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Staying active when you’re away from home

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Walking in airport terminals is a great way to get aerobic exercise on a travel day.

These exercise tips can fit any travel plan.

An exercise routine is just that—a routine. But when your regular daily schedule is disrupted by business or vacation travel, your fitness program doesn’t have to falter. Here are some ways you can stay active when you’re away from home.

Make the most of transit time

Lost in LAX? Long layover in O’Hare? It’s easy to log a mile or more along the airport concourse just trying to find your gate. “When I’m traveling through an airport, I never use the trains between terminals or the moving walkways,” says exercise expert Dr. I-Min Lee, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “You’d be surprised at how much aerobic exercise you’re getting because you’re not thinking about exercise while you’re desperately trying to make your connection.”

Some cities actively encourage airport fitness by providing walking maps and self-guided tours. In San Francisco, you can even end with a good stretch at the airport yoga center. A pedometer, smartphone app, or wristband activity tracker (such as the Fitbit or FuelBand) will help you count steps and monitor your progress toward your daily fitness goal.

The hotel fitness challenge

Although it’s not as easy to get aerobic exercise in a cramped hotel room, Dr. Lee recommends doing calisthenics such as jumping jacks, or bringing along a small jump rope or exercise DVD you can play in your room. She also suggests walking the stairs between floors in a hotel as an alternative to slaving away on the step machine in a hotel fitness room. Hint: First make sure that the access doors from the hotel corridor won’t lock behind you and trap you in the stairwell.

Many hotels provide maps of nearby outdoor running and walking routes that their fitness-minded guests can safely use. Depending on where you are and what you like to do, concierge desks can often help you arrange kayaking, city walking tours, or other fun fitness outings.

Staying strong

Strengthening exercises (such as the ones pictured below) can be done just about anywhere with minimal equipment. All you need is a sturdy chair and a mat, towel, or carpet to cushion you from the hard floor. Another packable option for resistance training is an elastic exercise band that harnesses your own body weight to build muscle strength. Like free weights, exercise bands come in a range of difficulty levels, from very stretchy to heavy-duty resistance. Common types include bands with handles and large loops that look like giant rubber bands.

Want to work out but forgot your gear? Don’t worry. Some hotel chains will let you rent athletic clothes and shoes for about $5 a day. They may even throw in a new pair of socks. 

Exercises for home and travel

Michael Carroll Photography
Front plank on desk

1. Stand facing a desk or counter with
your feet together.

2. Tighten your abdominal muscles
and lower your upper body weight onto
your forearms.

3. Clasp your hands together and
align your shoulders directly over
your elbows.

4. Step back on the balls of your feet
until you are balancing your body
in a line like a plank.

5. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, rest
30 to 60 seconds, and then repeat
two to four times.

Standing knee lift

1. Stand up straight with your feet

2. Hold the back of a chair with your left
hand and put your right hand on your hip.

3. Exhale as you lift your right knee
toward the ceiling as high as is
comfortable, then lower the foot to the floor.

4. Repeat eight to 12 times, then
repeat with the left leg.

Posted by: Dr.Health

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