We love them, we look forward to them, we talk about them for weeks before and weeks after – vacations. Those 1-2 weeks of the year when we get away from it all – work, responsibilities, car pools. Unfortunately, there is something else we tend to leave back at home – exercise. But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are plenty of ways to stay on top of your routine, even when you are far away from your exercise comfort zone.
Easy Exercise Equipment
There are a few, simple pieces of equipment you can take with you on your trip that you can get serious use out of (and trust us, they won’t take up a lot of room in your suitcase). The first one is an exercise band. With an exercise band, you can do dozens of different exercises, hitting all areas of your body. Here is an example for both the core and upper body, but feel free to experiment and create your own.
Three other pieces of equipment are ankle weights, a stress ball, and a jump rope. You can strap on those ankle weights for leg raises, calf raises, or other leg exercises. You can even strap them around your wrist and do bicep curls. A stress ball works your forearms. The beautiful thing about using a stress ball is that you can do it anytime, even when you are driving! With a jump rope you can, well, jump rope and get your heart rate pumping.
Oldies but Goodies
There are plenty of exercises you can do anywhere, which require no exercise equipment at all. First are two oldies but goodies - pushups and sit-ups. Pushups are underrated as an exercise for your chest and arms, while sit-ups are important for your core. Feel free to turn your sit-ups into crunches, which will hit your upper abdominals as opposed to your lower abs.
Two good leg exercises are calf raises and forward lunges. For calf raises, all you need is a raised surface. A step works great for this. The front of your foot is on the step while your heel hangs over the edge, parallel to the ground. Standing straight up and holding onto something for balance, rise up on your toes, lower down by dropping your heels, raise back up, and continue. Try it on one foot at a time, but if you're having trouble balancing, use both feet. Here is a visual.
While calf raises work your lower legs, forward lunges will work your upper legs. To do forward lunges, stand with your knees 6 inches apart and your toes facing forward. Step out 2 - 2.5 feet with one foot and then lower your body straight down until both of your knees are at a 90-degree angle. Then stand back up and repeat. Click here for a demonstration.
Work that Core
Besides sit-ups, there are numerous other exercises you can do that will work on your core, which is your lower back and abdomen region. Also, an exercise that is vital, yet overlooked, is stretching. Just 15 minutes a day is great exercise. Check out various stretches by clicking here.
This article was reviewed and approved by Joe Downie, Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Coach.