Summer vacations provide the opportunity to travel around the world. While you can't take your gym with you during your travels, there are many ways to exercise while on the road. Follow these tips to keep fit while enjoying your time away from home:
- Make the commitment: We have a tendency to abandon our exercise routine while traveling. Our recommendation: no! Commit to training 3 to 5 times a week no matter what during your travels and follow it. You will have more energy and feel better during your trip (it's science).
- Take advantage of local resources: Each region of the world has unique natural resources to enjoy. Incorporate the unique attributes of each region into your exercise routine. Try climbing rocks in Utah, paddling on the Charles River in Boston, riding a bike in the Swiss Alps, running on the streets of Florence or hiking in the jungles of Panama.
- Create a balanced training plan: Each solid training 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 as possible in your workouts. Switching between running, cycling and swimming, for example, is a much more complete and effective training plan than just running every day.
- Improvise: The gym equipment makes exercise convenient, but not mandatory. Remember that the gym equipment is designed to simulate "everyday" activities, but it does so by isolating a single muscle. Research has shown that complex movements (lifting a rock from 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 of a gym. When you arrive in a new city, build your own personal gym with everything you can find (rocks, bricks, furniture, etc.). Matthew McConaughey is known for his makeshift training team while filming in remote locations.
- Team: You really don't need much. Sneakers are a must, as well as a swimsuit if you like to swim. We also recommend an exercise band. It is light, compact and, with a little creativity, can be used to perform almost any exercise you do in a gym. You can find everything you need while traveling.
- Explore the city on foot: There is no better way to explore a city than running through it. You will appreciate the local flavor infinitely more than you would on a tourist bus and you can adapt your trip 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 cardiovascular and strength training. We recommend completing 3-4 circuits with three exercises in each circuit and 3 series 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. Exercise reduces stress, improves your health and releases endorphins that subsequently improve your mood. Be sure to exercise in a way that you enjoy. It will be easier to follow your routine and improve your vacation in general.
Exercises that do not require any equipment:
Upper body exercises
- Pull ups
- I ask
- Inverted row
- Bird dog
- Side table
- Jump squats
- Jump Lunges
- Cash jumps
Exercises that require minimal equipment:
- Balance arm extensions (see image)
- Bicep pushups
- Good Morning
- Dead weight
- Tricep Extensions
- Squats (Hold the rock to increase the difficulty)
- Bicep pushups
- Reverse flies
- Wood Chops
- Tricep Extensions
- Flies (see photo)
- Shoulder grip
- Front shoulder lift
- Lateral shoulder lift
by Joshua Goldman, MD, MBA