Vacation is a wonderful time to indulge in tasty food and relaxation, but nobody wants to come home feeling guilty and out of shape.
While you are traveling, make choices that involve activity, says Beth Kageyama, a group fitness instructor in Encino, Calif. She tells her clients, for one thing, to walk around the airport terminal while waiting for a flight. “Why would you sit before you get on the plane?” she says. Once at your destination, gauge your stamina, but include plans that require movement: Join a walking tour, wander through interesting city neighborhoods, rent bikes, or explore museums.
Even when you are on vacation, Kageyama advises, “get up early and get moving.” We asked fitness experts for simple exercises that require no equipment, can be done in and around a hotel room (or anywhere else you may be staying), and will help people keep fit while away from home.
Calf raises. Keep your lower legs strong for all that destination exploration. Stand on flat feet and push yourself up on your toes, and repeat 15 to 25 times, says Phong Tran, a Los Angeles personal trainer, who suggests standing close to a wall that you can use for balance if necessary.
Squats. Strengthen your core and lower body with this gym standard. Bend forward and arch your bottom backward onto a chair; repeat 15 times. Using a chair will prevent you from squatting too low and hurting yourself, Tran says.
Bed sit-ups. Core strength is important for everyday activities. One way to improve yours, according to Tran, is to lie down with your legs off the bed and your feet on the ground, then sit up, repeating 15 times.
Balance on one leg. Stand on one leg while barefoot, with the other leg bent. Extend your arms out to the side and hold that position for 10 or 15 seconds. Do the same with the other leg. Bryant Johnson, a member of The Vitamin Shoppe’s Wellness Council, creator of the Ruth Bader Ginsburg(RBG) workout and the Supreme Court justice’s longtime personal trainer, suggests doing this exercise in the morning, five times on each side. If you can balance for only five seconds, start there and work up to 10 seconds, he says, then eventually try for 30 seconds.
Floor stretch. Get down on the floor and lie flat on the ground, extending your arms over your head and pointing your toes; then roll on your side and return to standing. Repeat five times. Johnson says this simple exercise works many muscles in the body.
Forearm plank. Place your forearms on the ground, with your elbows aligned below your shoulders, and arms parallel to your body at about shoulder-width distance. Your legs can extend behind you or your knees can be down, to ease strain on your back. “Look down at the floor and not forward or up — this will put unnecessary strain on the neck,” says Johnson. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, then relax; repeat five times.
Thank you to AARP for inviting me to share about fitness and travel.
Thank you to all the fitness trainers who shared their knowledge with me!