Travel-Friendly Fitness Gear That Actually Helps You Stay Fit On the Road
You’ve been making your inner Olympian proud by working out consistently, but now you’ve got an upcoming trip somewhere that is—gasp!—threatening to cramp your fitness style. You can’t have that. No, you won’t have that, so you’re determined to hunt high and low for a gym in your new locale, or at least contemplate Tetris-ing a whole set of dumbbells into your luggage. (You definitely won’t drop that on your head when you’re clearing out the overhead bin…right?)
While we admire your commitment, you don’t have to lug a yoga mat or BOSU ball along with your other travel essentials to stay fit on the road. Here’s a better idea: Pack gear that you’d actually use and is way more compact. With these items in your go bag, you can get an awesome workout anywhere—in your hotel room, at a park, or wherever.
Whether you’re doing bodyweight squats, push-ups, or bicep curls, amp up your bodyweight workouts with resistance bands. Think of these as giant rubber bands that vary in tension and are coordinated by color.
You’re going to underestimate them at first, but you’ll very quickly learn that they can feel like you’re lifting between 10 or 100 pounds. It all depends on the tension of the band and the exercise you’re doing with it.
You can buy a whole set of resistance bands (either the closed loop kind or those with handles) and carry a bunch of colorful bands with you (festive!); or, just bring a single SKLZ Training Cable, which you can easily adjust to match your desired tension and resistance. Win-win!
Similar to resistance bands, the TRX suspension trainer is like a gym on the go to help you do strength training-style workouts pretty much anywhere. All you need to do is hook the straps to a sturdy anchor point—a door, a lamp post, a tree, a pull-up bar, or maybe a tall uncle. Then you grasp the handles and shift your weight in different ways to make your bodyweight workouts more challenging.
For example, if you do bicep curls, you can slide your feet closer toward the anchor point, shifting your weight more toward your upper body and making the bicep curls way harder. Oof.
If you tend to work out better when someone guides you through a workout and plays some really sweet, up-tempo beats, then there’s the perfect app for that. Available on both Android and iOS devices, Beatactive perfectly blends catchy tunes of the electronic dance music variety, a workout that syncs up perfectly to the awesome music, and a calming DJ that tells you what to do (and pushes you a bit while you’re at it).
Altogether you’ll feel like you’re in a spunky group exercise class. Beatactive is free to download, but requires a monthly subscription that costs $8 a month. But hey, if you travel a ton, that beats paying for a day pass at a gym.
For our traveling yogis, rejoice!
Manduka’s SuperLite Travel Yoga Mat is the answer to your bulky yoga mat woes. No longer do you need to worry about how to fold, press, roll, or generally transport your yoga mat.
It functions exactly as advertised: The eKO mat is super light, coming in at under two pounds, and folds up like a paper crane for hassle-free packing into your travel luggage or tote bag. And don’t worry, it’s durable, constructed from eco-friendly material, and is safe for people with latex allergies. You’re feeling more centered already, aren’t you?
Technically, you can start using wearable devices even when you’re not traveling, but what better incentive and way to explore a new place than by walking (or running) everywhere? Wearing the Atlas Wristband is a great way to help you keep track of your steps and challenge yourself to beat your daily step count.
Not only that, Atlas wearables also track the quality of sleep, your calories burned, your hydration levels, and so on. With this data, you can set yourself up to improve your habits—even if you’re on a splurge-worthy vacay.
Don’t underestimate this school playground classic. A jump rope gives you a super effective cardio workout. I mean, have you actually tried jump roping for 10 minutes straight before? Sup, burning calves!
While any jump rope can do the trick, the great thing about the Crossrope Burn set is that it comes with two detachable handles and different ropes that can vary the intensity and pace of your jump roping.
Simply alternate the speed and pace of your jump roping to do an interval-style workout that’ll give you the best-worst 15 minutes of your day, anywhere.
While you take care of yourself by working on your fitness, you should also take care of your body by massaging tight areas and muscles, especially since while traveling, you’re in a sedentary position—whether in a car, plane, or train—more than usual.
You don’t need to run off to a massage therapist (although that would be awesome), but you can do a little DIY self-care with a massage ball. TriggerPoint Foam Massage Ball helps you get into those nooks and crannies where it hurts real good.
A cheaper—and equally effective—alternative is a big, fat softball. I bring one with me everywhere. As a note of caution, the softball could be too much for some people. If it hurts in a bad way, you’ll know it. So don’t push it. This is about feeling better, after all—no matter where you’re trekking.
Stephanie Lee travels and writes from anywhere in the world. She writes for Lifehacker.com and her site FY!S. Her motto is “Take life by the balls, but have a ball.” Learn more by visiting http://thefyslife.com to read her lighter takes on travel, life, and shenanigans. You can also follow on Twitter and Facebook.