There is a long list of Fit Facts created by the American Council on Exercise (ACE). Here are a few to help you maintain your exercise program while traveling
Fit Fact 1
Resistance Tubing Workout
For those times when you just can’t make it to the gym, resistance tubing offers an inexpensive and portable way to get a full-body, strength-training workout at home or on the road.
As with all exercise, it is important to warm up for five to 10 minutes and gently stretch the muscles you will be working. For beginners, it is best to do one set of 12 to 15 repetitions.
Intermediate exercisers (i.e., those that have been lifting weights for up to three months) can perform one to two sets of each exercise. More advanced strength trainers (i.e., those who have been lifting weights or using tubing for more than three months) should try to complete two or three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions. Stretch each muscle group after each set and at the end of the entire workout to improve flexibility.
Perform the following exercises for a quick full-body workout:
Seated row (back): Sit on the floor and grasp one handle. Wrap the tubing around a bedpost or some type of anchor close to the ground and grab the other handle. Sit back so that there is tension on the elastic when your arms are extended forward. Extend your legs in front of you with your knees slightly bent. Pull the handles so that your elbows form right angles as you squeeze your shoulder blades together.
Bring your elbows back as far as you can, keeping your spine neutral. Slowly let your arms extend back to the starting position and begin your second repetition. Be sure not to slouch.
Bench press (chest): Secure the center of the tubing at chest level and face away from the anchor, grabbing the handles in each hand. Begin with your thumbs at your armpits and step far enough away from the anchor that at this starting position the tube is not gapping. Fully extend your arms in front of your body. Slowly release to the starting position and repeat.
Military press (shoulders): Stand on the center of the band with feet shoulder-width apart. With your palms facing forward and hands by your shoulders, extend your arms straight up while keeping your back straight (do not arch your back) and abdominal muscles tight. Slowly lower and repeat.
Tubing Safety Tips - Pulling on exercise tubing isn’t exactly a risky activity. Still, to keep the tube from snapping into your face—and to give your muscles the best challenge—follow these important guidelines. Check for holes or worn spots in the tubing. Replace the tube if you see any tears. Do your workout on carpeting, wood floors or grass—anywhere but asphalt or cement. Abrasive surfaces can tear your tube. Wear comfortable, supportive athletic shoes, not sandals or dress shoes. Make sure the tubing is secured underfoot or on an anchor before you begin each exercise. Maintain good posture throughout each exercise: Keep your knees slightly bent, your abdominal muscles pulled in and your chest expanded. Perform the exercises in a slow and controlled manner, to work against resistance both when you pull on the tube and when your return to the starting position.
Excerpted from Fitness for Travelers: The Ultimate Workout Guide for the Road, by Suzanne Schlosberg (Houghton Mifflin, 2002), available at www.acefitness.org.
Triceps extension (triceps): Step on the tubing and pull one handle up behind your head. Bring your elbow up close to your ear and, beginning with your arm bent behind you, extend straight up until your arm is straight. You may use your other arm to hold your elbow in close to your head. Slowly lower back to the starting position and switch arms.
Biceps curl (biceps): Step on one end of the exercise band and grab the handle with the same hand. Be sure that when your arm is extended down by your side, there is some tension on the tubing. With your palm facing forward, bend your elbow, bringing your hand up toward your shoulder. Keep your wrist straight and bend only at the elbow. Slowly release and repeat. If you are using light resistance you may be able to stand on the center of the tube and work both arms simultaneously.
Squats (quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes): Stand on the tubing so that you are centered. Grab the handles with both hands and stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Hold the handles up by your shoulders and bend as if you are going to sit in a chair. Return to standing and repeat. Be sure to keep a flat back and contract your abdominal muscles.
Kneeling crunches (abdominals): Anchor the tubing above your head and let the handles drop down. Kneel on the floor with the anchor behind you. Hold the handles with your hands up by your ears and elbows in. Bending from the waist, curl down, bringing your head toward your knees and keeping the handles locked by your ears. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat.
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Printed with the permission of the American Council on Exercise (ACE).
Fit Fact 2
How to Avoid Deep Vein Thrombosis on Long Plane Flights
Concern about deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a potentially life-threatening disorder in which blood clots form in the deep veins of the body, particularly the legs, has been growing in recent years after several cases were attributed to long flights.
DVT can lead to a pulmonary embolism (PE), when a clot breaks free and lodges in a lung. If the clot is large enough, it can cause sudden death.
In an airplane, the dehydration caused by the dry air may thicken blood. In addition, the low cabin pressure, combined with immobility in cramped seats, may cause blood to collect in the legs. As a result, DVT has been dubbed ”economy class syndrome.” The potential for the problem is greater when in-flight airline personnel keep the seat belt sign lighted and discourage passengers from moving about the cabin due to air turbulence.
Who is most susceptible? People with cancer, chronic heart or respiratory failure, or an inherited or acquired predisposition to clotting, obesity or varicose veins Those who recently have had major surgery, have been bed-ridden or have suffered a blow to the leg Women who are pregnant, who’ve recently had a child, who are taking contraceptives or who are undergoing hormone replacement therapy People 40 years and older may also be at increased risk
Approximately four to five percent of high risk individuals may suffer DVT on flights of 10 hours or more. Swelling, tenderness, discoloration or redness in the lower legs may be signs of DVT. Unfortunately, however, there are often no symptoms at all.
What precautions can you take? At the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions in 2001, the results of research conducted by an international group of scientists from the U.K., Australia and Italy suggested that low-to medium risk patients may prevent DVT with compression stockings, while a single dose of heparin, a blood thinner, may work for high-risk individuals. Consult with your physician if you are concerned about DVT and to discuss how to best reduce your risk.In addition, you can Walk around the cabin every 15 to 30 minutes if possible during flights of three hours or longer Do some simple stretching exercises while seated Sleep only for short periods—up to 30 minutes at a time Limit alcohol and caffeine, which may contribute to dehydration Bring your own water bottle, or request water if your flight has a beverage service Walk briskly through the airport during layovers.
In-flight exercises Ankle turns: Lift your feet off the floor and move your toes in a circle, one foot moving clockwise and the other foot moving counterclockwise. Change direction and repeat.
Foot lifts:Place your heels on the floor and bring your toes up as high as you can. Then put both feet back flat on the floor. Then pull your heels up while keeping the balls of your feet on the floor.
Knee lifts:While keeping your knee bent, raise your leg while tensing your thigh muscle. Repeat 20 to 30 times, alternating legs.
Shoulder rolls:Raise your shoulders and then move them forward, downward and then backward in a smooth circular movement.
Arm bends: Start with your elbows on the armrests and your hands pointed forward so that your lower and upper arms make a 90-degree angle. Take turns moving your left and then your right hand toward your chest and back, and continue for 30 seconds.
Knee to chest:Bend slightly forward. Fold your hands together around your left knee and pull it toward your chest. Hold this position for 15 seconds and let your knee drop slowly. Change legs and repeat.
Forward bends:Place both feet on the floor and pull your abdomen in. Bend slowly forward and ”walk” your fingers along your shins to your ankles. Hold for 15 seconds and sit up slowly.
Upper-body stretch: Stretch both arms over your head. With your right hand, grab your left wrist and pull it slowly to the right. Hold for 15 seconds and change arms.
Shoulder stretch: With your right hand, grab your left elbow and pull your outstretched left arm slowly toward your right shoulder. Hold for 15 seconds and change arms.
Neck roll:Relax your shoulders, let your head drop to your right shoulder and roll your head slowly to the front and then to your left side. Repeat five times.Source: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
Printed with the permission of the American Council on Exercise (ACE).
Fit Fact 3
Travel Fitness: A Plan of Action to Keep You Active
It is easy to let a vacation or business trip destroy your fitness schedule and eating habits, but why let something as rewarding as a vacation or as exciting as a business trip leave you feeling unhealthy upon return?
With a little research and proper planning, you can create an easy-to-follow plan to keep you fit and healthy no matter where you travel, and you can come home feeling more healthy and energized then when you left.
Nature’s playground and man’s monuments
There is no excuse for not finding places to exercise when every city has a great staircase, stadium, or tall buildings where you can master the stairs without a machine. If stairs aren’t your thing, cities have lots of places good for walking, running or even hiking. Ask the hotel concierge if there are parks or trails nearby; or if you have ventured to the mountains, ask for a map of local hiking trails.
It is also a good idea to ask the concierge for a map of the city to find out how many of your destinations are reachable by foot. (Walking will increase your fitness and decrease your taxi fares.)
Prior to departure on your trip, find out if your hotel has a workout facility and a pool, and remember to pack your bathing suit and workout clothes. If they don’t have a facility, they may be affiliated with a local gym where you can get a one-day pass for a small fee.
There are no limits to the exercise you can do while exploring new territory. Make the most of your trip, and get to know the city by foot.
Prepare for power, no excuses
If your hotel doesn’t offer fitness accommodations, bring along a jump rope and an exercise tube. They are both lightweight and easy to transport. Jumping rope is one of the best forms of cardiovascular exercise, and you can do it anywhere.
With the exercise tube and a pre-arranged plan to keep you motivated, you can keep your entire body toned and energized without entering a gym or stepping on a piece of exercise equipment. Numerous magazines and websites offer workout instructions for each body part.
And, of course, body-weight exercises such as push-ups and crunches require no equipment at all. The point is to find a workout routine that suits your needs and follow it. Plan a specific time each day or every other day to do your strengthening and cardiovascular routines (a good plan is to alternate days between the two).
Remember that the 20 to 60 minutes you spend working out each day is for you, and try to stay on schedule.
Be sure to enjoy yourself and make the most of the area to which you have traveled. Remember to bring comfortable shoes so that you can easily get a workout while using your feet as your main mode of transportation.
Whether your trip is for business or vacation, remember that you should have some time for yourself every day. Why not dedicate that time to improving your health and making yourself feel better?
Nutrition road tips Always drink plenty of water, particularly if you’re flying. Conjure up a healthy meal in your mind prior to entering a restaurant, and stick to your plan as closely as possible. Try to eat at least three times per day to keep you from feeling famished and overindulging at any one time. Pick up portable, healthy snacks at a local market so you won’t be caught hungry in front of the mini-bar. Go ahead and splurge on regional dishes or local cuisine, but balance your diet by choosing lower-calorie foods at other meals.
Fit Fact 4
Jumping Rope: Not Just For Kids Any More
Remember the song, ”Not last night but the night before, twenty-four robbers came knockin’ on my door?”
Those were the days when playing hopscotch, jumping rope and hanging on the monkey bars were our primary occupations.
While hopscotch and swinging from the jungle gym may no longer be a part of our leisure time, jumping rope could be. Not only is it a great cardiovascular alternative to your usual aerobic workout, jumping rope can increase body awareness and develop better hand and foot coordination.
One of the greatest things about jumping rope is how little it takes to get started. All you really need are some comfortable shoes and a good rope. The best shoes for jumping rope are either aerobic shoes or cross-trainers. Be sure your shoes have a reinforced toe and provide a lot of cushioning for the ball of the foot.
Jump ropes have come a long way since most of us were skipping around the playground. Today, they are made from a variety of materials and feature various grip styles.
Some ropes are weighted or have heavy handles. These ropes are usually too cumbersome and are not recommended. Instead, choose a light-weight rope with foam grips so it won’t slip away from you even if your palms get sweaty.
Here’s how to choose the right length rope for you: step one foot on the center of the rope and bring both handles up to the chest. The handles should reach about chest-high.
Learning the basics
Here is a breakdown of the do’s and don’ts of jumping rope: Lightly grip the handles near the end closest to the rope. Keep your shoulders relaxed and your elbows close to your body. Your knees should be bent slightly. Turn the rope from the wrist and aim to keep a smooth arc in the rope as it passes over your head. Never hunch over. Keep your back straight and head up. Jump low to keep the impact on your knees and ankles to a minimum.
Jumping rope – ’90s style
If it’s been a while since you’ve swung a rope, you can rest easy – the essentials are still the same. And the essentials are all you really need to know to get a good workout. But if you want to create a fun and exciting workout, you’ll have to add an extra element: a little pizzazz.
The easiest way to do this is to turn on some upbeat music to get you motivated. Fun, exciting music is the best way to keep your energy up during your workout.
Once you have mastered basic jumping, try getting a little creative. Jump backwards or vary your foot patterns. Try bringing your knees up or scissoring your legs. If you find yourself needing a break but you don’t want to stop completely, twirl the rope from side to side
If you’re finding it difficult to come up with new moves, head to the video or bookstore. There are several new tapes and books on the market to help you add some variety to your workout.
The point is to stick with it. You’re sure to notice a marked improvement in your endurance level, which will help any other sports or activities you may do. And who knows? Jumping rope might even make you feel like a kid again.