There you are, sitting on a plane or jammed in a car with numb legs and an aching back with nowhere to move. The only thing you’re focused on is getting to your hotel, dropping your bags, and hitting the gym to stretch out, move your legs, and get your heart rate up to make up for the fact that you just sat still for hours on end.
But then the unthinkable happens… there’s no gym. What do you? Rather than twiddling your thumbs and panicking, I’m here to help. Below, I’ll go over a variety of exercise ideas for frequent international travelers, whether you’re going to a tropical beach resort or taking a city adventure.
The best part about running while traveling is that it’s not only a great way to exercise, but it’s also a great way to see your destination in a new way. While driving can get you to places faster and further, running allows you to take in your surroundings and notice things you’d otherwise miss. Minimalist running shoes are part of the must-have gear if you’re traveling. They’re lightweight, meaning they won’t push your checked bag over the weight limit, but don’t compromise support, so you can rest assured that you won’t succumb to any injuries.
You may think of stairs as a simple series of steps to get you from one floor to the next. However, if you’re looking to build some fast-twitch muscles or strengthen your quads, stairs will be your best friend. You will likely come across stairs in your hotel, but can also find some steps in local parks, temples, and going up most hilltops around town. Some stair exercises worth trying on your next trip include:
- Fast Steps: To work on speed and build fast-twitch muscles, try going up the stairs as fast as you can. As you speed up the steps, make short, fast steps, and drive your knees upwards. Repeat as many times you prefer or break them into reps.
- Stair Hops: If you want to feel the burn in your quads, try stair hops. To stair hop, start at the base of the steps with your feet shoulder-width apart. Then, bend your knees and lower your hips and back and spring forward, trying to jump as many steps as you can and repeat. You can also do short stair hops and do quick hops going up every step.
- Push-Ups: To get an arm workout in, you can also do push-ups by leaning forward and placing your hands on a step where your hands are directly under your shoulders. Then, bend your elbows and lower yourself until you’re close to the stairs and push back up and repeat as desired.
Swimming is one of the best exercises you can do, as it works almost every muscle in your body. Wherever you’re traveling, you can most likely find a beach or body of water to hop in and take a dip. Even better, all you need to pack is a bathing suit and a pair of goggles to get your heart pumping and muscles moving. You can even find a local pool to swim in, but if you want to save money while traveling, walk down to the beach and swim along the shore before you head out and explore your destination for the day.
While running, swimming and stairs are great ways to increase your cardio while traveling, there are plenty of bodyweight workouts you can do in your hotel or Airbnb to build some muscle. All you need is the clothes you packed or even a resistance band to get swole. One bodyweight workout worth trying goes as follows:
- 30 bodyweight squats
- 20 push-ups
- 15 one-legged squats with one leg on a chair
- 20 walking lunges
- 35 jumping jacks
You can turn this into a circuit, which means you don’t take any breaks in between each exercise. Or, you can break the workout up into reps to give yourself a break, but still, have enough energy to perform each exercise more.
Traveling is always a worthwhile experience, but if you’re a frequent traveler, you don’t want to use each vacation as an excuse to not work out. Before you head out of your hotel each morning to explore the city or resort, give one of these exercises a try—you won’t regret it!