Fit on a trip: Incorporate fitness into travel

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Photo by Ant1_G

Vacations, long car trips and busy schedules can all lead to major disruptions in our fitness routines. Whether traveling by car or plane, staying in hotels or with family, you can still make fitness a part of each day. Here are a few tips to make your vacations more fitness-friendly:

Sitting a car for a few a lot of hours a day traveling to that great vacation destination can make you feel tired and stiff. Moreover, car trips are notorious for combining little physical activity with eating the wrong foods. Pull off at rest stops and stretch by reaching for the sky. Take deep breaths. Spend a few moments walking around and seeing the sights. Stretching every few hours will make you feel less worn. Here’s a game you can play when traveling with your family. At each stop, a different person gets to name the activity. It might be jumping jacks or running around the car. It can be as simple as racing each other to the “facilities.” Meanwhile, pack a small cooler with some nutritious snacks.

There are times when airline travel can have you calling the airport your new home. Why not pack gym shoes in your carry on luggage? You’ve all seen the moving walkways. Don’t use them if time allows. There are many places to walk and climb stairs in most airports. When it comes to having a snack or meal, remember that many of the food vendors offer nutritious choices. Consuming fewer calories while being less active is an important part of not gaining those extra vacation pounds. Pack some healthy treats in your purse or backpack. Dried fruit, nuts and water are good choices.

Many hotels and resorts offer fitness centers. Although your choices could be limited, remember that any movement is better than nothing. Try to combine some cardiovascular exercise — a treadmill or elliptical trainer — with some strength training. If your accommodations don’t include a fitness area, that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. Plan ahead. Pack some resistance bands for strength training. They can be purchased at many health clubs, online or local retailers. Wrap your bands around a bed post or door knob. Resistance bands come in different colors and widths. These differences affect the amount of stretch they allow for more or less resistance. Try them out to see which ones work for you. You can also use resistance bands by using your foot to step on the middle of the band for an arm workout, for example.

You can’t exactly pack weights in your suitcase, so try filling disposable water bottles with water for a lightweight workout. Be creative. Many exercises can be done on the floor with nothing but your own body weight for resistance. Pushups, for example, offer a great upper body strength exercise and don’t require anything but you to perform it. Situps, leg lifts and arm circles are just a few exercises that can be performed without equipment.

Cardiovascular exercise remains important when traveling, too. Many vacations involve sightseeing. Don’t underestimate the power of walking. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes, bring water and wear sunscreen. You’ll get more heart-healthy exercise just by taking the stairs whenever possible.

By thinking ahead before your trip, you’ll keep your workout routine on schedule. No matter the mode of travel or destination, you still can exercise and eat right on vacation.