Who wants to crowd their precious carry-on space with running shoes and work out clothes? Not me! Yet I still want to at least make an effort to maintain my fitness regimen whilst I’m traveling.
Try these ten stretches/exercises in your hotel room, waiting around in the train station, or even in flight (if you are lucky enough to lack seat mates). A quick circuit of a few of these simple moves will definitely make you feel better about skipping the treadmill.
Of course if you aren’t used to a regular exercise routine, be smart and consult a doctor before attempting any of these maneuvers.
This classic yoga pose is a full body of stretching in one go! Get right down on that floor on your hands and knees, hands beneath your shoulders and knees beneath your hips. Slowly raise your rear until it’s as high in the air as it will go. Gently straighten your legs and spread your fingers wide. Your heels should be off the floor by about an inch and your body should be in the shape of an upside down ‘V.’ Hold for about 30 seconds and revel in the rejuvenating effect!
This exercise is so quick and easy you’ll want to do it all day long—and you’ll end up with a perky, firm bottom as a result! Standing with your feet hip width apart, push up onto your tiptoes. Hold for about 3 seconds and then lower. Repeat 20 times and you’ll feel the effect immediately! Perfect for killing time in line, in a crowd of people or really any time at all, no one will even notice you are working on your fitness!
If you don’t mind some curious looks from strangers, you can do these leg strengtheners anywhere, though your luxury hotel room is probably ideal. From a standing position, take a large step forward. With your hands on your hips and your back straight, slowly sink down until your back knee is one inch from the floor, then slowly raise back up. Your front knee should not bend forward past your foot–a 90 degree angle is perfect. Do 10 lunges on each side and feel the burn!
More of a comfort than a calorie burner, this stretch feels amazing when you’ve been sitting for way too long in a plane, train or automobile. Stretch out one leg at a time and just by moving your foot from the ankle, trace the alphabet (letters about one foot tall). By the time you get to ‘Z’ your legs will have regained some much needed circulation!
Tricep Dips Exercise
All you need for this arm slimming trick is a solid chair, bench or ledge that’s seat level. With your back to the chair, place your hands shoulder width apart, fingers facing forward on the seat. Place your feet hip width apart so that your knees are at a 90 degree angle. Slowly dip your derriere down until your elbows bend to 90 degrees and then push back up. If you do 20 reps, your arms will thank you!
A tried and true waist-slimmer, side bends can be executed with a weight or without, (try a bottle of water or phone book from the hotel room). Standing with your feet hip width apart, raise your left hand behind your head, (like you would if you were lounging on a hammock). With your other hand holding the weight against your right side, slowly bend sideways until the weight is at knee level. Using your oblique muscles, slowly raise back up to standing. Try 10 reps on each side and you’ll have Lady Gaga abs in no time!
Push up Exercise
Turns out the phys-ed teacher was right (even if their choice of neon wind suit was always so wrong). Push ups are an amazing strength move that condition your whole body! All you need is a wee strip of personal space to drop and do 20 and your chest, back, abs, glutes and legs will be the better for it. Lay on your stomach with your hands beneath your shoulders, facing forward. Keeping your torso and rear flat like a plank, push up onto your knees. Lower, repeat, and get ready to sweat! Once you gain muscles you will be able to lift up onto your toes instead, but we aren’t in 7th grade gym class anymore, so I won’t tell if you stay on your knees.
This is another one that works in any environment. All you need is a flat wall! It will strengthen your thighs and abs if you do it often! Basically you just push your back up against a wall and slide down until you are in a seated position, like there is an invisible chair beneath you. Your knees should not jut out past your ankles and you aren’t allowed to use your hands for support on the wall! Hold this position for one minute, if you’re able!
A quick and simple move that has been the bane of many an athlete’s existence for years, crunches are a great way to build your core muscles. Lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor in front of you. Supporting your neck with your hands behind your head, contract your abs and curl upwards. You don’t have to sit all the way up—just the contraction itself is enough to get you results. Aim your elbows at the opposite knees to work the obliques. Start with 20 reps and work up from there!
At the end of a harrowing day of travel, this stretch is sublime. Spread your legs a good stride apart (3-4 feet depending on your height), toes facing forward. Slowly bend forward from the hips and feel the glorious stretch! If you are extra limber and keen for an even more delicious stretch, link your hands behind your back and gently lift them towards the floor while you are still upside down in the forward bend. The stress from your shoulders, hamstrings and lower back will be instantly relieved!
Just a little effort will help you to maintain the level of fitness you’ve so worked for at home, without having to go through the hassle of hitting the gym or accidentally jogging into a dodgy neighborhood. Try these easy tips the next time you are traveling to a hotel in New York, Paris, London or beyond!