Basic Fitness for Travelers on the Road

Trainer Annette Lang on Health Spas & Weight Loss SpasEditor’s Note: The following is the first of a series of columns about fitness on the road, by personal trainer Annette Lang. It goes without saying that you should always check with your physician before beginning any fitness routine.

It’s no secret that getting and staying in shape can be a daunting task, and traveling just makes it more difficult to stick with any fitness program. But don’t despair!

You can get in better shape, and maintain your fitness level while you’re traveling, by taking it on the road. The first workout is a basic one, and is fairly easy to follow. However, don’t confuse this with being an easy, starter routine; it can be made more difficult. This full body routine targets all of the major muscles in your body, so by doing it, you’ll not only get stronger, but you’ll also feel fit all over.

Do this when you get to your hotel to help rejuvenate yourself after your flight. It will get your blood moving, which can also help counter the effects of jet lag. And do it in the morning; it will help set you up for better habits the rest of the day (it might even be easier to resist the high fat foods you will encounter later on).

These exercises can all be done in your hotel room with or without resistance (your suitcase, full water bottles, or a phone book all work very well). Do up to 25 repetitions of each, except the side bridge and the wall sit, which you will just hold for up to 30 seconds.

Perform the exercises smoothly, without jerky moves, and try to move from one exercise to the next as quickly as possible, taking a moment to catch your breath if necessary.

A complete circuit (one set of each exercise) should take only ten minutes. Then, depending on how much time you have, you can repeat. Remember, the more you do, the more in shape you will get. If you can, add a long sightseeing walk to your routine and you will be well on your way to getting — and staying — in shape.

The Workout

  • Dead lift
  • Row
  • Wall sit
  • Push up
  • Lunge with overhead press
  • Side bridge

Sounds simple, right? It is!

Exercise isn’t difficult, but it’s hard to get moving sometimes.

If you do this in the morning, perform the first set with no extra weight, allowing your joints and muscles to get warmed up a little. Or, if you can, walk up and down a flight of stairs a few times while moving your arms in big circles.

Dead lift:

Works your butt and hamstrings (back of your thighs). Stand with your feet hip width apart. Slightly bend in your knees, keeping them still. Keep your arms a few inches in front of your legs. Lean forward from your hips, without losing the curve in your low back. Stand back up nice and tall.


Works the lats, the big muscles of your back, as well as your arms. Stand with your feet hip width apart, holding your arms at your sides. Lean forward from your hips until your upper body is almost parallel to the floor. Pull your arms up, bending your elbows. Keep your arms right next to your body. Try to keep your shoulders down and away from your ears. You can lift your suitcase (or phone book, etc.) with both arms, or you can do one arm at a time, resting your other hand on your thigh.

Wall sit:

Works your whole lower body, but focuses on the quadriceps — the muscles in the front of your thighs. Stand with your feet hip width apart and lean against the wall. Slide down against the wall until your thighs are almost parallel to the floor. Make sure your knees are in line with your ankles. The lower you sit, the harder this is!

Push up:

Works your chest, shoulders and arms. Get on your hands and knees with your arms straight, and hands right underneath your shoulders. Move your knees back so your body is in a diagonal line from your head to your knees. Lower yourself towards the floor as low as you can, and then push back up. The lower you go, the harder this is! When you can do 15 on your knees, do the push ups on your toes instead of your knees. Then, do as many as you can, and then put your knees down and keep going.

Lunge with overhead press:

Works your lower body, shoulders and arms. Stand with your feet hip width apart, and arms straight up and fingers facing forward. Step forward with right leg about two to three feet. Bend both knees and lower your body towards the floor, bending your elbows to 90 degrees at the same time. As you stand up, straighten out both arms at the same time.

Side bridge:

Works the muscles of your core, your midsection. This is an excellent exercise to stabilize your spine. Lie on your right side, with your elbow right underneath your shoulder. Your body should be in a straight line, with your legs straight, knees bent and feet behind you. When you can hold this position for 30 seconds, do it with your legs straight as shown in the picture.

For more health and fitness ideas while traveling, visit the Health & Fitness section.

By Annette Lang for PeterGreenberg.comAnnette Lang is the author of Morning Strength Workouts. For more information about Annette, please visit her Web site,