Tags: travel | exercise | workout

Fitting Fitness Into Your Travel Plans

Monday, 23 July 2012 10:58 AM

Are summer travel plans and road trips forcing your fitness to take a backseat? A new report by Harvard Medical School exercise scientists notes most people who travel for business or pleasure forgo regular physical activity, but have devised a series of exercises that can keep you healthy on the road.

The workouts – reported in this month’s Harvard Health Workout Workbook newsletter – can be done in hotel rooms and other places when it’s impossible to get to a gym or swimming pool, go for a jog or take a brisk walk. All most exercises require are a chair, a towel, and a comfortable spot for floor exercises.
“Sustained aerobic activity such as brisk walking for 30 minutes most days of the week is necessary for building up cardiorespiratory endurance and decreasing the risk of chronic disease,” the authors noted. “The [exercises] illustrated here [are] helpful as a temporary replacement for your regular aerobic activities, to increase strength and improve flexibility.”
Among the researchers’ recommendations are traditional push-ups and sit-ups, which can be performed anywhere. But they’ve also come up with the following techniques for a more complete full-body workout:
WARM-UP EXERCISES: Before starting any workout, spend a few minutes warming up by stretching, jogging, marching, or walking in place while gently swinging or pumping your arms. This pumps nutrient-rich, oxygenated blood to your muscles as it speeds up your heart rate and breathing. After your workout, cool down with some slow stretches.
WALL PUSH-UP: Stand in front of a wall with your arms extended at shoulder height. Place your palms against the wall, bend your elbows to lower your upper body to the wall, keeping a straight line from head to toe, then push away from the wall with both arms. Do up to three sets of eight to 12 repetitions (“reps”), resting 30 to 90 seconds between sets. Advanced: Lift one foot a few inches off the floor as you do the push-ups.
TRICEPS DIP: Sit at the front edge of a chair with your legs partially extended, knees bent, and feet on the floor. Place the palms of your hands on the chair next to your hips, and curve your fingers over the edge. Raise your hips off the chair and move forward, then lower yourself toward the floor, until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle. Straighten your arms to return to the starting position. Advanced: Fully extend your legs in the starting position. Do one to three sets of eight to 12 reps.
CHAIR STAND: Sit at the front edge of a chair with your arms crossed. With your feet hip-width apart, slowly stand up, tightening the muscles in your abdomen and buttocks. Repeat the movement eight to 12 reps; aim to complete one to three times sets. Advanced: Perform the exercise with your arms lifted over your head.
BRIDGE WITH CHAIR: Lie on your back on a towel with your knees bent and your arms at your sides. Place your feet on a chair, so your knees form a 90-degree angle. Lift your hips off the floor to make a "bridge," keeping your shoulders, hips, and knees in a straight line. Pause; then return to the starting position. Advanced: Put your left heel on the chair, and extend your right leg toward the ceiling; then switch leg positions. Do one to three sets of eight to 12 reps.
STANDING LEG LIFT: Stand with your feet together and your hands on your hips. Tighten your abdominal, then slowly lift your right leg straight out to the side, squeezing the buttocks muscles of the supporting leg. Keep your hip, knee, ankle, and toe in alignment. Pause; then lower the leg and repeat with the other leg. Advanced: Hold for four counts at the top of the lift during each repetition. Do one to three sets of eight to 12 reps per side.
HEEL RAISE: Stand with your hands on your hips. Tighten your abdominal and buttocks muscles. Slowly rise up on the balls of both feet, lifting your heels off the ground. Pause; then slowly lower your heels back to the floor. Advanced: Try the exercise standing on just one leg. Do one to three sets of eight to 12 reps.

© HealthDay

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New Harvard report notes many travelers don't work out on the road, and offers tips on exercises for people on the go.
Monday, 23 July 2012 10:58 AM
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