Along with backyard barbeques, poolside siestas and picnics at the park, road trips are among the essential ingredients in the recipe for summer fun. Not only does a change of scenery provide a welcome break from work and other obligations, it also provides the chance to explore exciting new locales, reconnect with nature and release pent-up stress and tension, leaving you feeling rested, relaxed and rejuvenated.
You know the mind and spirit can benefit from a getaway, but what about the body? Between all of the travel time, sightseeing and restaurant meals, it can seem difficult or downright impossible to squeeze health and fitness into your itinerary.
Related - How to Eat Healthy While Traveling
But with some smart pre-planning and a little creativity, you can enjoy a respite from routine without abandoning your goals.
10 Tips for Travel Workouts
#1 - Practice flexibility
We all have our favorites when it comes to exercise gear and routines, but one of the most important travel workout tools is an open mind.
If you love the ab crunch bench at your gym but the hotel fitness center doesn't have one, improvise with some floor exercises. If you prefer floor weights but only have access to machines, give them a whirl.
Embrace the substitution as an opportunity to switch up your workout, which is a surefire boredom buster and keeps your muscles guessing.
#2 - Expand your screen time
No, we don't mean Netflix. If you have favorite fitness DVDs or CDs, add them to your packing list. Most hotels have media players and plenty of space for in-room workouts.
You can also find countless exercise routines online, from yoga
flows to ab busters to upper- and lower-body strength routines - and most are free or cost less than lunch.
#3 - Get fit in the great outdoors
If you prefer your cardio without walls - or if you're staying somewhere sans gym - explore the surrounding area for exercise opportunities. Maybe there's a track nearby where you can knock out a three-mile run or a network of trails where you can hike to your heart's content.
A nearby playground with monkey bars or a swing set can double as an open-air gym. Use a thick tree branch for pull-ups or a park bench for lunges. (Business travelers will especially appreciate the outdoor time if the days will be spent cooped up in conference rooms.)
#4 - Get around the old-fashioned way
Whenever possible, skip the subway, bus or trolley and use your feet as nature intended. Several short walks each day can add up to a significant number of calories burned over the course of the trip.
As an added bonus, you'll get a front-row seat to the finer details of the city you're visiting. If you're not familiar with the area, do some scouting ahead of time to identify safe walking routes. While you're at it, boycott elevators and escalators and take the stairs double-time.
#5 - Pack healthy snacks
When hunger meets fatigue and your kitchen is many miles away, it's easy to fall prey to the sinister conveniences of fast-food drive-thrus, vending machines and gas station snacks. Protect yourself from these moments of weakness by having plenty of healthy snacks on hand.
Fill your backpack, briefcase or beach bag with nutritious, filling fare that will keep you satisfied until the next meal.
#6 - Don't skimp on shuteye
Between time zone changes, hectic schedules and unfamiliar beds, it can be a challenge to stick to a regular sleep schedule on the road - but a tired, frazzled traveler is much less likely to exercise and eat right. Do your best to get plenty of Z's, which will give you the energy you need to hit the gym or the sidewalk in the morning.
Some frequent travelers' tips include choosing a room with the same size bed you have at home, wearing earplugs to block ambient noise, keeping your room at a comfortable sleeping temperature and banning your smart phone and computer from the bed.
#7 - Keep up with your vitamins
Even with the best of intentions, there will likely be days when you fall short of eating healthy, well-balanced meals while on the road. Taking a daily multi-vitamin
, along with any necessary supplements, will help ensure that you get the vitamins and nutrients you need to fuel your muscles, accelerate their repair and maintain your energy and endurance.
#8 - Rent some wheels
Cycling is a great source of low-impact cardio, but it's not always possible to travel with your bike. If you're staying in an urban area, you can most likely rent one for the duration of your stay.
In addition to biking away all of those vacation calories, you'll also be able to cruise your way through more of the city and soak in the sights as you spin.
#9 - Don't skip breakfast
Whether you're hurrying to a morning meeting or trying to beat the beach rush, it's all too easy to snub breakfast and fast until lunch - but skipped meals can lead to zapped energy, unhealthy cravings and binge-eating later in the day. Start your day with high-protein, low-fat options like eggs, quinoa, low-fat cottage cheese or plain Greek yogurt with flaxseed.
#10 - Pack some travel-friendly gear
While free weights aren't exactly travel-friendly, there are some less cumbersome fitness tools that will nestle nicely into your suitcase. Jump ropes, resistance bands, speed ladders, travel hula hoops and push-up bars are portable and lightweight, making it easy to turn your hotel room into an impromptu gym.
Consider investing in an exercise sandbag - it weighs next to nothing when empty, then fills up with water to provide extra weight for squats, lunges and other weight-bearing exercises. You can also find kettlebells and medicine balls designed to fill with water.
A summer road trip doesn't have to mean a departure from your healthy habits. Although it may require a little more legwork, it is possible to eat right, stay active and return home feeling even better than before you left.