Exercise in Your Room continued...
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:
- 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."
Overcome Obstacles, 10 Minutes at a Time
But what about your motivation, which seems to have been misplaced along with your luggage?
Time, stress, and fatigue are the main obstacles to exercising, says Kara I. Gallagher, PhD, assistant professor of exercise physiology at the University of Louisville in Kentucky.
"If you think you have time constraints, it can get bigger and bigger, and there's no amount of motivation to overcome that," says Gallagher, who is also a spokeswoman for the American College of Sports Medicine.
The best strategy, she says, is to stop telling yourself that you must devote an hour to exercise -- "break it up into 10-minute intervals" -- or that you must maintain the same routine you do at home.