Boarding passes. Check. Coordinating shirts and pants. Check. Tennis shoes and resistance band. What? Yes, you read correctly…exercise during your vacation. Check.
Vacation. No matter where the destination, the word "vacation" is usually associated with being away from home, indulgence, a reality break from one's normal schedule. If you decide to use your vacation to take a break from exercise, upon your return you may find it difficult to get back into the groove of your weekly exercise routine.
Although you probably can't take along your favorite cardio machine, weighted equipment or group fitness instructor, the resistance band may be the next best thing.
Resistance bands are the ideal travel companion for many reasons:
- They travel well. Bands weigh less than a pound and can easily be packed inside a shoe or a side pocket.
- They're inexpensive. Bands can be purchased at almost any sporting goods store or large retail store such as Target or Wal-Mart, and cost anywhere from $6.00-$20.00.
- They come in difference resistance levels. Bands come in different resistance levels—suitable for beginners all the way to the most experienced exerciser—so no excuses!
- They increase coordination. Unlike weighted equipment, resistance bands have continuous tension throughout the entire exercise. This tension forces the body to stabilize and activate more muscle groups at one time.
Although these exercises may not seem like a workout when you compare them to your usual exercise routine, they are enough to keep you moving, active, happy and guilt-free. After all, nobody wants to go on vacation and gain weight. Your exercise excursion begins now!
Arm Adventure: Biceps, Triceps, Upper Back
Starting position: Hold onto the handles of the resistance band and step onto the center of the band with your right foot, placing the left foot behind you. From this position, perform the following three exercises, doing one repetition of each move, and complete the entire sequence 10 times through.
- Biceps Curl: With palms facing forward, bend the elbow and lift the palms toward your shoulders and return to the starting position.
- Pull Back: With the palms turned back, press the arms straight back behind the hips and return to starting position.
- Upright Row: Continuing with the palms facing the back, lead with the elbows and pull the hands right to a point beneath the chin.
Vacation Hot Spot: Legs
Starting position: Hold onto the handles of the resistance band and place both feet, shoulder-width apart, on the center of the band. Anchor your hands to your hips. For added resistance, anchor the band up toward the shoulders. Perform 16-20 reps of each exercise.
- Squats: Bend the knees and lower the hips as if you were going to sit in a chair, then return to standing.
- Side Stepping: Take a large step to the right and close in the left leg, but don't lose tension in the band; next, repeat by taking a step to the left and closing in the right leg.
Total-body Package Deal: Legs, Shoulders, Back
Starting position: Hold onto the handles of the resistance band and step onto the center of the band with your right foot, placing the left foot behind you. From this position, perform 10 repetitions of each the following three exercises and then switch to the left foot.
- Lunge + Shoulder Overhead Press: Bring the band to your shoulders; the band should be positioned behind the arm. Lower into a lunge and then press to standing while simultaneously pressing the arms overhead.
- Lunge + Back Rowing: Choke up on the band so the band is tight. Lower into a lunge and then press to standing while simultaneously pulling the arms back, keeping the elbows toward the hips.