When you’re busy or traveling it can be challenging to stick to an exercise program. You might not have access to the things you normally do to stay in shape, like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or a gym you are familiar with. You might not even be able to find any gym at all.
At times like these, it becomes easy to give in to the temptation to put your workout routine on hold. You tell yourself you will get back to it once your return from your trip or when you have more time, but for many people, such breaks end up lasting a lot longer than they ever planned.
If you enjoy going to new places, seeing new sights and trying new cuisines, you should come up with a road trip workout plan that you can perform virtually anywhere. That way you can try out all the interesting foods and drinks you come across without setting yourself back fitness wise.
Spending lots of time sitting in a car or airplane, if you’re traveling, or at your desk working long hours can negatively impact your posture. It leads to the anterior muscles systems becoming shorter and tighter, while posterior muscles become lengthened. The end result is poor posture, lower back issues, cramping and health risks like thrombosis.
Spending extended periods seated also increases your risk of cancer and heart disease. These negative effects can be nullified by adding periods of activity that activate the anterior and stretches muscles in the back.
Here are some simple exercises you can perform pretty much anywhere.
1) Side Bend
- To start this exercise, sit or stand straight up
- Bend towards a side while keeping the spine straight
- Get back to the original position and perform the movement on your other side
- Keep on alternating between both sides for about 60 seconds
- To add more of a resistance, you can hold weights in either hand
2) Calf Raises
- Stand on the edge of a raised surface or step with your weight on the balls of your feet and toes (ideally grab something nearby to maintain balance)
- Lower your heels as low as you can go, ideally below the level of your toes
- Now, push upwards and lift your heels as high as possible. Repeat as many times as necessary
3) Scapular Retraction
- While seating upright, drop your arms to the sides and keep them relaxed
- With your spine remaining straight, move your shoulders upwards towards your ears
- Shrug your shoulders and rotate them backward and downwards while keeping your shoulder muscles together. Perform this motion for about a minute
When you finally get to your destination, you can start to incorporate more demanding exercises into your vacation workout routine. Pushups are the most effective way to work out many muscles in the upper body using only your body weight.
To perform the exercise:
While on the ground, place your hands on the floor while keeping them about shoulder width apart. The farther apart your arms are, the more the exercise targets your chest. The closer the arms are, the more it works the triceps muscles. A good way to ensure your hands are in the proper position is by drawing an imaginary line through your chest and nipples. Your thumbs should be on that line. As far as the angle of your hands is concerned, go with whatever feels most comfortable to you.
If you have had wrist related issues in the past, you can perform your pushups using push-up handles. These can easily fit into a small carry-on bag.
Now, set your feet up for the exercise. Some people prefer keeping their feet close together, while others keep them about shoulder width apart. It is really an issue of preference, but as a general rule, the farther apart a person places their feet while performing this exercise, the more stable they will be.
You should be able to run a straight line from your heels to your head when you are in the proper position for pushups. Your rear end should not be sagging downwards or sticking up. A little trick you can use to ensure your body is in the right position is by clenching your rear end and tightening your abs. It might feel weird to you at first if you are already used to doing pushups incorrectly.
Your head should be facing what is in front of you not staring at the floor when performing pushups. This helps to keep your body properly aligned. When done correctly, your chin should be the first part of your head that touches the floor.
At full extension, your arms should be carrying most of your weight. Slowly lower yourself to the ground and come back up, repeat this as many times as you can and aim for two to three sets.
5) Air Squats
Air squats are a great way to exercise your lower half without any equipment. They are performed the same way you would perform a traditional squat.
- While standing straight, spread your legs shoulder width apart and slightly bend your knees
- Drop down as you would for a regular squat, making sure your rear goes as low as it can go while your back remains straight
- Go back to where you started to finish the rep. Aim for two or three sets
Going on a fun vacation or having a busy schedule should never be an excuse to stop exercising. Make it a priority to continue to do the things that keep your body healthy even when you don’t have time.