How to Sneak in Exercise When You’re On the Road

Now that you’ve lost weight, you’ve developed habits and systems to maintain your weight loss—habits such as working out regularly and cooking most meals at home. That’s great! But what if you need to leave home for a business trip or a family vacation?

Whether you travel for work or for pleasure, you may find it a challenge to maintain your health and fitness habits when you’re away from home. Exercise helps you keep fit, maintain weight loss, and ease the stress and physical toll travel can take on your body, so working out on the go is worth the effort. Here are some tips to help you sneak in exercise when you’re on the road.

Before you go

Ask yourself some questions as you make plans for your trip. What is its purpose? How long will you be gone? Where will you be—with family, friends, or work colleagues? Will you be able to exercise outdoors? Some situations will make it easier than others for you to sneak in a workout.

Make your mind up that you will be active. Maybe you don’t have the time or inclination for a full-fledged, make-your-muscles-burn sweat session. That’s perfectly fine. You want to maintain the habit of physical activity, as well as enjoy the benefits of moving your body. That might mean scaled down workouts, plenty of walking, or a few yoga poses before hitting a conference meeting or sightseeing with your family. You determine how much movement you can work into your schedule.

Check the facilities where you’re staying. Does your hotel or vacation rental have a pool or gym equipment you can use? Is there a bike share program? Is it safe to walk in the area in which you’re staying? Are you within walking distance of attractions you want to see? This knowledge will help you figure out what types of exercise will be easiest to sneak in.

Pack fitness gear such as athletic shoes, your swimsuit, comfortable workout clothes, a jump rope, resistance bands, or even a yoga mat. You could also pack your favorite DVD workout, or stream or download a workout to your laptop or other device. Be ready to take advantage of down time in order to sneak in some exercise—or better yet, schedule it ahead of time.

En route

Move as much as you can while en route. If you have a long enough layover, take a lap or two around the terminal. If you’re driving, stop as often as you can to stretch your legs, or maybe even do a few jumping jacks or other calisthenics. Even on an airplane, stand up and move around if it is safe to do so.

At your destination

Get the travel kinks out by taking a walk as soon as you reach your destination. This will also minimize jet lag, and help you get familiar with the area in which you’re staying.

What if your accommodations have no workout facilities? You’re not off the hook! You can perform the following moves using body weight alone: squats, lunges, push-ups, calf raises, dips, planks, crunches, and stretches. Wake up half an hour before the family and punch out a few reps to start your day on an active note.

Physical activity doesn’t have to be a chore, either. Make physical activity part of your vacation. Depending on the season and location, bike, hike, ski, snowshoe, go horseback riding, snorkel, rock climb, or paddle board. Take the stairs, walk to attractions, climb to the top of the hill to see the view. Pack your pedometer or download an app that will count your steps and challenge yourself to take as many as possible. Take a walking tour instead of driving from place to place. Visit a park so the kids can run around—and run after them. Hunt for shells on the beach or build sandcastles with your kids. Instead of Happy Hour, take a walk on the beach or around the neighborhood.

Remember your diet

While it’s fine to treat yourself to the occasional special food or beverage while on vacation or out of town on business, keep healthy eating principles in mind and limit your indulgences. You’ll avoid weight regain and it’ll be easier to return to your healthy eating habits when you get home.

Since you’ve lost weight, you feel and look better and can probably do more—let that momentum carry you. Finding ways to sneak in exercise on your next trip will help you maintain your weight loss and healthy habits—and you might discover a new activity you love.