Stay Fresh on the Road With Travel Exercises

If you're stuck in a car or on a plane, try these exercises to increase circulation and reduce muscle stiffness.


Traveling can disrupt your exercise routine. Often, you end up sitting for long periods, stuck in confined spaces like hotel rooms, which can make you stiff and undo some of the hard work you put into improving your flexibility and mobility. Time zone changes, altered meals and new surroundings can also contribute to decreased performance during competition away from home. It's important to have a travel exercise plan to keep you on track.

If you're stuck in a car or on a plane, try some seated exercises to increase circulation and reduce stiffness (except when you're the driver, of course). If you have a little more room, do the standing exercises.

Perform the following simple travel exercises so you can arrive home without pain, stiffness or cramps.

RELATED: Bodyweight Exercises for Home or Travel

Travel Exercises

Seated Ankle Circles

  • Increase leg circulation.
  • Start in a seated position. Slowly turn your ankles in both directions.
  • Sets/Reps: 1-2x10-15, every 30-60 minutes

Seated Heel-Ups and Toe-Ups

  • Gently increase leg circulation.
  • Start in a seated position. Keep your feet in contact with the floor as you slowly lift up your heels and then your toes in a rocking motion.
  • Sets/Reps: 1-2x10-15, every 30-60 minutes.

Seated Knee Bends and Straighten

  • Increase leg circulation.
  • Start in a seated position. Slowly straighten and bend your right knee 10 to 15 times. Repeat on the left side.
  • Sets/Reps: 1x10-15, at least every 30-60 minutes.

Seated Arm Raises

  • Increase upper-body circulation.
  • Start in a seated position with your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly raise your arms overhead, open and close your hands, and lower your arms back down to your sides.
  • Sets/Reps: 1x10-15, every 30-60 minutes.

Seated Arm Pumps

  • Increase upper-body circulation.
  • Start in a seated position with your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly bend both elbows and close your hands, then straighten both elbows and open your hands.
  • Sets/Reps: 1-2x10-15, at least every 30-60 minutes.

Standing Heel Raises

  • Increase leg circulation.
  • Start in a standing position with your feet hip-width apart. Slowly rise up and down on your toes.
  • Sets/Reps: 1-2x15, at least every 30-60 minutes.

Marching in Place

  • Increase leg circulation.
  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Slowly march in place.
  • Sets/Reps: 1x15, at least every 30-60 minutes.

Choose the standing exercises over the seated ones whenever possible. If space and time permit, a quick walk of five to 10 minutes is also an excellent way to increase circulation after prolonged sitting.

RELATED: Get Faster With the Driveway Workout

References:

Leatherwood WE, and Dragoo JL. "Effect of airline travel on performance: A review of the literature." British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2013;47(9): 561-567.

McGuckin TA, Sinclair WH, Sealey RM, and Bowman, P. (2014). "The effects of air travel on performance measures of elite Australian rugby league players." European Journal of Sport Science. 2014;14(Suppl 1):S116-122.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: WORKOUTS | EXERCISE | TRACK | RAISES