Getting in a workout when you’re traveling, or when you’re stuck in a small living space, or when you don’t have access to a gym can be a challenge. If the weather is nice, it’s easy to get outside and run or walk, but what should you do when the weather doesn’t cooperate?
If you don’t have much space or equipment, here are some tips for getting in a workout no matter where you are: from the corner of a room to the middle of a park.
Prioritize bodyweight exercises
Bodyweight exercises are easy and effective ways of improving your strength, balance, and flexibility with no need for gym machines. All you need is the ground – be it your living room carpet or the grass outside.
If you’ve ever done a push-up or a sit-up, you’ve done a bodyweight exercise. However, you may wonder if these exercises are useful. After all, there must be a point to spending money on a gym, right?
Bodyweight exercises have several benefits:
- You can get results from short workouts, so they don’t take much time
- You can do both cardio and strength exercises easily
- You can burn fat effectively
- You can adjust the difficulty easily
- You can get creative and incorporate equipment if you want to
Examples of bodyweight exercises
Here are some top bodyweight exercises that you can do anywhere.
Plank. These exercises work your abdominals more effectively than sit-ups. A ten-minute plank workout is more effective than an hour of sit-ups!
Burpees. Burpees work your whole body, in particular your upper body strength. Burpees also improve your overall coordination. You’ll also burn more calories with burpees in less time than you would with cardio exercises, and you don’t need a lot of space to do burpees.
Lunges. Lunges work your lower body as well as your core muscles. You can do forward lunges, backward lunges, alternating lunges with squats, or alternating lunges with jumps (if you want to do cardio at the same time.) If you are new to lunges, you can hold onto a chair or put your hand against a wall for stability.
Chair dips or squats. Chair dips and squats are an excellent lower body exercise. If you are new to exercise and want something to help you balance, you may want to try chair dips (a slow squat while you hold onto the back of a sturdy chair). If you are familiar with squats, you can do your squats with or without a resistance band (see below.)
How to modify bodyweight exercises
You can make bodyweight exercises more challenging by adding in resistance bands. Resistance bands will help you build flexibility and improve your balance while you work out.
Resistance bands come in different sizes and thicknesses – the thicker the band, the higher the difficulty.
One way to use resistance bands is to take a booty band and wrap it around your thighs while doing squats, plank, or other exercises. The idea of resistance bands is that you work to keep the band taut while you exercise to work several groups of muscles at once.
You can also modify existing exercises with no need for additional space to use existing poles, a doorway, a bench, or equipment in a playground.
Try doing inclined sit-ups on a slide, or wrap a more extended resistance band around a bar to do pull-ups.
Use a park bench to do step-ups or, if the bench is at the right height, box jumps. You could also put one foot on the bench to do lunges.
Keep your routine flexible
Be ready to work out anywhere by having a light exercise bag with a change of clothes, some resistance bands, good gym shoes, and a towel.
If you are traveling, check ahead of time where there are public parks. You may want to visit a local gym, but if you pack your exercise bag, you can work out in your hotel if you wish.
Another top tip is to make a game of finding opportunities to exercise you might not have noticed before.
For example, you could:
- Run up and down the stairs
- Use a porch railing as a stretching bar or support for squats
- Do floor exercises while you watch TV or listen to a podcast
- Do squats, knee lifts, or leg lifts while you wait for dinner to cook
And to get the most out of your workouts, remember to combine bodyweight exercises with cardio. So do go for a run from time to time!