatile and (more importantly) easily packed piece of fitness equipment. They take up almost no space, are light and can be stuffed into the smallest pocket in your carry on luggage. They can be used for a variety of different exercises, and with the different resistances on offer, the style and strenuousness of the workout can be tailored to suit needs.
Jettison Jet Lag
For anyone that has traveled long distances (primarily on planes, where numerous time zones are crossed in a shorter period), exercise is often the LAST thing you can fathom doing.
Yet, there are some scientific studies that suggest exercise (before, during and after) crossing time zones can combat jet lag.
Tips for Exercise and Travel
Keep it simple, silly. No need to go hard on your first couple of fitness sessions. You might want to smash jet lag or boost your endorphins. However, your body has its limitations after travel. Some bodyweight exercises, a good stretch, a favorite yoga routine that you have committed to memory, a nice brisk walk or a light run are good ways to help push through the fatigue barrier without adding to it.
Keep Your Schedule
One thing that all travel exercise gurus will tell you is to keep as close to the same exercise schedule as possible.
Put succinctly in travelstrong.com’s 3 Hacks To Beat Jet Lag Every Time You Fly,
The benefits of stretching are manifold. Some may question whether it can help before an athletic event, but not many who have been cooped up on a plane or in a car will argue about the need to flex or stretch out muscles.
Between drink and dinner service, you can use the aisles to get some stretching done and pump oxygen through the body. Here is a guide on how to stretch on a plane.
Just remember to respect your fellow travelers’ space.
So, if you think travel is a hurdle to your exercise routine or is going to stop you from staying fit, think again. In short, get out (or in) and do it.