Dear Lifehacker, I’m getting ready to head out on a few business trips, and I’m worried that the break from my routine will disrupt my exercise schedule. How can I stick to an exercise routine even when I’m away from home? Sincerely, Stickin’ to It
We’re no strangers to the struggles of exercising on the road and what happens when you break that routine. The good news is fitting in a workout is easy, provided your schedule allows you to stick to the same basic routine you do at home. We’ve said it plenty of times before, but routine is really important with exercise. Even if you’re jet-lagged or low on energy, try to stick to exercising at the same time, even if it’s a shorter workout. Here are a few ways to do it when you’re travelling.
Adopt a No-Equipment Workout for the Hotel Room
Exercise doesn’t require a lot of gear. Provided you’re not staying in a tiny hotel room, you probably have the room to do a workout. We’ve covered a few workouts you can do with nothing but your body, and even if you don’t have a big room, you can do prison-style workouts in tight spaces.
If you’d rather let your smartphone guide you, we like Sworkit for Android and iOS. It gives you a wide range of exercises to do without equipment, and it allows you to set different workout lengths so you can fit your workout into any schedule.
Track Down Local Services
If a hotel room workout isn’t your thing (or you just don’t have the room), you can usually track down other activities in a new city. If you prefer a gym, most cities have community gyms that offer short memberships. If you go to a chain gym at home, your membership could transfer over to other locations.
Likewise, you can search for a hotel that has a gym on sites, like Hotels, Kayak or Hipmunk. It might not be the greatest gym in the world, but it will be better than nothing. If they don’t have a gym, it’s worth asking at the front desk of the hotel if they offer passes to a nearby gym instead. Of course, hotels often have pools as well, and swimming is an excellent workout that takes advantage of it.
Travelling is also a great time to think a little more creatively about your routine. If you’re a jogger, taking a run around a new city is a great way to discover it. With online tools, like MapMyRun, you can find the best places to run no matter where you are. You can also usually ask the hotel staff for suggestions on where to go (or where not to go).
If you’re a cyclist, some places have bicycle-sharing programs. This provides a good way to get in a little exercise and get around a little quicker.
Return to Your Routine When You Get Home
Depending on why you’re travelling — whether it’s for business or pleasure — sticking to your routine is easier said than done. If you’re not able to get that exercise in, you probably need to recalibrate your workout expectations a little when you get home. As The Harvard Medical School notes, you might need to tone down your return workout a bit:
That’s why it’s important to learn how to reclaim your routine. When you’ve missed workout sessions, evaluate your current level of fitness and set goals accordingly. If you’ve been away from your routine for two weeks or more, don’t expect to start where you left off. Cut your workout in half for the first few days to give your body time to readjust.
When you get back from your trip, don’t try to jump right back in again with the same workout you’re used to. Take some time to get used to your routine again, and don’t push too hard. Hopefully, it will only take a few days before you’re back to your usual routine.
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