As travelling for work and leisure restarts in earnest, your regular exercise routine is likely to be disrupted. While a short break from exercising never hurt anyone, it is best if you don’t let travel come in the way of your fitness goals. Just as it was before the pandemic, you should start planning how you would keep up your active routine despite travel.
However, overthinking and being rigid about sticking to what you are used to, can suck the fun out of exercise, so try these four travel routines that won’t force you to go looking for equipment or a gym to keep your active life on track.
Fartlek: One of the easiest ways to keep up your activity levels while out traveling with minimum fuss is running. All you need to do is carry a pair of sneakers with you; no extra packing for equipment needed at all. Personally, whenever I feel in need of a workout while traveling, I usually head out for a 5 or 10km run. I use the time to think while working up a sweat and getting the heart rate up. If you fancy a harder workout, try increasing the pace which automatically increases the intensity of the workout. Doing this first thing in the morning leaves you ample time to address all your work commitments or holiday plans.
However, my favourite is the Fartlek, which is a form of interval training. It is intense and not only works your heart but also engages your core and leg muscles completely. It entails one minute of running at a high speed, followed by one minute of slow jog. Even 20 minutes of this, which is 10 pairs of fast and slow runs, would be enough to leave you feeling good, but what you should be aiming for is a half-hour Fartlek. Just remember to always include a warm up run of about 1-2km before you begin the workout.
Workout: 1-2km easy jog for warm up + 1 minute fast run (80-90% of your best pace) + 1 minute slow jog (15 rounds)
Hotel room special:If you don’t like running or are still reluctant to go to the gym and still want to work out, your best option is bodyweight workouts in your hotel. Even if you are used to isolation workouts—focusing on your chest, legs, back, shoulder and arms on separate days—working out while travelling calls for a total workout that covers all the muscle groups in one go. This way you could pick up where you left off when you get back home from your trip. The best way to plan a ‘hotel room special’ is to pick one bodyweight exercise each for your legs, chest, back and core, and do high repetitions of each depending on your fitness levels.
Hotel Room Special 1: 50/100 pushups + 50/100 squats + 50/100 sit-ups
Hotel Room Special 2 (50-100 rounds depending on fitness): 1 burpee + 2 squats + 3 pushups
Resistance band workouts: If you need external resistance for a satisfactory workout, investing in a set of resistance bands is a great idea. They are portable enough to fit in your hand baggage and are an excellent substitute for weights. All you need to do is get the technique right, and learn the tricks to get the most out of the bands. Once you do, I can guarantee that you won’t miss a single day of exercise while on the move. From shoulder press, deadlifts, chest press, squats, bicep curls and tricep extensions, you can do just about everything in the comfort of your hotel room.
Resistance band workout 1(Five rounds): 10 chest press + 10 shoulder press + 10 bicep curls + 10 sit-ups
Resistance band workout 2 (Four Rounds): 10 squats + 10 deadlifts + 10 overhead band extensions + 10 tricep extensions
Swimming: Most hotels would have a swimming pool, so it makes complete sense to make use of one. Not only is it a good workout, but it also is an extremely relaxing thing to do. And you don’t need to pack anything extra for this except your swimwear and swimming goggles, which don’t really add to the baggage volume or weight. So, why not?
Workout 1: 1km swim; Workout 2 (5-10 rounds): 2 laps fast + 1 lap slow +10 sit ups +1 minute rest.
Shrenik Avlani is a writer and editor and co-author of The Shivfit Way, a book on functional fitness.