Outdoor Fitness: How to stay fit whilst travelling

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During the summer, temperatures can be too hot for people to withstand in the desert, so many people travel. It is important during this time that fitness levels are maintained. Some places may not have a gym and therefore, equipment you would normally use to train may be limited.

Like most expats in Dubai, I plan to go away this summer. I also plan to stay in shape when I am away. In this article I will share with you some of my favourite exercises that you can do when travelling. I will give you two options for each exercise so you can choose which works for you.

Incline push up

1) Incline Push up
This works the chest and triceps. Just like a normal push up, the aim is to get the chest to the floor. Option one can be a normal push up, which you can do on your knees. Option two is an incline push up where your feet are raised. You can use a bench, the end of the bed or even a chair to raise your feet. Slowly and with control, lower your chest to the floor and then push up back to the starting position. Aim to complete 5 sets of 15 repetitions.

Alternate walking lunges

2) Alternate walking lunges
For this exercise, you just need some space in front of you. Option one is to lunge the right leg, stand, then lunge the left leg. This slight pause between each side is the easier choice as it gives the legs a moment to
rest between each rep. Option two is a continuous lunge going from right leg to left leg. You can also add some resistance by holding something in each hand or with a bar on your back. When you lunge you must keep your back straight and focus on balancing by bringing your back knee to the floor. Push through the heel of your front foot for stability. Try to complete 3-5 sets of 20 lunges, 10 on each side.

Resistance band shoulder fly

3) Resistance band shoulder fly
A great travel tool is the resistance band, which easily wraps up to fit in your case or bag. There are a number of exercises you can perform with this band. Here, I have chosen the reverse fly. An exercise that predominantly works the shoulders. Grip both handles of the band and stand up tall. The further apart your feet, the greater the resistance. Option one is to stand with your feet close together and touching. Option two would be to stand with your feet shoulder width apart or wider. Lift both hands together up in line with the shoulders, keeping both arms straight. Aim to do 5 sets of 10-15 repetitions.

Side plank rotation with hip lift

4) Side plank rotation with hip lift
The plank works your core and a number of other muscles around the body contribute in keeping the body still, in an isometric contraction. The side plank is more advanced. It will challenge your balance and your side strength. Option one is to drop your bottom knee and use that as support. Option two is to be on your toes. Make sure your elbow is directly under your shoulder and you keep your hips still throughout the rotation movement. Reach your top hand under your body whilst pushing your body weight through the bottom hand on the ground. A hip lift is simply engaging the obliques of your bottom hip, to lift your top hip to the sky. Complete 3 sets of 5 rotations followed by 5 hip lifts on each side.

Vsit into isometric dish

5) V-sit into isometric dish
Similar to the previous exercise, this has two exercises combined. The first is a V-sit which focuses on core strength. From a lying down position on your back, with arms and legs out straight, bring your arms to meet your legs in a ‘V Crunch’ shape. Option one is to do this exercise. Option two is to finish with an isometric hold so your arms and legs are off the floor in a dish position. Try to do 3 sets of 10 V-sits followed by a 20 second dish hold.

Focus on your technique and feeling the movement when you are exercising. Doing this will allow you to concentrate on muscle activation, which means you will get more out of the workout if you think abut the area you are working. To complete all the above exercises will take no longer than 30 minutes, which means that you can exercise whilst you travel. Getting back into training after travelling will then be a lot easier for you!


Nicky Holland
Fitness Manager, Fitness First Uptown Mirdif

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