FITNESS ON THE GO
Unusual schedules and lack of
equipment and facilities often make it difficult to
stay on a fitness program when travelling. It is important to continue your exercise
program to avoid losing gains which have previously been made. If you require equipment or
facilities which are not available, switch to those
activities and exercises that require no special equipment
like stretching, calisthenics, and walking. It is important
to do something to maintain your fitness level while
you are travelling so when you resume your regular
exercise program, fitness losses will be kept to a
minimum and you may resume as close as possible to where
you left off.
Some simple methods of adjusting your
program are detailed below:
- If possible, exercise before you leave. By
completing your daily activity session before you
begin your trip, you eliminate the added stress of worrying about your training after a long,
and possibly frustrating, day of traveling.
- Check to see if your hotel or motel has a
fitness center, weight room, pool or
cardiorespiratory equipment. Many hotels now provide
such facilities for their customers. If the hotel
doesn't have any facilities, inquire at the front desk as
to the location of nearby hotels or local gyms,
health clubs or YMCAs that do offer such accommodations.
- If you do not have access to such facilities,
don't despair. You can adjust your personalized
fitness program easily. Take a nice walk or jog
around the area for your cardiorespiratory
training. Some hotels even provide bicycle rentals. It
is wise to check with the front desk concerning
the relative "safety" of the area.
- If the weather is uncooperative, you can
always walk the hotel or motel stairs as an
alternative form of exercise.
- You do not even need to leave the comfort
of your hotel room. Running in place, low-impact
aerobic dance moves and calisthenics can
easily be substituted for your usual
cardiorespiratory, flexibility, and resistance training programs.
Be sure to bring your Activity Guide with you
on trips to help you choose which calisthenic and cardiorespiratory substitutions will suit
your situation the best. Some of the more suitable movements include abdominal exercises,
push-ups, knee bends, lunges, leg lifts, jumping
jacks, side-to-side lateral stepping,
high-stepping, towel-assisted or tubing resistance
movements and chair dips. They can even be done in
- You may choose to bring your favorite
exercise tape with you to help provide a format for
your in-room activity. Many hotels now offer VCRs and audio cassette players along with the
normal TV and radio furnishings. Some hotels even provide video rental services that include
fitness-oriented or workout tapes.
- Other options include bringing a
jump-rope, resistance tubing, or wrist and ankle
weights along with you. This equipment can provide
an effective means of exercising in the privacy of your hotel room. Each of these items can fit
easily in a briefcase or overnight bag.
- Don't forget to pack some small, but
snacks in your luggage. They can help
make following your personalized nutritional recommendations much easier.
Suggestions to Minimize the Effects of Flying and
Flying can often play havoc with your system.
The added effects of jet lag may only make things
worse. Fitness Expert has identified several ways to deal
with the stress of flying and jet lag.
- During long flights, engage in various
stretching and muscle relaxation techniques that can
be done while sitting in your seat. Stretching combined with active muscle contractions
are especially beneficial for your neck, upper
back, lower back, calves, and abdominals. It is
also important to periodically get up from your
seat and walk around the cabin to combat stiffness from remaining in your seat for extended
- If you are stuck with a long layover, use it
to your benefit. Airports provide vast amounts of space for walking. Exercise will provide a
rejuvenating effect as well as minimize the effects
of stiffness and cramping which frequently occur during long flights or drives.
- While on the plane, remember to drink plenty
of water while limiting the amount of caffeine and alcohol, both of which can act as diuretics.
In addition, bring some healthy, complex carbohydrate snacks such as cut vegetables, whole
grain crackers, or breads along with you. In this
way, you do not have to worry about eating
something that does not fit into your personalized
- Upon arrival at your destination, exercise as
soon as you can. This can often help alleviate the effects of jet lag, as well as increase your
- Adjust yourself to the new time immediately. If
it is daytime, spend as much time outside in the daylight as you can. Avoid taking a nap.
This will help to adjust your body's internal time clock.
- If you begin to become overwhelmed by
the stress of travel, find yourself a quiet area
and relax. Sit or lie down in a comfortable
position, close your eyes and relax your muscles.
Maintain a slow and steady rate of breathing and begin
to visualize yourself at rest. For more
information concerning visualization and relaxation, refer
to the chapters on stress management and motivation in this guide.
Sleep Recommendations for the Busy Traveler
An effective method of dealing with
travel-related stress is to simply get enough rest and relaxation.
Unfortunately, this is not always an easy
task. Busy schedules often take a drastic toll on the
amount of free time you have. And by the time you do
climb into bed, your mind may be so full of business
concerns or other thoughts that you cannot sleep restfully.
Fitness Facts recommends taking some time
to simply set everything aside. The muscle relaxation
and meditation techniques mentioned in this section
and on the "Relaxation" audio tape can help you clear
your thoughts and relax your muscles.
In addition, exercise itself can often have a
"cleansing" effect, wiping away tension and
aggravation. Moreover, the stretching aspect of your
personalized fitness program can also work wonders for
improving feelings of well-being by easing muscular tension.
In a similar fashion, professional massage,
steam baths, saunas, jacuzzis, and hot baths tend to have
a calming and soothing effect, which may allow you
to feel more relaxed and sleep better.
When it doesn't interfere with your schedule,
napping can also be of benefit. Especially during
long travel, naps can help pass the time while
simultaneously providing your body with rest that may not
be available once you arrive at your destination. A
lunch time nap can refresh you, and revitalize your body
and your mind. It may even cause you to be more
productive the rest of the day. Lack of sleep combined with
the stress of a busy schedule can be disastrous to
both health and fitness. Take the necessary steps to
protect yourself from such a disaster by getting plenty of
sleep and stretching, exercising, and relaxing on a