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Simple Workouts to Stay Fit on the Road

Exercise in Your Room continued...

Warm up. Start with five minutes of light cardio exercise (try walking or jogging in place) to warm muscles and prevent injury.

Cardio exercise. Schlosberg advises doing 30 minutes of cardio exercise, which can be broken up into 10-minute bursts. Use your jump rope, or try this sequence, which you can repeat or augment with jogging in place (or in the hallway) or strength exercises:

  • Low-jump twists (20 to each side). With feet together and knees slightly bent, hop slightly and rotate your feet in one direction. On the next hop, rotate in the opposite direction. Keep your shoulders still.
  • Jumping jacks (20).
  • Wall jogs (1 minute). Stand about 2 feet from a wall and lean forward, placing your hands on the wall at shoulder height. Jog in place while you push against the wall. The higher you lift your knees, the tougher the workout.
  • Mountain climbers (25 with each foot). Place your hands on the floor or the edge of a desk or dresser. Start with your legs staggered, right foot in front of your left. Jump up and switch feet, bringing your left leg forward. Repeat, alternating feet.
  • Side shuffles (10). Using as much space as you have available, shuffle to the side, keeping your feet apart. Then reverse directions.

Strength training. When you can't get to the gym and don't have exercise tubes, do exercises that use your own body for resistance. And to save time, do multimuscle exercises, such as push-ups, which exercise your chest, triceps, and shoulders. A minimal workout would include:

  • Push-ups
  • Stomach crunches with an upper-body twist
  • Kneeling back leg extensions
  • One-legged lunges

Do one to three sets of each exercise, resting for 30-90 seconds between sets. Normally, eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise should work muscles to the point of fatigue, Schlosberg says, but without equipment it's difficult to adjust resistance. So a beginner's limit might be four reps for some exercises, while an experienced exerciser might need to do 20.

Cool down. Don't stop exercising abruptly. Keep moving at an easy pace for five minutes to bring your heart rate down.

Stretching. Stretching should be done after your muscles are warm. Do stretches that target your neck, shoulders, triceps, chest, upper back, hamstrings, hips, and calves. Stretch to the point of mild tension, not pain, and hold for 10-15 seconds.

How often should you do the workout? It's best to keep up your normal routine, but if that's not possible, do what you can.

"Even getting in one strength workout and two or three cardio workouts a week can make a big difference," says Schlosberg. "You'll be able to preserve most, if not all, of your fitness, and you'll have more energy for your travels. The key is to maintain your usual intensity level."

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