Between the pressures of a demanding job, family obligations, and a flourishing social life, it can be difficult even under the best of circumstances to find time for health and fitness. Throw frequent traveling into the mix, and it can seem almost impossible to keep a fitness routine in check.

However, you can easily stay fit while traveling with a bit of preparation, determination, and creativity. Research shows that working out while traveling can actually help you sleep better, get rid of jet lag faster, and improve mental clarity.

Read the following tips and tricks to get the best sweat and stretch wherever you go:

Do Sitting Stretches While Waiting to Board

If the thought of being crammed into an economy seat already has your spinal cord screaming in pain, try some simple seated stretches to relax your neck and back. While in a comfortable seated position, begin slowly with head rolls in either direction. Next, place the palm of your hand on your head and gently pull down towards your shoulder. Repeat this on the opposite side.

To further relax any tension in your upper back move into a spinal extension stretch. Lace your fingers together behind your neck and bring your elbows together as if to touch while pushing your chest forward. This handy move should alleviate some of the pain and pressure built up from being in that hunched up laptop position most of us are all too familiar with.

Long Layover? Invest in an Airport Gym Pass

Yes, layovers suck, but if your travel plans include more than one lengthy leg then taking advantage of an airport gym makes a lot of sense. Not only will getting your endorphins pumping before a long-haul flight help you sleep better on the plane, it can also help prevent blood stagnation in your legs, reducing your risk of blood clots.

It is increasingly common now for airports to offer gym services, yoga studios, or wellness lounges as a way for travelers to pass the time and exercise on the go. Forget to pack your exercise gear? No problem. Many of these gyms offer complimentary shoes and workout clothes rentals for a nominal fee.

Notable standouts include Roam Fitness in Baltimore Washington-International Airport , where you can sweat it out wearing Lululemon and enjoy complimentary Malin +Goetz shower products.

Browse Baltimore Day Use Rooms

Goodlife Gym in Toronto Pearson International Airport offers affordable $17 day pass which allows you access to 10,000 s.q. feet of cardio machines, weights, luggage storage, and an express workout station.

Browse Toronto Day Use Rooms

More into the vinyasa flow? A handful of major U.S. airports are now offering yoga studios for passengers looking to sneak in a quick savasana while traveling. Dallas Ft. Worth International Airport offers complimentary studio access complete with mats, exercise balls, and resistance bands. Although there are no instructors standing by, they do have instructional videos for both beginner and advanced yoga routines.

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Try a Simple Yoga Workout in Less-Crowded Airport Areas

Waiting for a flight to depart or for your ride to show up is wasted downtime for many travelers. Use these moments to keep pace with your travel and fitness goals. All you need is a small, uncrowded space.

Practice some standing yoga moves that will increase flexibility, blood flow, and balance. Tree pose, mountain pose, chair pose, or even downward dog are all great options. If space is at a premium, or you’re stuck waiting in line, get your body moving with some light resistance work, such as air squats, calf raises, or leg lifts. Pro tip: If you can find an empty wall, do some wall sits to engage your core and fire up your quads and glutes.

Work Up a Sweat with A HIIT Style Hotel Room Workout

As a busy traveler it can be tempting to slack off from your normal fitness routine when the circumstances are less than ideal. If hitting your hotel gym simply isn’t an option get ready to mix it up with a High Intensity Interval (or HIIT) workout.  Remember, even 10 minutes of intense movement is better than nothing at all!

HIIT style training uses nothing but intense bodyweight-based movements to spike your heart rate with minimal rest time in between. Incorporate bodyweight moves such as jumping jacks, jump squats, burpees, pushups, air squats, lunges, planks, mountain climbers, or tricep dips, to name a few.

All of these moves are small-space friendly and require no equipment. They can also be modified to accommodate your fitness level. For example, if a full push up is too difficult, try from your knees. If a jumping jack is too easy, try doing 3 jacks/1 air squat or a jumping jack with a floor touch. Depending on your fitness level and available time, you can create a quick sweat session of anywhere from 5-20 minutes. For beginners, start with 30 seconds of work followed by 30 seconds of rest. For a more advanced workout, aim for a full minute of work with 30 seconds of rest.  

Traveling and fitness might seem like unlikely companions. But with a little effort and an open mind you can not only improve your health while traveling, you can smash your fitness goals, too.  

Do you exercise when you travel? What are your go-to tips? We’d love to know!


Image Credits:

“Beach Yoga” by Patrick Malleret via Unsplash

“Fitness Center” by Red Lion Hotel Denver via (CC BY-SA 2.0)