Stay Fit On The Go: Easy Hotel Room Exercises

Life on the road can be rough on the body. Not only do travelers often find themselves eating fatty foods and sitting in cars or on planes for long periods of time, but we also fall victim to falling out of our normal workout routines.

Although the number of hotels featuring fitness centers is on the up and up, every accommodation option doesn’t have the convenience (and in many cases, travelers don’t necessarily want to utilize the gym). Stay fit on the road with this easy 25-minute hotel room workout that utilizes an object found in nearly every hotel room: a chair.

Warm Up
5 minutes
First things first, get those muscles ready by doing shoulder circles, 15-25 calf raises, and 25-50 jumping jacks. Do all these exercises without a break and you should get your blood flowing.

20 minutesLeg Squats: With a chair behind you (or not if you are experienced), stand with your feet hip-width apart. Keep your abs tight as you bed your knees and slowly squat toward the chair. Hover above the chair for a few seconds and then lift back up by extending your legs until your back to a standing position. Repeat for 1-3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Lunges: Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart. Step your right foot approximately two feet in front of you, lowering your hips while maintaining control and balance until both knees are bent at about 90-degree angles. Make sure your front knee is directly above your ankle and your back knee doesn’t touch the floor. Keep the weight in your heels and push back up to the starting position. Repeat for 1-3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Elevated Push Ups: Place your hands on the edge of the bed (let’s face it, nobody wants their face anywhere near hotel room carpet). Scoot your feet out until you are in a diagonal plank position and proceed to do traditional push ups. Repeat for 1-3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Wall Climb: Place your hands flat against the wall with your arms straight, leaning your body at an angle with your right foot forward. Quickly bringing your left foot forward while simultaneously kicking your right foot back. Repeat for 1-3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Chair Step: Set a straight-backed chair (without wheels) against the wall or door of your hotel room so the chair seat faces you. Step up on the seat one foot at a time and then step down. Repeat for 1-3 sets of 10 repetitions.

If this is not enough of a workout for you, do another round of these exercises. Keep in mind that this simple workout is not a replacement for heavy-duty sessions, but instead a way to stretch out and break a sweat in the privacy of your own hotel room. And take caution: all exercises are attempted at your own risk. Always consult a physician before beginning any physical activity.

[Flickr image via sldghmmr]

Fitness A Popular Travel Option Says Survey, Cruise Lines

Fitness centers have been a standard amenity at hotels, resorts and on cruise ships for quite some time. Used or not, those facilities boast some of the latest equipment along with programs designed to maintain physical fitness on the road. Results of a new survey suggest a growing variety of reasons to work out while traveling, something cruise lines know all too well.

“Among those that exercise on vacation, 31% say their primary motivation is to maintain their fitness regimen,” says Travel Daily News reporting results of a TripAdvisor survey of 1,400 travelers. “A further 28% do so in order to avoid gaining weight, while the third most popular reason for exercising on holiday is to capitalize on having more free time to work out (14%).”

That’s no news to cruise lines that remain focused on adding healthy travel and fitness options. In an ongoing effort to move away from endless buffets where lifting a fork might be the only exercise their passengers engage in, things are changing. It’s those last two reasons, “avoiding weight gain” and “using free time,” that have cruise lines scrambling to add the latest features to ships.Carnival Breeze, the latest ship from Carnival Cruise Lines, features a SportSquare Sky Fitness Center with two ropes courses, a multi-purpose sports court for basketball, volleyball and soccer, a two-level mini-golf course, in addition to all the latest fitness equipment.

Passengers on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas can jog their morning mile against 360-degree ocean views from the ship’s Sport Deck running track. The line’s fleet-wide Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness neighborhood supports a healthy lifestyle, combining the latest in aesthetic skin treatments, traditional spa services and workout programs. Last year, Royal Caribbean invited guests to participate in the line’s first “Royal 5K St Maarten run,” now an annual event.

Under construction now for a June 2013 debut, Princess Cruises latest ship, Royal Princess will have features that directly reflect an increased interest in fitness by cruise passengers.

“Many of our passengers are very active on vacation,” said Jan Swartz, executive vice president for Princess Cruises. “These new facilities will offer them state-of-the-art equipment and cutting-edge classes to keep up – or even step up – their fitness routines at sea.”

To make that happen, Princess Cruises is adding a private aerobics studio that will host a selection of fitness classes, including TRX Suspension Training, MyRide indoor cycling, a Body Sculpt Boot Camp and Chi Ball Yoga.

Like other lines, Princess is also adding a top-deck sports court called Princess Sports Central, offering a collection of court games, lawn activities (they will have grass growing there), basketball, tennis, volleyball, badminton and a batting cage. Golfers will find a driving range facility, and a simulated laser shooting range offers a new onboard activity.

“While most Americans will spend at least some of their vacation relaxing, many now balance their fun with fitness, as TripAdvisor’s survey shows that a significant number of travelers also prioritize personal health on their trips,” said Brooke Ferencsik, director of communications at TripAdvisor.

Responding to the call, fitness experts are focusing on short, easy workouts designed with the traveler in mind, with or without fitness facilities available like this TRX suspension trainer that fits in a suitcase and provides a total-body workout:

[Photo: Princess Cruises]

Make time for yoga – Road trip tip

When embarking on a road trip of a few days or more, plan ahead by finding local fitness classes you can take as you pass through a new city.

Rather than spend your time stretching at a boring rest stop, pop in for a 30 minute or 1 hour session at a yoga, pilates or fitness studio. You’ll meet locals, get a feel for the town, and get that cooped-up car-feeling out of your system. Search for businesses that accept walk-ins, and allow yourself time to get to town in case of traffic or a minor misshap.

[Photo: Flickr | fdean55]

Travel fitness: al fresco fitness at the Four Seasons Los Angeles

Ok, so maybe you weren’t into all the travel fitness options we brought you this week. It’s no problem – we understand everyone is different and not all of you want to use up precious carry-on space for your exercise gear. Totally cool, and the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills agrees with us. Welcome to one of the first outdoor hotel fitness centers in the U.S.

The Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills opened its new outdoor workout room, complete with views of Beverly Hills and surrounded by the lush gardens that were part of the hotel’s recent $33 million renovation.

Located on the pool terrace, the fitness center features a newly-constructed open-air venue so you can enjoy the sunshine without ever leaving the hotel. Hop on one of the PRECOR machines, tune into your favorite TV channel or dock your iPod while you get your workout on.

The best part? You can travel fit without leaving the hotel. When you’ve had enough, you just head back to your room for a shower and change and you’re ready to go for the day. Of course, if you’re a true fitness fanatic, you’ll book a massage in the hotel spa to help ease the sore muscles you have from your strenuous workout.

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.