Fitness On The Go

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 circuit fashion.
  • 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 healthy, snacks in your luggage. They can help make following your personalized nutritional recommendations much easier.

Suggestions to Minimize the Effects of Flying and Jet Lag

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 time periods.
  • 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 nutrition plan.
  • 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 circulation.
  • 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 regular basis.

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