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how to workout when traveling

A while back, I found myself sitting at the airport gate for the third straight hour when my flight was delayed… again. I was on my third coffee and second muffin of the day. I might have been wearing yoga pants, but I certainly hadn’t done any in a while. It had been a great trip, but my fitness routine was wrecked and I was feeling it.  Right then, I placed my hand on my sacred paperback romance and took an oath to find better ways to stay in shape while traveling.   Since then, I’ve gotten creative about my travel workouts and learned to stay in shape without a gym. The best part is, I haven’t sacrificed any of the fun of traveling. In fact, my trips are better because of my commitment to fitness.

Here are my top seven tips for working out on the go:

1.  Use the gaps

travel workout

The truth is, no matter how much I want to stay in shape, I’m never going to miss a visit to a museum to go to an exercise class and I’m never going to choose the hotel gym over an evening of sampling the local nightlife. For me, the best way to stay in shape on the go is to take advantage of the downtime. Even packed itineraries have lulls that can be filled with healthy activities. Power walk around the airport instead of sitting at the gate, do stretches in the aisle of the plane during long flights and entertain the crowds by doing a few lunges while waiting for the bus. And of course, you can always set the alarm for a half-hour earlier to hit the hotel gym while the rests of your group snoozes.

2.  Pack your gym

travel workout equipment

Pesky luggage weight restrictions mean the kettle bell will need to stay at home. But, there is plenty of other fitness equipment that takes up virtually no room in luggage.  A jump robe provides a high-intensity cardio workout. Resistance bands are versatile enough for a complete workout right in your hotel room. Toss in your running shoes and you have all the equipment you need for staying fit on the go.

3.  Take a virtual fitness class

travel workout no equipment

Whether you are a Soul Cycle addict or a Bikram yoga regular, missing your favorite fitness class can be the hardest part of traveling. Luckily, YouTube is full of excellent instructional videos that can get your heart pumping. Fire up your phone or laptop and try a new dance routine or the latest HIIT workout.

4.  Turn sightseeing into exercise

couple workouts

From architectural wonders to cultural hotspots, part of discovering any new place is taking in the local sites.  Bus tours are an efficient way to see everything at once, but they are also quite sedentary. Instead, create your own adventure by exploring on foot. Many areas offer app-based walking tours.  Or, rent bicycles and pedal your way around town.

5.  Have a new adventure

sexy couple workout

Who says workouts need to involve weight machines or yoga mats?  Travel offers the perfect opportunity for exercise disguised as adventure. Pack your itinerary with active pursuits for a workout that builds muscles and memories. Get close to the local marine life with a day of kayaking, snorkeling, or stand-up paddleboarding. Schedule a surfing lesson, take a dance class or experience rock climbing.

6.  Take in the views from above

traveling workout

What do the Sun Gate above Machu Picchu and the top of the Eiffel Tower have on common? They both offer sweeping, once-in-a-lifetime views and getting there is a challenging climb. From mountain hikes to ascending the stairs of ancient castles and cathedrals, going higher gives a unique perspective on your travel destination. And, the steeper the incline or the more stairs, the better the fitness payoff.

7.  Wear a fitness tracker

waterproof fitness tracker

The best way to stay in shape while traveling is to hold yourself accountable. Wearing a fitness tracker will serve as a constant reminder to get up and move.  Even better, it can give you a much-needed confidence boost. On days when I’m feeling guilty about not squeezing in a traditional workout, my fitness tracker reminds me that all my strolling, hiking, climbing and exploring has added up to a significant workout.

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