Vacation Doesn't Have to Sabotage Your Fitness Routine

From the WebMD Archives

Underlying all that resting and relaxation, fitness-minded vacationers may be worrying that their fitness routine has gone down the tubes. But vacationers need not fret. In fact, they might actually benefit from the change in pace and environment, which can provide new and entertaining ways of exercising. And because it's fun, traveling exercisers won't be counting the minutes until the workout is over.

Daytime Activities

Sightseeing is a great opportunity to exercise. Taking a 20-minute brisk walk instead of a stroll can turn a day tour into a workout. Or, for a faster pace, sightseers can rent a bike or strap on a pair of inline skates and head for the park.

For those drawn to the seashore, a bounty of activities can help you burn calories. Beachcombers can take an extended swim or play a bit of beach volleyball. Or consider surfing, canoeing, bike riding and hiking.

If a gym routine is a must, local health clubs typically offer day rates, and some hotels are equipped with gym equipment.

Hotel Workouts

Even without a fully equipped gym, the hotel can still be a good place for a workout. Space-saver circuit routines can be done easily in the confines of a hotel room. The routine involves alternating one-minute each of push-ups, sit-ups, lunges and squats with two minutes of marching in place. Going through the circuit twice in 12 minutes will help you to keep the heart pumping and the muscles toned.

Airplane-seat Routines

One of the biggest problems with vacationing is the long period of time spent traveling. Whether by plane, train, boat or car, travel involves a lot of time in a stagnant, seated position. Prolonged periods of time spent sitting can be demanding on muscles, in particular those in the lower back, shoulders and neck. These exercises can help you to maintain proper posture, increase circulation and reduce muscle tension during travel.

1.Centering and breathing: Focus on aligning your posture, taking in full, deep breaths for a few seconds. Sit tall, ribcage lifted, shoulders back but relaxed, pelvis aligned with the head in a natural extension of the spine. Place one hand right below the ribcage and inhale through the nose. Take air in deeply, feeling the stomach expand beneath the ribcage. Slowly exhale while you make a hissing sound in the back of your throat. Take 10 of these deep breaths while maintaining good posture.

2.Tension-reducer for the neck and upper back: Sit tall, lengthening the neck. Tilt your neck to each side and rotate to look behind each shoulder; hold each position for five to 10 seconds. Squeeze your shoulders, rolling them up, back and down. Hold the down position for a few seconds, being sure to squeeze the shoulder blades together while holding. Repeat the shoulder rolls several times.

3.Lower-back and abdominal exercises: Slowly rock pelvis forward and back, pretending as if your waist were being pulled forward at the belt line; allow your lower back to arch in a way that is not painful. Next reverse the tilt, rounding the lower spine and scooping under with the tailbone (tighten and compress the abdominal muscles during this movement). Hold the end position of the tilt for three to five seconds. Repeat five times.

4.Exercises to build lower-body circulation: While sitting, lift right foot. Slowly point and then flex foot several times, to stretch ankle and lower-leg muscles. Next slowly rotate the right ankle in a clockwise direction, then slowly reverse direction. Repeat with left foot. This exercise will help to relieve fluid retention and stiffness in the leg joints.