These guidelines take into account the four fitness types: endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility.
1. Endurance for aerobic fitness
To maintain overall fitness, you need to keep your lungs, heart, and circulation healthy with aerobic activity. Holidays are perfect situations where you can find opportunities in all kinds of places – no equipment required. But even when you’re pressed for time, there are very effective exercises that you can do in the confines of your room.
Running or power walking
The perfect way to get the heart pumping wherever you are. Whether you’re vacationing at the beach, out in the mountains, or even out in the city, there’s little excuse not to get out and get those lungs pumped full of oxygen.
Who says you have to dance in a group to enjoy this fun activity that offers a plethora of fitness benefits, both mental and physical. Under the endurance banner it’s a great way to improve the condition of your heart and lungs.
Why should walking and running be the only acceptable forms of exercise that can be done anywhere? When you dance, your body is the vehicle.
If you count hotel stairs as being equipment, then okay, we have a back-up cardio version that will test you just as much. It’s called the mountain climber, which isn’t only good for endurance, but also for core strength and agility that can be done anywhere.
This simple exercise starts with you in a plank position, then bring one knee in to under your chest with your foot off the ground, and alternate legs. The mountain climber will get your heart rate pumping and your legs burning – and the best thing? No equipment.
How long? 20 – 60 minutes a day, depending on intensity.
2. Strength for strong bones & muscles
Building strength while on holiday without equipment is easy because there are so many ways to do this using our own body weight. If this is all new to you, then start with five minutes and work up from there.
Get in touch with your inner child and find a suitable (safe) tree to climb.
Climb a tree
Get in touch with your inner child and find a suitable (safe) tree to climb. Tree climbing is a full body workout that builds upper and lower body strength, and while you’re at it, there are major relaxation benefits being out amongst a canopy of trees. So if nothing else, do yourself a favour, make friends with a tree by climbing it just to elevate your mood.
Pull ups are one of the toughest strength conditioning exercises to do but works a load of major upper body muscle groups. While out walking in the forest, find a tree with a suitable sturdy horizontal branch that you can reach comfortably and get those lats, traps, and pecs working.
If you prefer to progress into this move slowly in the confines of your hotel room, you can practise with sliding floor pull ups. You need a smooth floor to lie face down – just imagine your movement doing a real pull up – reach both hands out above you, and start pulling!
You may think that handstands belong under Balance, and you would be right, but handstands are so much more – they recruit dozens of muscles in the body, are one of the best ways to build muscular endurance, and take you out of your comfort zone.
If you’re a beginner, you must progress slowly into handstands, practicing for five minutes a day. You’ll find those five minutes to be an intense workout on their own! Master the technique and you’ll be glad you did.
You’ll find those five minutes to be an intense workout on their own! Master the technique and you’ll be glad you did.
3. Balance for control of body movement
At the very least, body balance helps you stay upright preventing you from falling over as you go about your daily activities such as standing or walking. But balance also improves mobility and helps prevent injuries. Most balance exercises involve lower-body type exercises, such as:
No, we don’t suggest the extreme cliff-jumping variety. Rock hopping is an excellent way to build your proprioception (the sense of awareness of your own body and it’s parts and where there are in space at any given time). Dry river beds are a good source of large rocks to practise on.
Vrikshasana is one of the few standing poses and is a balancing posture that also has many other benefits such as strengthening and toning. Use this step-by-step guide, but remember to always work within your own range of limits and abilities.
You will need a small ball of sorts. Stand on one leg and raise the other to a 90 degree angle. Hold the ball in the hand on the same side as the raised leg. Toss the ball over the top of your raised leg and catch the ball with the same hand under your raised leg. Do 10 – 20 tosses on each leg.
4. Flexibility to stay limber
If your job keeps you desk-bound for most of the day, or in a car sitting in traffic often, this can cause tense and tight muscles that should be stretched out regularly. Unless we are practiced in such disciplines as yoga and tai chi, most of us fail to stretch adequately.
Full body stretching
This is the most effective way to stay flexible. Five great stretches that you can incorporate at the end of your workouts every day include the hamstring stretch, the hip flexor and quad stretch, the hip opener, the glute stretch, and the side bend.
Many exercises will work on more than one specific type of fitness. Trail running is great for cardio, but will also build strong leg muscles and balance. So go find a park, get creative, and keep fit.
Important note: Always work within your own range of limits and abilities.
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Disclaimer: The information in this article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial, legal, or medical advice.
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