On the Go
When you leave home this holiday season, don't leave behind
your exercise routine
NOTHING IS "ROUTINE" during the holiday season.
It's a hectic time of year that requires extra shopping, extra
cooking and, as a result, extra stress. Throw travel into the mix
and your daily schedule goes completely out the window. One thing
you need to fight to keep on your calendar, though, is
exercise-whether you're at home or on the road.
"You already know the benefits of exercise in everyday life,"
says Gregory Florez, a spokesman for the American Council on
Exercise. "But when you travel, there are even more." Being
physically active away from home during the holidays can help
ensure you don't gain too much fruit cake-related weight, and it
can help you return to your vital self much more quickly post
holidays, Florez says.
So whether you're staying with family, holing up in a hotel or
getting away for a fabulous winter vacation, here are some tips for
working workouts into your itinerary.
Don't rely on Aunt Edna or that five-star resort to
provide you with the equipment you need to exercise. Instead, take
some things with you and work out in your room. For cardio, pack an
aerobics DVD or a jump rope. Like to strength train? You don't need
dumbbells to do it. Take a resistance band-it looks like a giant
rubber band-and use it for arm
curls and leg lifts. If you don't want to buy any items for your
trip that you don't think you'll use at home, just pack your
sneakers. Walking does wonders, and as little as 30 minutes a day
has lasting effects.
Not sure which direction to head? Before you leave
home, plan out a few routes on a website, such as mapmywalk.com (or
mapmyrun.com for those of you who like to pick up the pace). Just
enter the address or ZIP code of where you're staying, and you'll
find a suitable walking route in no time.
Whatever you decide to do, it's best to exercise
right after you rise. Working out in the morning means it will be
less likely to get cut from your schedule as your day fills up with
festivities. It also will help give you energy to keep going strong
all day long.
Find a Facility
If you have a gym membership, check to see if it has a location
near where you'll be staying. No membership? No problem. If you're
staying in a hotel, chances are there will be a fitness room
on-site. Just be cautious when using unfamiliar exercise machines
and equipment. Inspect it for visible hazards and always read the
instructions before getting started.
If you're sleeping at a friend or family member's house, ask the
host or hostess if you can tag along on their trip to the gym-most
gyms offer daily guest passes for free or a nominal fee. If your
hosts don't have a gym membership, go to the local health club and
ask if you can purchase a short-term membership or sign up for a
If your winter travel plans consist of getting away
somewhere more exotic than your in-laws' house, make your trip
itself into an adventure, Florez suggests. There are plenty of ways
to get exercise while traveling without it even feeling like
- If you're heading somewhere snowy, schedule some time for
cross-country skiing, ice skating, or just building snowmen and
running around having a snowball fight. As long as you get your
heart rate up, you won't have to feel guilty about the hot
chocolate you're bound to enjoy in the lodge.
- Going to the tropics? No doubt being a beach bum is on your
agenda. Counter that by signing up for surfing lessons or biking
along the boardwalk, and you won't have to worry about the size of
your, well, beach bum.
- If your destination is an urban area, hoof it whenever you can.
Take a walking tour of the city or shop until you drop.
-By Shelley Flannery