5 exercises you can do anywhere – no excuses!

“It’s tough to stay in shape when you’re travelling”…how many times have you heard that?

Everyone claims to have no time to workout when they’re on the road, but just think, how many hours have you spent at the pub or watching TV at your hostel?

First step, get your butt off the couch and make new friends at the hostel by asking them to come join you. Travelling is all about making new friends, right? There’s no better way to get to know someone then by pushing each other and seeing what you’re made of!

Backpacking the Milford Track in Fiordland

Next step, get creative! Look around – anything and everything can be turned into a piece of workout equipment. Best of all, you can turn it into an adventure at every stop to look for a new place to workout! If you find any of these exercises easy – don’t forget, we’re all hauling a 30+ pound (14 kg) backpack (that’s pretty much a weighted vest!).

We’ve chosen 5 simple exercises for you to try here. Each targets a different region of the body to allow you to have a full body workout by the time you’re done. Do each as a circuit – 30 seconds of each exercise, back-to-back, then take a 1 minute break after you’ve done all 5 exercises. Try 3 rounds, even 5 rounds if you dare!

1. Pull-Up/Chin-Up
You can do this as a dead hang or at an angle (as seen below). There should be one straight line from your heels to your hips and shoulders. Don’t let those hips drop! It’s better to be able to do 3 good pull-ups than 10 sloppy ones. Let yourself down to full extension and pull yourself up.

Source: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/d6/ff/c2/d6ffc2e95199f12a11b5b5befd300e8f.jpg
Source: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/d6/ff/c2/d6ffc2e95199f12a11b5b5befd300e8f.jpg

The key to getting the most of this exercise is to allow yourself to come down slowly – 2-3 seconds slow! Control is everything. Exhale to power yourself up.

2. Push-up/Press-up
This is as basic as you can get with an exercise. The key is keeping your body in one straight line from your shoulders to your heels. Again – don’t let those hips drop, you cheater! Come down for a 2-3 second count and explode back up soon as your elbows dip to 90 degrees. Be sure to exhale as you push yourself up!

Source: http://greatist.com/sites/default/files/styles/article_main/public/BenchPushUp.jpg?itok=eSThWR7i
Source: http://greatist.com/sites/default/files/styles/article_main/public/BenchPushUp.jpg?itok=eSThWR7i

3. Plank
This is a core fundamental. One of the most common mistakes here is not keeping the hip level with the shoulders. Hold tight – like someone is about to punch you in the gut! Make sure you breathe. Too easy? Try it with that 30 lb backpack on.

Source: http://justoutblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/core-test-plank-ss.jpg
Source: http://justoutblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/core-test-plank-ss.jpg

4. Wall Sit
Not gonna lie, this one’s tough…but very effective! Make sure you’ve got your back against the wall (especially that lower back!). Drop down to 90 degrees in the knees and squeeze tight. Dig those toes down and make sure your knees are not coming in together or flaring out. If you are feeling light headed here, you’re probably holding your breath…BREATHE!

Source: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/72/a2/9a/72a29ab52fdf860a6500e805ee769a9c.jpg
Source: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/72/a2/9a/72a29ab52fdf860a6500e805ee769a9c.jpg

5. Mountain Climbers
This is going to get your heart rate up. Hold yourself up like you did for the push-ups. Drive one knee in at a time as you alternate like you are pedalling a bike. Go for speed – see how many knee drives you can fit into your full 30 seconds.

Source: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/sites/womenshealthmag.com/files/2014/04/21/no-crunch-10_0_0.jpgs
Source: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/sites/womenshealthmag.com/files/2014/04/21/no-crunch-10_0_0.jpgs

Two things to keep in mind: keep your hips level (do not sway or drop your hips side to side) and don’t forget to breathe!

ricky-ng-profile-photoRicky Ng is a qualified Sport Nutritionist and works with the Edmonton Oilers team in Canada to keep them at their peak performance level. He travelled on Stray’s Everywhere Pass in March – April 2016 and knows the challenges of staying healthy on the road. His favourite travel snack is a bag of 20 boiled eggs.

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