As those travel mileage points accumulate, unfortunately, so can that pesky section around the middle. It’s difficult to stick to a routine when you’re living out of a suitcase and falling asleep in a different hotel bed every few nights. Of course, your health is impacted in a variety of ways, but there is a solution! Your best bet at taking control of your overall health and wellness involves establishing consistency in the following three areas: diet, sleep, and exercise. It turns out it's not rocket science to stay healthy and to fight off the battle of the bulge.
Let’s start with exercise. It’s easy to make excuses for neglecting to exercise. It's often the very last thing you feel like doing after a long day of travel. As much as we'd like to believe it counts, tromping through the airport while lugging a 50-pound suitcase is not really exercise. Not enough muscle groups get a workout, and we sincerely doubt that your heart rate gets pumping unless that's your body’s natural reaction to the smell of Cinnabon in the terminal.
Pro tip: Develop a repertoire of moves that you can casually drop when you have a few minutes of downtime or when you can block off a half-hour for some sweat-inducing, adrenaline-pumping circuit training routines.
Here's hoping these five exercises will inspire you to get up and get moving no matter how crazy your travel schedule may be. Remeber, the first step is the hardest!
Stretches, Blessed StretchesWhen you spend a lot of time sitting, your body is just begging for a Mister Fantastic stretchy workout sometime during the day. The beauty of stretching exercises is that you can do them casually in the middle of a crowd, or head to the spacious lounge areas for a quick limber up. Slowly bend at the hips and allow your torso to fall forward, reaching for your toes. Bonus points for wearing heels because it will motivate you to reach for that extra three inches. Bend and stretch deliberately, making sure to feel the muscle movements. When your torso goes back to the starting position, do a 360-degree neck rotation, alternating directions. Repeat the circuit as needed, and add arm rotations if space and time allow. Stretches can work as warm-up exercises to motivate you to go for a full-body workout when time allows. This stretching routine can be done with or without equipment and when you have only a few minutes to spare.
Advanced StretchesLateral lunges. This requires a bit more dedication. Find a floor surface that’s not slippery. A mirrored space may inspire you to find your best form. Stand in place with your feet apart by about a shoulder width. Position hands on hips like a boss, and rest your right foot on a towel.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, hands on hips, and your right foot on a towel. Bend the left knee while pushing hips back as you simultaneously slide your right foot, extending it as far as you can to the right without falling over. Hold the position briefly, then pull that right leg in slowly as you relish the muscle burn on your thighs. Pause at the starting position, deep breathing for a few counts, then repeat the movement at least 15 times. Switch sides after 15 reps and give the left side the same treatment.
- Push it, Push it Good
Push-ups require upper body strength, core stability, and magical wrists, but we’ve got the skinny on a workaround that works even if you’ve never been a workout warrior. You’re going to be facing a lot of walls in airports, offices, break rooms, and hotel suites. Staring at walls can be mind-numbing, so why not use them for good. Here’s how.
Face the wall, standing a comfortable distance away. Stretch both arms to the wall with palms flat on the wall. The distance is appropriate if you can teeter on your toes safely. Without bending your torso, push against the wall with your arms braced against it, then slowly bend your elbows to bring your entire upper body at an angle to the wall as if you were doing a push up in the standing position, which you are. Make sure to breathe properly, and hold those abdominal muscles in like someone is pushing your belly button inward. Do 15 reps for beginners, and add reps to cover the mocha caramel frappuccino you had to survive the brutal all-day presentations.
- Jump for Joy
This is one exercise you have to pack for: the jump rope circuit. Opt for a thin plastic speed rope that will work in tight spaces without leaving slash marks on the furniture. Take it easy on yourself by doing traditional jump-rope sequences for as long as you can tolerate the activity. Vary the speed, intensity, and duration of this exercise, but there is no need to venture into the fancy criss-cross skips. Leave that for the kids, and enjoy this intense, cardio exercise for a quick endorphin boost.
- Towel-aided Exercises
Grab a towel and prepare to do some serious floor exercises. Stretch that towel as tautly as you can between your hands while balancing on your tush on the floor. With arms extended straight at about shoulder height, lean back slowly while raising your feet about ruler-height off the floor. Keep those core muscles tight as you bend your knees. Balanced precariously like this, dip the right end of the towel to the floor as you rotate your torso and shoulders in this direction. Hold the position, breathe, and rotate your body back to the center as you hang on to that towel for the sake of your health!
Repeat on the opposite side to make one rep. After 20 reps of this, you’ll appreciate the fact that balancing your entire body on your bottom is fun. Feel free to tweak your movements, and add more reps as you get more comfortable in this position.