It’s all too easy to stop exercising when you’re on vacation, but it’s not all that wise. “Travelers will be well-served by exercising,” said Robert Gillanders, a physical therapist at Point Performance in Bethesda, Md. “On vacation, you may not be able to do exactly what you do at home, but mixing up your routine is good, and often invigorating.” Here are some ways to stay fit anywhere — without special equipment or gear:
1. Warm up. Loosen your joints, move your muscles and get your heart pumping with some easy movements, advised Gillanders. Skip an imaginary jump rope or try some old-school jumping jacks. You can even march in place for a few minutes. “Channel your Jane Fonda and get your arms going, too,” he said.
2. Do some squats. These exercises work your quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings. Stand about 6 inches in front of a chair or bench, and lower your hips until your bottom taps the seat. Look forward, and counterbalance the squat with arms extended to the front.
3. Try the bird dog. For this core exercise, start on your hands and knees, then lift and extend one arm and the opposite leg (only as high as your hip). Your middle shouldn’t move; imagine trying not to spill a drink on your lower back. Pause before alternating.
4. Push it up. Place your hands on the ground, about shoulder-width apart, fingers facing forward. Position your elbows at roughly 4 and 8 o’clock. Lower your body so upper arms are parallel to the ground.
5. Take on the plank. From the push-up position, lower your upper body so your forearms are flat on the ground, parallel to each other. Keep your core tight, and for extra challenge, alternate lifting each foot up a few inches.
6. Rock the dead bug. Another core exercise that’s minimally stressful for your spine. Lie flat on the floor, raise your arms straight up, fingertips pointing to the ceiling. Lift your legs so your hips and knees are both at 90 degrees. With a tight middle, slowly lower one leg and the opposite arm toward the floor, without arching or flattening your back.
7. Go for a dip. Tone the back of your arms with tricep dips, which you can do off a park bench or even a step. Sit with your palms on the edge of the bench, beside your legs. Scooch your bottom forward until it’s off the seat, with your knees at about 90 degrees. Slowly drop your hips a couple of inches until upper arms are parallel to the ground (bending your elbows more can strain your shoulders). Return to the starting position. The farther out you move your legs, the greater challenge for your arms.
8. Practice your balancing act. Stand on one leg and engage your core. If you’re wobbly, stand in a doorway for support. Hold for 30 seconds before changing legs.
9. Cool it. Stretch after your workout, especially areas where we’re prone to tightness, such as your hamstrings, back and hip flexors.
10. Take a mental fitness break. Take a few minutes — or maybe a whole day — to ditch your electronic devices and scrap your schedule. Instead, sit and listen to waves crashing or birds chirping. Take your time. Wander. “Staying fit doesn’t have to be moving,” Gillanders said.