Stay Fit On-the-Go: SHAPE's Top 25 Travel Tips


Over the last quarter-century, the travel industry may have changed-think about the Web revolution, frequent-flyer programs, no more smoking on planes!-but the challenge of getting in your workouts on the road has not. We searched the SHAPE archives and asked readers to send us their tips in order to bring you the best road-tested strategies for exercising anywhere-whether you're stuck at a conference in Cleveland or lounging on the beach in Maui.

The best advice on ... PLANNING YOUR TRIP

1. Be a picky eater. Airline and roadside-diner food is a diet disaster in the making. Log on to or to research options for healthy meals before you take off.

--SHAPE, Nov. 2004

2. Check the forecast. Research the weather at your destination so you pack the right workout wear. This way, you'll have no reason to stay in your room.

--SHAPE, March 1982

2006 update makes it easy to get forecasts.

3. Let a race be your tour guide. "My favorite vacations revolve around cities that have marathons at various times of the year [any race or fitness event will do, though]. I get to see the locale while achieving a goal."

--Laura Thorson, Sugar Land, Texas

RESISTANCE BANDS: How to fit in a total-body workout anywhere

4. Get a running start. "I like to schedule my flight to arrive a few hours earlier than I have to be there for work. This way, I can check in, put on my running shoes and dash out the door for a breath of fresh air, a great workout and a fantastic way to see the city."

--Leslie Howard, San Diego

5. Set a goal. "Each time I travel, I decide how many days I want to work out during my trip. If I'll be gone for a week, my goal is to exercise four times. It forces me to plan my days."

--Kari Eide, co-author of The Fit Traveler: Take Your Workout With You (Publisher's Design Group, 2006)

6. Take advantage of your gym membership. "Many gym chains participate in what's called a passport program that allows you to work out at hundreds of clubs at no cost or for a nominal fee. Before I leave home, I go to to find fitness clubs within a short distance of my destination."

--Deborah Grayson Riegel, Woodmere, N.Y.

CARDIO FIX: Fitness tips to upgrade your home workout

7. Join a club for the day. "Call ahead to local running, swimming, skating or biking clubs to see about meeting other folks who do your favorite sport. The advantage: You get company, and they may be able to set you up with borrowed gear."

--Stefani Jackenthal, New York City

8. Buy a new outfit. "When I shop for vacation clothes, I always splurge on one new exercise outfit. Seeing it in my suitcase when I unpack inspires me to work out."

-- Cristine lEbovits, upper saddle river, N.J.

The best advice on ... MAXIMIZING TRAVEL TIME

9. Walk when you fly. To avoid dangerous blood clots in your legs that can develop when you sit for long periods of time, stretch in your seat and get up frequently to walk the aisle.

--SHAPE, July 2002

2006 update JetBlue Airways (in partnership with Crunch Fitness) offers a Flying Pilates and Airplane Yoga card in every seat pocket. Download them for free at

10. Work out on your layover. Got an hour to kill? Go to airportgyms .com to see if there's an in-house spa or fitness center in the terminal.

--SHAPE, Dec. 1999

11. Do laps in the airport. "If I have extra time in an airport, I'll leave my bags with my traveling partner and do a brisk walk around the terminal. If you don't have to schlep your luggage through a crowded airport, you can sneak in exercise by walking through the concourse."

--Catherine Vacca, Long Beach, Calif.

EXERCISE ON THE GO: The best 5-minute workout routines

The best advice on ... BRINGING A WORKOUT WITH YOU

12. Rope off exercise time. "I have a jump-rope that I keep in my suitcase, so I'm always ready for cardio if I end up in a nonfitness-friendly hotel [jump in the parking lot or even in the hallway if the ceilings are high enough]."

--Michelle K. Trace, Fort Collins, Colo.

13. Dress the part. "I travel in nice workout clothes and athletic shoes so I can hit the gym as soon as I get to my hotel. If I'm worried about my resolve, I'll check my luggage in with the bellhop so I won't get sidetracked in my room."

--Janice Caluda, Tallahassee, Fla.

14. Rise and shine. If you feel out of sorts when you're away from home, set aside 15 minutes in the morning to stretch, breathe deeply or do other wake-up exercises to get the day started on the right foot.

--SHAPE, March 1988

2006 update Toss The Stretch Deck (Chronicle Books) into your carry-on. The set of cards includes 50 stretches that can be done anywhere.

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15. Bring your wheels. "My husband and I always take our bikes with us when we travel; we exercise and enjoy the scenery at the same time."

--Michelle Herrell, Powell, Tenn.

16. Pack Shape! "I bring a set of exercise bands and a few of Shape's no-equipment-needed workouts that I can do anywhere."

--Vanessa Brown, Lebanon, N.H.

17. Plan DVD nights. "When I travel, I take my laptop, which has a DVD player, and my favorite Pilates, yoga and Tahitian Fitness DVDs."

--Sarah Wallace, Chicago

The best advice on ... WORKING OUT IN TIGHT SPACES

18. Get strong whenever you can. "On the plane, I push my heels into the floor and contract my glutes for in-my-seat firming. In my room, I make sure that I sneak in a few ab moves before bed."

--Julia Chester, West Lafayette, Ind.

19. Use what you've got. "I've created my own version of a hotel workout. It includes step-ups and calf raises done on a large phone book, desk chair dips, squats and lunges on the bed (which also helps your balance), biceps curls and rows with water bottles, and running the stairs to add cardio."

--Martha M. Fowler, Whigham, GA.

20. Pull your weight. "When I travel, I pack two 5-pound dumbbells so I can do my strength routine. Plus, I get added endurance from carrying the extra weight in my luggage!"

--Brigitte Othmer, Yorba Linda, Calif.

HOME GYM: The only tool you need to stay trim and toned anywhere

The best advice on ... USING THE AMENITIES

21. Exercise early in the a.m. "I hit the hotel gym first thing in the morning when it's less crowded. I even lay out my exercise clothes the night before."

--Mary Mickley, Rapid City, S.D.

22. Run in the pool. "A great way to get some cardio on a day by the pool is to run laps in the water around the perimeter for more resistance than you'd get on land."

--Jolie Laurence, Irving, Texas

23. Stick close to the hotel. "If you're not comfortable heading off-property on a walk or run, do it in the parking lot. I run around the hotel lot about five to eight times."

--Teneice McGhan, Boca Raton, Fla.

The best advice on ... GOING HOME FEELING BETTER

24. Take an e-break. If you want to come home feeling rejuvenated from a vacation, turn off your laptop, cell phone and BlackBerry and declare yourself officially at recess. Spend the time you would've wasted on a call or online doing something active.

--SHAPE, June 2005

25. Hit the sack. Exercise will often energize you, but if frequent travels have left you sapped, don't feel guilty about giving your body time to recuperate.

--SHAPE, Sept. 1994

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