By Juliane Morris

Stay on Top of Your Fitness When You’re Away from Home

Vacation or business travel tends to lead to over-indulging, treating yourself while away and coming home feeling off course.  If your itinerary includes upcoming travel, think about following these ideas or modifications of them to help maintain some great exercise options toward your health and wellness.

Skipping High Knees

Skipping High Knees challenge and work many muscle groups by activating hip flexors, strengthening legs and  enhancing coordination.  The movement of the exercise mimics jumping rope and counts on speed and large muscle motor control.

Step 1: Skip in place by hopping on one leg while bringing the other knee up toward your chest.  Lift your knee so it is a bit higher than perpendicular with your body.  Swing your arms as you skip with the opposite arm.  When your left arm is forward then your right knee is up.

Step 2: Repeat the skipping motion, alternating sides.  Try two to three sets for 30 seconds.


Grasshopper Push-Up

The Grasshopper Push-Up is a variation of the traditional push up.  This exercise is challenging and may not be for everyone.  They take some getting used to, so practice your form and do them slowly and carefully to get the hang of them.  The different angles used with these train different sets of muscles.  They enhance flexibility in your lower body and because the movements are intense, after just a few reps you’ll feel the burn.

Step 1: Place the palms of your hands flat on the floor shoulder-width apart but in line with your shoulders.  If your wrists are unable to bear much weight, modify with a closed fist floor placement.  Steady your toes on the floor and squeeze your glute muscles to stabilize the body.  Form your body into a strong, straight line from your shoulders to your toes.  Your face should be downward toward the floor.

Step 2: Tighten your core and bend your right leg under your body.  Keep your leg under your body as you inhale and then bend at your elbows to lower your body until your chest is near the floor without allowing your right leg to touch the floor.  You can turn your head as you move so as not to strain your neck. Inhaling when you move down to the floor relaxes your ribcage while expanding your abdomen.

Step 3: Exhale slowly, pressing your body back to the starting position, returning and straightening your right leg next to the straight left leg.  Exhaling as you push yourself to the starting plank position releases air to help your ab muscles contract, making the push-up easier and safer.

Step 4: Repeat the steps with the left leg.

Bird Dog Plank

The Bird Dog Plank strengthens your lower back, works your glute, and targets the core abdominal muscles that line the front of your stomach wall.  A staple for home or away, this will help you stay on top of your exercise commitment, even when you’re dragging from jetlag.

Step 1: Place your hands and knees on the floor–down on all fours–hips square, knees under hips and hands under shoulders and at shoulder-width, keeping your back straight and your core engaged.

Step 2: Lift up one arm parallel with the floor while lifting up the opposite leg parallel with the floor, forming a straight line from fingertips of raised arm to toes pointed of raised leg.

Step 3: Hold the position for ten seconds with hips squared and core engaged and without leaning forward or back but centered and balanced over hand and knee, hips level and not curved up sideways.

Step 4: Repeat eight to ten times on each side, two to three sets.

Modification: These exercises are not for everyone. Only those who are used to a regular exercise program should attempt them.

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