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Simple Workouts to Stay Fit on the Road

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When you're scrambling to get out of town, there's much to think about: Put work projects on the back burner, cancel the dog's standing appointment with the groomer, promise the kids you'll go to that must-see movie when you get back home.

It's no wonder that you've probably given little thought to how you'll work in your workout while you're away from home.

But with a little thought and planning, fitness on the road is easier than you might think. And, according to experts who spoke to WebMD, it can even be fun.

Packing for Fitness

With a couple of pieces of equipment stashed in your suitcase, it's easy to get in a workout without leaving your hotel room (or your host's guest room). Two basic items to pack are exercise tubes (those stretchy things that add resistance to your workout; available in sporting goods stores) and a jump rope. They weigh next to nothing and take almost no space in the suitcase.

Exercise tubes may look wimpy, but don't underestimate them, says Suzanne Schlosberg, author of Fitness for Travelers: The Ultimate Workout Guide for the Road.

"With thick enough tubing, even veteran weightlifters can get a challenging workout," she says. "You can buy a door attachment for the basic tubes and mimic the cable pulley exercises you do at the gym."

You can also buy portable dumbbells that you fill with water before using. But Schlosberg prefers the versatility of exercise tubes.

Jumping rope is a great aerobic exercise (just be sure to take it easy if you're a beginner). For a small space, like a hotel room, Schlosberg recommends a thin, plastic speed rope. It's lightweight and less likely to damage furniture than a heavy-duty rope. If you're headed for a warm climate, it's practically guaranteed that your hotel will have a swimming pool. Pack an inflatable ball, and your family (maybe even strangers) will want to join you in a pickup game of catch. To intensify your water workout, pack aquatic gloves, weights, and other accessories.

One last thing you might want to do before leaving town is to locate a gym near your destination. If you're a gym member, see if you can get free access to gyms in other cities. Also, many gyms issue day passes for a fee. The International Health, Racquet, and Sports Club Association (IHRSCA) web site has a health club locator that lists both IHRSCA members and nonmembers.

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