Exercising might be last on your list of to-dos as you prep for your vacation. But if you’ll be away a week or more, go ahead and pack your workout clothes. Keeping up with at least a sliver of your regular exercise routine will help maintain your cardiovascular health. Plus, the more calories you burn on vacay, the less guilty you’ll feel for enjoying any decadent food splurges.
Lisa Reed, a Washington, D.C.-area-based certified personal trainer, and owner of Lisa Reed Fitness, designed the following circuit so you don’t even have to leave your hotel room. All you need is a little space, a chair and a lot of motivation.
First, roll out of bed and warm up to reduce injury and get your blood circulating. Reed recommends you perform the “World’s Best Stretch” three times on each leg, alternating from one side to the other.
Additional warm-up exercises can include hip swings and jumping jacks.
Now it’s time to get a workout in before you go see the sights!
Perform each exercise for 30 seconds and repeat two to three times.
Sumo squat jumps. Power up your day by implementing plyometric jumps. Sumo squat jumps sculpt your legs by working the inner thighs as well as the glutes, hamstrings, quads and calves.
How to do it: Stand tall and open your legs wide, with feet turned out slightly. Squat down as low as you are able, then propel yourself upward. The “jump” works your cardiovascular system by raising your heart rate so you can burn calories. Don’t worry if you can’t jump high. Even a slight lift off the floor will do you good.
Squats. Squats are an incredible exercise for burning fat, increasing lean muscle and improving your mobility, balance and strength. “They burn more calories and use more muscles than any other exercise,” Reed says.
How to do it: Stand tall with feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your back straight, bend your knees and lower your bottom as far as is comfortable.
Squat with a chair: Step a foot away from a chair. Begin by hinging at your hips to touch your bottom to the seat. Use your core and lower body, not momentum, to return to the starting position.
Chair dips. It's time to work your triceps and shoulders with this tried-and-true strength move.
How to do it: Grab your chair again. Sit down on the edge of the seat and place your hands behind your hips. Place your hands on the edge of the seat and shoulder-width apart. Now lift up and walk your feet forward until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Slowly lower your body until your elbows are at a 90- degree angle. Lift yourself back up by extending your arms, then repeat.
Push-ups. This full-body exercise builds upper-body and core strength.
How to do it: Start in a plank position with hands underneath your shoulders. Make sure your body is in alignment by not letting your hips dip low or rise too high. Lower your chest to the floor as far as you can go and then return to start. For a modified version, you have options: Perform push-ups from your knees. Or stand up and place your hands on a chair or piece of sturdy furniture for an incline push up.
Finished three sets? Go shower and enjoy your vacation!
Stacy Julien is channel editor for AARP Health.