Travel fitness: Road trip fitness gear for families

Traveling cross-country with kids in tow can make fitness more difficult. You can’t leave your children to take a long run, or spend an hour in a gym. But you can pack a selection of family friendly items to keep everyone healthy on the road.

The following choices will not only provide a good workout, but they have the added bonus of building memories with your family.

Playground Pump
This application for your iPhone or iPod touch features 50 exercise cards designed for the playground. This is a fun way to get a full body work out while traveling. Make a pit stop at a playground and let the cards guide your routine. You are given 6 cards/exercises to perform using typical playground equipment during each workout: 2 upper body, 2 lower body and 2 abdominal cards equals a 30 minute session.

Fit deck Purchase a set or two of these exercise playing cards to carry on the road. Each 56 card fit deck has a different focus. Travel-friendly decks include body weight, yoga or the stretch deck. Each card features three fitness levels to accommodate different abilities. Shuffle and let your child become your trainer by pulling out the next exercise.Yoga paws. Traveling yoga enthusiasts will love these! Yoga paws are better than even the most travel friendly mat. Slip them on your hands and feet for solid support, padding and the ability to practice whenever and where ever you have the opportunity. Their small size allows you to carry them in your purse or glove compartment.

Jump ropes. Pack a jump rope for everyone in the family. There is no question that jumping rope provides excellent cardio. It is also a fun way to get a quick work out in with minimal space and time. Set up a timer or watch the clock while you perform intervals of high and low intensity for 15-20 minutes. You can also use the rope to perform stretches.

Sidewalk chalk. Pack a container of sidewalk chalk for quick exercise session where ever there happens to be concrete. Draw up a game of traditional game of hopscotch and play. The jumping and bending provides an excellent impromptu workout with the added bonus of being simply fun. Chalk can also be used to mark off lines for a series of suicide runs or pyramid drills. These intense conditioning exercises can even be done if you have little ones since you are basically running back and forth. Try to smile, and this exhausting exercise becomes entertainment for little ones!

Sylvie Branch is a writer.