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The Traveler's Guide to Fitness

Mar 18 2021
7 min read
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When you take a wellness vacation, like visiting us at Canyon Ranch, you enjoy the gift of time... do what you like in an environment that promotes nurturing yourself, eating well and exercising.

Of course, not every trip can center around your health in this way: You may toss your sneakers and yoga pants into your suitcase with full intention of breaking a sweat only to return home without having touched them while you were away.

Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, sticking to your regular exercise schedule when you’re away can be challenging; a full day of events or a sub-par hotel gym won’t help your efforts. But if you shift the way you approach fitness when you’re on the road, you’re more likely to keep moving in a meaningful way, even if you’re not able to work out like you normally would.

Switching things up from your typical cardio or strength training circuit can not only make it easier to fit in exercise, but it can work new muscle groups and maybe even inspire you to discover a new workout that’ll keep you motivated long after your trip comes to an end.

These tips can help you keep moving and change your frame of mind. Of course, if you’re traveling for rest and relaxation, it’s important that you be in the moment and enjoy the experience for what it is. When it comes to exercise, move as much as you can, but be gentle on yourself if you aren’t pushing as hard as you normally do. Doing something active while you’re away is better than nothing at all.

Gear up. Whether it’s by running or doing exercises in your hotel room, you can complete a quick, effective workout with the right gear. Pack those sneakers and running shorts or some portable fitness tools, like resistance bands, a yoga mat or jump rope—all simple, compact pieces of equipment that are easy to use anywhere.

Memorize a few simple moves. Working out when you’re away from home feels a lot less daunting when you know a few go-to exercises that require little or no equipment, especially helpful if you’re unable to find a gym. Plus, moves that only use your bodyweight for resistance are great to do when you’re short on space (think your in-laws’ tiny guest room).Traditional moves like plank, mountain climbers, lunges, squats and push-ups are easy to remember. Consider these upper body and lower body exercises as well.

Take advantage of technology. These days, taking an exercise class from a world-renowned teacher is as simple as firing up your tablet, laptop or smartphone. There are a number of subscription-based fitness streaming services (and even many free sites) that can help you sneak in a workout no matter where you are. Yogis Anonymous, for example, has a library of classes that make you feel like you’re practicing right in the studio with the teacher, and DailyBurn suggests workout plans based on your goals rather than offering one-off classes. Using a fitness app, like MyFitnessPal or Runtastic, or a fitness device like, FitBit or Jawbone, can also help you log your activity and inspire you to keep moving. For more inspiration, YouTube has fitness exercise videos in every category imaginable.

Try a new class. Search for fitness classes in the area where you’re visiting; post-sightseeing and pre-dinner is a perfect bit of down time to sneak one in. This is a great way to get a flavor for a city you’re visiting, and maybe even meet a few locals who can point you in the direction of must-sees you don’t want to miss while you’re in town. You may even discover a different type of class (hot yoga, Pure Barre) that you’ll want to stick with when you’re back home.

Getaway Plan: A Workout Schedule for a Long Weekend Away

Maximize your time away and get in some exercise with this sample modified workout schedule for a 3-day trip:

Day 1: Wake up and take a 30-minute walk around the hotel property of nearest neighborhood. For the first 15 minutes, walk at a medium pace, taking in all of the sights; on your way back, pick up your speed so you’re breaking a light sweat. If you’re having fun and want to keep going, feel free to walk for an hour or two—just make sure you fit in at least 15 minutes of power-walking tempo each hour to get your heart rate up.

Day 2: Take a new class or do a quick strength workout at the hotel. If you discovered a local yoga or dance studio with “new student” specials, sign up for a class. If it’s easier or more feasible to stay in your hotel room, challenge yourself to do a quick strength session, like this 20-minute workout. And if you don’t have access to a gym and didn’t pack any equipment, engage your muscles with some of the bodyweight moves mentioned above.

Day 3: Walk, swim, bike – just have fun. Keep in mind that simply moving your body is exercise, which means that a walk on the beach, swim in the pool and bike ride around town all count as legitimate workouts.

With the goal of getting and staying fit in mind, you might even try a more adventurous activity while you’re away, such as a mountain hike, kayak or standup paddleboard excursion, or tennis lesson.
Taking advantage of all of the activities a new place has to offer may encourage you to continue to mix things up at home. And if you’re traveling with colleagues, friends or family, commit to trying an activity—or just going for a walk—together.

If all else fails, stretch. When your vacation workout is cut short or you just can’t seem to get off that lounge chair one afternoon, at least dedicate a few minutes to stretching your muscles. Long rides—on planes, trains or in cars—can cause cramping and stiffness.

And whether you’re lying still on a beach or walking around for hours, a good stretch maintains healthy blood flow and helps soothe muscles. Try these simple stretches—you’ll be glad you did when you do put on those sneakers again.