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Do You Know This Easy Secret to Staying in Shape While Traveling?

No gym? No problem. Here’s a 20-minute workout you can do anywhere.

Traveling can make it hard to keep up with your exercise routine.

Whether you’re hauling bags through terminals, sitting for hours and hours on a plane or bus, or sleeping in different (and sometimes uncomfortable) beds — the toll that traveling can take on your body can be significant. It’s not uncommon for frequent travelers to experience back and joint pain, neck strains, and tension headaches.

Some hotels have gym areas, but not all do, and quality and availability of equipment can vary greatly. Add to that the fact that you’re usually away from a kitchen, are probably eating (awesome) calorie-packed foods, and are totally out of any normal routine, and it’s easy to see why so many travelers return from trips feeling a little sore and maybe less than unhealthy.

So how do you stay strong and pain-free while away from home?

The thing is, we tend to make working out an event. If you belong to a gym or studio, you pack your bag, drive there, find your locker, get dressed, go to a class or do your workout. You might shower afterwards if you have somewhere to go directly. All of this takes time. Our workouts start to feel like a 2-hour commitment, because that’s what we do when we’re at home and have that time.

The truth? You can work out your whole body in about 20 minutes, anywhere, with zero exercise equipment.

All you really need is your own body to provide the resistance and the bag you brought with you. Here’s a super-simple 2-step hotel room workout developed by fitness expert Steve Kamb that you can take anywhere (even outside!) and even tweak as you progress:

Young woman stretching her legs to warm up in the gym.

Step 1: Warm up (3-4 minutes). Get your core temperature warmed up, get blood flowing, and loosen up muscles by doing the following in rapid succession:

• 25 jumping jacks
• 15 body weight squats
• 10 push ups
• 10 lunges (each leg)
• 10 hip raises
• 25 more jumping jacks

Step 2: Work the circuit (15 minutes). Now set a timer for 15 minutes. Go through these exercises as many times as you can in succession until the timer goes off, ideally without breaks — although it’s fine to build up to that over time. The most important thing is to keep proper form for each one, even if you can’t do all of them or if you need to take a break.

20 Body Weight Squats (see this guide for the best form)
15 Incline Push Ups (have your feet on floor and your hands on the edge of your bed or desk)
10 One-Arm Luggage Rows (each arm, use your suitcase, carry on, or backpack as your weight)
10 Reverse Crunches (here is a guide for doing this while protecting your lower back and strengthening your core, which will help fend off low back problems)

And…that’s it. 15 minutes, and you’re done. Finish up with a few minutes of stretching and deep breathing, and you’ll be set. Imagine the difference that doing that even just three times a week would make on your trip.

What would it be like to come back from vacation stronger and in better shape than when you left?

Silhouette of young woman doing exercise over the sunset background

Some travelers take on this challenge for longer trips! It’s been done — people do this routine on the beach at sunset, in beautiful parks, in the hotel gym. Once it’s just part of your travel routine, you’ll find all kinds of new (and sometimes hilarious) places to take 15 minutes to care for yourself.