Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Staying Fit on the Road

It's March, two months into the New Year. Which means most of us have likely forgotten our resolution to work out more consistently and lose weight. 

Take this blog as your reminder. And as a primer on staying fit while traveling.

Here are a few tricks and strategies:

Adjust to Jogging: There’s no exercise more suitable during travel, even if you’re track-shoe averse when at home. Why? It requires no equipment beyond the appropriate clothing and can double as advance reconnaissance for the sightseeing you’ll do later in the day. Plus, if you do your run early in the morning, you’ll get to see the destination you’re visiting just waking up and getting ready for the day, an illuminating experience.

To make the jog more pleasant, pack earbuds and whatever form of auditory device you use; I’ve been finding that while music works best for me at the gym, the slower pace of listening to a podcast or a book on tape is ideal for running (it also helps me to run longer when the story gets suspenseful).

To find good jogging routes, you may want to download the Loops application from Livestrong.com (the company that made a name for itself with its calorie tracking apps for iPhones). Loops provides Google maps of the nearest runner-friendly routes, along with information on the elevation of the routes, their difficulty and how scenic they are (the app even provides mile markers between the beginning and ending points).

Pack a Theraband: One’s own body weight can be an excellent substitute for dumbbells and weight machines. So do your sit ups, lunges, squats and push ups, and learn how to use a theraband to simulate your other weight exercises.

You may not even have to pack one: hotels, most notably the Sheraton chain, will now share a “workout in a bag kit” free of charge. Marriott and Renaissance hotels deliver portable training devices to guest’s rooms.

Not sure how to do these exercises? Turn on the TV in your room, and you may just find a free on demand video with an in-room fitness routine on it (a feature at Sheraton and a number of other major chains). Or simply surf to NerdFitness.com which has posted an easily-followed, customizable 20 minute hotel room fitness plan, which also includes instructional videos.

Research Gyms in Advance of Travel: Gone are the days when the hotel gym was merely a dusty, broken stationary bike tucked into a basement room. Hotels now realize that guests are serious about fitness and judge the quality of the hotel by its health center. Fitness is so important to the bottom line that some chains are going to extremes to stand out from the pack: Westin now not only provides work out rooms but will also lend sneakers and clothing to anyone who asks (borrowed jog bra anyone?).

That doesn’t mean all hotel gyms are equally stellar. Alas, no dedicated fitness web sites provide adequate hotel gym reviews (to my knowledge). However, the hotel review site Oyster.com does a bang up job in this regard, at least for the cities it covers, including photos of hotel gyms as well as good inventories on their machines and the state of their upkeep.

My resolution for 2013? To be in such good shape, after a year of working out on the road, that I can finally get to work furthering the cause of world peace.  Happy New Year, all.

1 comment:

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