Fitness Corner: Exercising while traveling

Dan and I on a morning walk on Maui in 2007.

My late husband, Coach Dan Potts, was the most dedicated exerciser I have ever met, even on vacation. I have vivid memories of him on the floor of vacation rentals and hotel rooms, completing multiple repetitions of crunches, push-ups and bodyweight squats, nearly every morning we traveled together. And then we’d head out on a roundtrip walk of several miles, with coffee as our reward! Later, we’d golf. Dan Potts never stopped moving!

These days, I’m not quite as active as I’d like to be while traveling or on vacation, but I do my best to make sure that I do some sort of movement every day. I don’t try to adhere to a strict strength or cardio routine and I wouldn’t suggest that you keep up with your normal fitness regimen either; this is often impossible.

What I recommend is doing a little bit of movement in any form each day when you are away from home, regardless of whether you are traveling for business or pleasure. Your schedule will dictate what you accomplish. (We can all accomplish something, even if it’s just 10 or 20 minutes!)

The possibilities are many:

Walk/run: the easiest thing in the world to do, just put on some shoes and go. Walk outside, walk on the treadmill in your hotel gym, just walk. Or run, if that’s your thing. Don’t forget to pack those shoes!

Hotel fitness center: Usually sparse, they will almost always contain a treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike and some sort of weight set or machines. You can do a lot with just those few pieces of equipment! Pair with a fitness app or video for even more of an incentive.

Hotel room or vacation rental: There’s almost always room to lay down a towel. You’ll default to bodyweight exercises. The basics are crunches, push-ups, front and side planks, squats and lunges. Or get inspiration from fitness apps or videos, readily available online. Yoga is also very doable in a hotel room.

Nearby gym: If you belong to a chain gym or have one of those memberships that allow access to many different facilities and you find one near your lodging, you’re all set! Better yet, choose a hotel based on proximity to a gym or a studio with classes that you enjoy.

Exercise accessories for travel.

Accessories: I never leave home without the essentials for a complete strength and cardio workout. Running shoes for walking or running, a resistance band for strength work, a door strap to secure the band, and a tennis ball for muscle release. These basic items consume a minimum of space and weight in my luggage. What accessory can you bring to support your commitment to your health?

Air travel: There is plenty of room to exercise in airports if you are OK with people looking at you. Even just walking the airport is something, especially prior to sitting on a plane for hours. These days, not much room on planes to move. I try and walk the length of the plane every so often on long flights. (Fifteen years ago, I witnessed my mother doing yoga in the galley area on an international flight. I’m not even sure that’s possible anymore, there is so little space now. I recently read about a woman who did yoga in the aisle of an airplane. I don’t think it was my mother but I can’t be sure!)

It doesn’t take much to move. A 20-minute walk. A 10-minute strength workout. A series of sun salutations. Even stretching works if that’s all you have time for. The type of movement you do isn’t as important as making it happen. Whatever you do, wherever you go, keep moving!

Coach Pritam Potts is a writer and strength coach. After 16+ years of training athletes and clients of all ages as co-owner of Edmonds-based Advanced Athlete LLC, she now lives in Dallas, Texas. She writes about health & fitness, grief & loss, love & life at



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