This month’s guest, 46-year-old Escape to Shape founder Erica Gragg travels for work constantly. In fact, travel is her business. But so is fitness. So she’s the exact right person to share fitness tips for people who spend as much time in a hotel room as they do at home.
Many of us live a life on the go. Thankfully, constant travel and lack of time are no longer excuses for forgoing fitness and wellness. Here are a few of my tried-and-true tips for bringing wellness on the road — wherever you may be!
MAKE A COMMITMENT
The first step to success is having an idea of where you want to go, so commit to yourself to take wellness with you and prepare for your time away from home. If you put in the effort to plan, you’ll have the tools you need and it’s easier to stay committed.
FUEL YOUR BODY
Start each day with a “morning elixir.” The main ingredients for mine are simple and typically available anywhere: hot water and a wedge or two of lemon or lime. I travel with cayenne and curcumin (turmeric) to up the anti-inflammatory benefits, but if you don’t have the space to add these spices to your travel arsenal, then just stick to the basics. They will still wake up your body.
I never travel without 8G, a super-green juice made convenient and easy, because I never know when I’ll be able to get my next green juice on the road — especially in countries where the produce and ingredients are not available or may not be safe! Just pop one of the fizzy tablets into water and there you have it: a healthy dose of spinach, wheatgrass, kale, blue-green algae, spirulina, aloe vera, chlorella, and barley grass. Plus, it tastes good!
I also take my own snacks. When you can’t find what you’re used to eating, you are more likely to make poor food choices, which can leave you exhausted or bloated — or both! Keep raw nuts, dried fruit, or healthy bars in your bag. Having snacks that are a combination of a healthy fat, protein, and carbohydrates close at hand will keep you fueled and eliminate the need to reach for less-nutritious options.
And, of course, staying hydrated and trying to stick to a largely anti-inflammatory diet also helps, whether on the road or close to home.
Plan a short fitness routine that you can take with you wherever you go. For example, a jump rope is small, easy to pack, and super effective. I like to start my morning with five to nine sun salutations, and then I do a quick circuit training routine that looks something like this: one minute of jumping rope, a one-minute plank, one minute of push-ups. I repeat the circuit three times. It’s a great way to work all the major muscle groups and get the blood flowing — and you’re done in 15 to 20 minutes.
You can also use fitness as a way to explore and/or connect with the local culture. Leave in time to walk to your meeting or plan to take a local dance class, book a walking tour, or rent a bike.
Another idea: Pack a tennis ball in your carry-on and give yourself a myofascial release. With one foot on solid ground, roll the tennis ball back and forth under the other foot. You can also lie on the ground and place the tennis ball under your upper and middle back and roll yourself over it. It’s a great way to get to those hard-to-reach spots that often hold lots of tension!
Tracking your achievements is useful both at home and on the road. Use the heart application on your phone or a Fitbit to track your steps. Aim for a minimum of 10,000 steps per day, every day, which is actually easier to achieve than it sounds! Find yourself stuck in an office building all day? Take the stairs whenever you can.
If you’re suffering from jet lag and need to unwind before crawling into bed, try vaiparita karani, a yoga pose commonly referred to as legs-up-the-wall. This pose is great for relieving fatigue, increasing circulation, and promoting relaxation.