Exercising options: How to keep working out when traveling

by Darrah Tinkler

(Medical Xpress)—It may be tempting to ditch the exercise routine when traveling over the upcoming holidays, but Kansas State University kinesiology professionals have some tips on how to keep moving.

Enduring long car rides or plane trips can lead to cramped legs and tired eyes, said Katie Heinrich, assistant professor of kinesiology.

"To keep the aches and pains away, make sure to stretch the muscles along the way," Heinrich said. "If traveling by car, bring along simple equipment like dumbbells or resistance bands. Also during the ride, make sure to make slight but frequent adjustments to seating position. If the spine is kept in one position for long periods of time, it can cause pain."

While on planes, simple stretches like shoulder rolls, ankle circles, knee lifts and overhead stretches are great ways to keep a body limber, she said.

Once at a relative's house, Heinrich said there are plenty of body weight exercises people can do while staying in a small place. Pushups, squats, burpees, jumping jacks and mountain climbers are a few examples. Just pick a reasonable rep scheme and version of exercises that work for your current level of fitness and then time yourself to see how fast you—and your relatives—can complete a round.

"Bringing along a and some tennis shoes can give a person endless options," Heinrich said. "Also, bundling up and going for a brisk walk or run can be a great way for people to stay active."

Many people wonder if playing motion-sensor video games are a good way to get exercise. Brandon Irwin, assistant professor of , says they can be with some extra effort. He suggests finding ways to increase the challenge for a good workout, such as strapping light weights to ankles and wrists and stringing together a series of games/exercises that take up to 30 minutes to complete.

"Video games tend to be a fun way to exercise, especially when you play with other people," Irwin said. "Holidays are an especially good time to play video games because they are something that the family can do together."

It is easy to consume more calories than a person realizes when eating rich holiday foods. To help keep a steady body weight, Heinrich recommends using smaller plate or glass. Smaller portion sizes keep overeating at bay, she said.

But Heinrich says ditch that nap after eating.

"Taking a walk with friends or doing some stretching will help settle the food in a more productive way," she said.

When the gym is not an option, Heinrich has tips on other ways to fit in some quick exercise.

"Utilize equipment available at the park. This is free and can be fun to do," she said. "Also, use the local indoor shopping mall to get a walking workout. Many malls open early to accommodate walkers."

Another tip is to take advantage of the social support system around you.

"Family members and friends can help hold each other accountable for both exercise and caloric intake," Heinrich said. "The buddy system can help a person keep on track over the holidays and not let the pounds pile on."

Related Stories

Staying healthy through a cookie-filled season

date Dec 22, 2010

Just because Santa’s belly moves like a bowl of jelly doesn't mean yours has to this holiday season. Staying on track with your fitness program, even while traveling, will give you extra energy and start you out right ...

Get fit with your kids in 2012

date Jan 12, 2012

Losing weight and exercising more consistently top Americans’ New Year’s resolution lists. Health and Exercise Science chair Michael Berry says that adults who include their kids in fitness goals ...

Think you are too busy to exercise?

date Feb 28, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- The typical response to the word “exercise” is negative, especially for non-exercisers. They think of the phrase “no pain, no gain” and assume this is the effort needed ...

Maintain, don't gain during the holidays

date Dec 20, 2007

For many people, the holiday season brings shopping and parties with plenty of delicious food. How do you maintain good eating habits and avoid weight gain when there are so many temptations that can doom even the most disciplined ...

Recommended for you

Physician/Pharmacist model can improve mean BP

date Mar 27, 2015

(HealthDay)—A physician/pharmacist collaborative model can improve mean blood pressure (BP), according to a study published online March 24 in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Innovative prototype presented for post-ICU patients

date Mar 27, 2015

(HealthDay)—A collaborative care model, the Critical Care Recovery Center (CCRC), represents an innovative prototype aimed to improve the quality of life of intensive care unit (ICU) survivors, according ...

Clues to a city's health may be found in its sewage

date Mar 27, 2015

Research from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee suggests that sampling a city's sewage can tell scientists a great deal about its residents – and may someday lead to improvements in public health.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.