Summer vacations provide the opportunity to travel all over the globe. While you can't take your gym with you during your travels, there are plenty of ways to exercise while on the road. Follow these tips to stay in shape while enjoying your time away from home:
- Make the commitment: We have a tendency to abandon our workout routine while traveling. Our recommendation: Don't! Commit to working out 3-5 times per week no matter what during your travels and stick to it. You'll have more energy and feel better throughout your trip (it's science).
- Take advantage of the local resources: Each region of the world has unique natural resources to enjoy. Incorporate each region's unique attributes into your exercise routine. Try rock climbing in Utah, rowing on the Charles River in Boston, biking in the Swiss Alps, running in the streets of Florence or the hiking in the jungles of Panama.
- Create a balanced workout plan: Every solid workout regimen consists of a combination of cardiovascular and strength training. Be sure to alternate between these two forms of training. Also, incorporate as much variety into your workouts as possible. Alternating between running, biking and swimming, for example, is a much more well-rounded and effective training plan than simply running every day.
- Improvise : Gym equipment makes working out convenient but it's not a must. Remember that gym equipment is designed to simulate "every day" activities but does so by isolating a single muscle. Research has shown that complex movements (lifting a rock off the ground and then over your head) leads to a greater increase in your metabolism and burns more fat than a simple movement (a bicep curl). Better exercise without the need for a gym. When you get to a new city, assemble your own personal gym with whatever you can find (rocks, bricks, furniture, etc.). Matthew McConaughey is notorious for his improvised workout equipment while filming in remote locations.
- Equipment : You really don't need much. Running shoes are a must as is a bathing suit if you like to swim. We also recommend an exercise band. It's light, compact and, with a little creativity, can be used to perform almost any exercise you would do in a gym. You can find everything else you need while traveling.
- Explore the city on foot : There's no better way to explore a town than by running through it. You'll be able to appreciate the local flavor infinitely more than you would on a tour bus and can tailor your journey to your particular interests. Take your camera with you to capture the adventure along the way.
- Try Circuit Training : Circuit training is perfect for travelers as it requires minimal equipment and combines both cardiovascular and strength training. We recommend completing 3-4 circuits with three exercises in each circuit and 3 sets per exercise. See the list of exercises below that require minimal or no equipment that you can incorporate into your circuit while traveling.
- Have Fun : You're on vacation! This should be fun. Exercising reduces stress, improves your health and releases endorphins that subsequently improve your mood. Make sure that you exercise in a way you enjoy. It will be easier to stick to your routine and will make for a better overall vacation.
Exercises that don't require any equipment:
Upper Body Exercises
- Push Ups
- Pull Ups
- Inverted Row
- Sit Ups
- Bird Dog
- Side Plank
- Jump Squats
- Jump Lunges
- Box Jumps
Exercises that require minimal equipment:
- Balancing Arm Extensions (see picture)
- Bicep Curls
- Good Mornings
- Tricep Extensions
- Squats (Hold rock to increase difficulty)
- Bicep Curls
- Reverse Flys
- Wood Chops
- Tricep Extensions
- Flys (see picture)
- Shoulder Press
- Front Shoulder Raise
- Lateral Shoulder Raise
by Joshua Goldman, MD, MBA