There’s no place like home. That is, until your childhood bedroom must multitask as a gym when you’ve returned home for the holidays.
For those of us who adhere to a strict exercise regimen, travel this time of year can really throw a wrench in the system. We’re far away from our beloved fitness centers equipped with everything we need and use on a regular basis. Social schedules and family obligations often leave little time for personal endeavors like workouts. And a propensity to overindulge in all things while celebrating over the holidays can drain us of the energy and motivation needed to get moving.
But this year can be different! Because we’ve come up with some great – maybe even ingenious – pointers on how to work a workout into the hectic holiday season, even when you’re 1,000 miles away from the comfort of your gym.
Safeguard Those Sweat Sessions
Whether you’re traveling for a weekend or weeks-long visit to your hometown or some other destination, the following list offers some practical guidance for fitting fitness into your getaway. Try one or all of them to keep yourself if tip-top shape throughout your stay. You may even be able to get mom, dad or younger generations in on the activity!
But first, a few words of advice to increase the odds of sticking to an exercise routine while traveling for the holidays:
1. Schedule your sessions. In between the restaurant reservations, family visits and high school reunion happy hours, block off some time for exercise by putting it on your calendar. To-do lists, frankly, just aren’t as effective. But when we designate a specific time for an activity (in this case, exercise), we’re more likely to protect that slot and get whatever resides in it done. It might be extra helpful to stick to the same time you – and your body – are accustomed to hitting the gym when home.
2. Sleep and sip. Fatigue and dehydration are enemies of exercise. So while you’re away, make a point to avoid skimping on sleep and drink adequate amounts of water. Remember that alcohol is a diuretic, so limit your intake for optimal performance and energy throughout your time away.
Simple Swaps, Helpful Hacks for Staying in Shape
Your wellness routine doesn’t have to fall victim to cramped quarters, unfamiliar surroundings and the busy holiday schedule. A few swaps and hacks to keep active when traveling this holiday season include:
1. Body weight exercises. Even from the close quarters of a small bedroom with no equipment in sight, it’s easy to maintain a strength-training routine with body-weight exercises. This include squats, lunges, calf raises and deadlifts. Recommended moves that target the chest, arms, back, core and legs specifically can be found here. If you’re extra short on time, see the bottom of that list for full-body exercises.
2. Interval training. You may be used to devoting hours at a time to the gym, but studies show that quick spurts of activity can be effective too. A minute or two-minute-long burst of activity a mere three times a day can lower the risk of premature death by as much as 40 percent! Similarly, as we’ve noted before, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) offers significant rewards in terms of caloric burn and heart rate. With that information in mind, don’t let a small span of time keep you from getting outside or jumping on dad’s treadmill to run your hardest for 30-second to three-minutes spurts. Or split a half-hour session into three 10-minute blocks over the course of your day. It’s all exercise even if it looks and feels different!
3. Old-fashioned play. If there are littles who can’t wait to see their favorite aunt or uncle, initiate some family bonding with a physical activity. Get outdoors for a game of kickball or hoops or, better yet, earn serious street cred with the tween/teen segment by showing up with VR headsets for some gaming that pulls double duty as a sweat session. Fun and fitness in one!
4. Log miles through the airport. If you’re flying to your destination, take advantage of extended layovers or flight delays and walk while you wait. Just be sure to travel in or with sneakers for optimal benefit. And carry your bag for extra points and an arm workout.
5. Go online. Use your phone or computer to stream an online class. Whether you’ve got seven or 100 minutes to spare, there’s an option to suit all timespans and intensity levels. And if you’re an Etage Athletic Club member, you can access our fitness on-demand library remotely. Stop by the front desk for more information.
6. Guest passes. Some gyms offer day passes to visitors or members’ guests.
If you’re headed back home (or somewhere else far from the familiarity of your usual gym) this holiday season, make health and wellness part of your journey. With these tips and tricks, it’s easier than ever to squeeze some self-care into your travels. And we promise you won’t regret it!