It’s safe to say that traveling takes a toll on regular routines. Some of that disruption is welcome, some not so much. One thing I least look forward to is missing my regular exercise routine. That lack of exercise is unsettling because I’m eating and drinking more than I should when on the road. Over the years, I’ve learned a few easy ways to exercise when traveling.

One deterrent to exercising is lack of equipment. If you’re lucky, your hotel has a well-stocked gym that’s inexpensive or free to use. However, if the hotel doesn’t, then the next best thing is finding ways to bring equipment with you or to exercise with no equipment.

One item to bring along is a skipping rope. It’s lightweight and can easily be stuffed inside the shoes you’ve packed. Skipping may look easy, but it’s harder to do than you might think. One minute worth makes for a good start to the workout but two 10 minute sessions a day burns 200 calories equaling 1,000 calories over five days.

Rubber exercise bands are another lightweight item to pack in your bags. Resistance training with bands is a good alternative to lifting weights. Compared to aerobic exercise, weightlifting burns fewer calories – about 150 per half hour – but is excellent strength training.

One reason yoga is so widespread is that it requires no bulky equipment. Yes, if you were at home, you’d use your yoga mat, but when traveling, just lay a towel on the carpet and start your moves. Or use YogaPaws for another mat replacement. Again, burning calories is not the main benefit of yoga – 200/hour – but a few of the many benefits include increased flexibility, help to avoid insomnia, help to lower blood pressure.

While traveling, do your best to walk to places you need to go. Walk to restaurants and attractions, or if you’re lucky, take a long walk on the beach. Be sure to check first with the concierge or hotel desk staff to learn the best and safest routes. Walking also gets you out into the neighborhood to take in local sites. A 30-minute walk burns anywhere from 90 to 200 calories, depending on your weight, speed and fitness level.

If you’re on a cruise, the upper deck jogging track is a great place to walk or run. One of my best cruise memories took place one morning on a ship’s track. There were four of us traveling together and I was the only getting up early to walk. I was walking my laps as the ship was cruising into San Francisco Bay. The sun was just rising. It was one of the most amazing views with the street lights still lit up and the sunrise coming up over the city. I’ll never forget it and wish someone had been with me to share that incredible view. Oh well, it’s true – you snooze, you lose!

This is something we could do more of in our daily routines but is a smart practice to get into when traveling. Walk the stairs instead of taking elevators. If walking up them is too difficult, then at least always walk down. You can burn .17 calories per stair going up and .05 per stair going down.  One couple I know used to teach dance lessons on cruise ships. She mentioned to me that instead of taking the elevator everywhere on a ship, she takes the stairs. What a great idea! I was impressed by her discipline and then I learned later that she’s very nervous riding elevators. Fair enough – in her case, it paid off to have that phobia.

One other exercise strategy that helps while you travel:  Exercise with someone else. If one of you doesn’t feel like working out that day, maybe the other one will. Peer pressure can be a good thing.

Admittedly, it is difficult forcing yourself to exercise when traveling, but keep the faith, set the goal and keep moving!

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