Best Bodyweight Exercises to Do on Vacation

When we travel, we’re all about exploring sights unseen, savoring new foods, and engaging in adventure and relaxation. But we’re not total hedonists. We also like to squeeze in a few workouts. There’s just something about working out away from our typical environs—perhaps without a gym—that both energizes and grounds us way out yonder. The key is to work in the best bodyweight exercises when you’re on vacation.

“It’s more than possible to work out on vacation,” says Brooklyn-based Shaun Zetlin, CPT. “All you need is your own body weight and a little bit of space.” Even just taking 10 minutes to move your body provides a multitude of benefits and will have you feeling refreshed, energized, and excited to enjoy your time away, Zetlin adds.

The brief hiatus from heavy lifting, endurance work, and/or lots of high-intensity interval training can do your body some good, too. If you’re traveling for long stints of time, as in working remotely for an extended stay, then it’s a good idea to keep your daily activity levels up.

“Taking a prolonged break from exercise can actually put you at higher risk for injury when you return to the gym, depending on how long you’re away,” says Janelle Fleites, CSCS, owner of Impact Physical Therapy and Sports Performance, in Miami, FL. The key to getting a good lift in without a gym, she notes, is adding tempo and isometric holds while increasing the reps and sets of the exercise for increased demand on muscles.

Mike Nicholson, CSCS, fitness director at Chelsea Piers Fitness, headquartered in Manhattan, echoes these views on the virtues of working out while on vacation. “Exercise increases your endorphins and makes you feel good, so working out on vacation will naturally help you enjoy your new surroundings even more,” he says, adding the post-workout rush of endorphins may also help your confidence, too. Nicholson recommends firing up your “powerhouse” (core, glutes, shoulders, and diaphragm) to maximize neuromuscular activation around your spine and hips. “Keep the workout low-impact to minimize the fatigue you put on your central nervous system and focus on deep breathing during movement to increase oxygen flow, which will elevate feelings of well-being and enhance your mood,” he says. The goal is to get the blood flowing and move your body—and not to be so exhausted post-workout that you have to cancel your walking tour plans.

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