Fitness and Wellness · Uncategorized

Travel Well: Preventing Injury

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It’s the Year of Active Travel! My sweet husband and I love to try new things and stay active when we travel. There are too many beautiful things to see and places to go in the world, and you can’t see it all from the sitting position. Yesterday’s post was all about warming up and stretching out to help your muscles work through stiffness and tiredness from jet lag. Today, we’re looking at some exercises to prevent injury while on your travels! Because nothing really ruins a fun vacation like an injury. You can do all of these exercises at home or at a gym, with minimal equipment.

As with anything related to your health and wellness, check with your doctor or other healthcare professional before beginning a fitness regime. All activities mentioned are done at your own risk.

First things first: a note on symmetry. Our bodies are not perfectly symmetrical, and one side will be stronger than the other. So working both sides at the same time only gets half the job done. When possible, working both sides individually will make you stronger and sturdier when you do work both halves together!

Lower Body

Focus on squeezing your gluts (that’s your booty!) and keeping your abs tight as well. Start with your body weight, and move up 2-3 pounds at a time by holding hand weights as you feel comfortable doing so.

 1. Squats
  • Stand with your back to a low bench, table, chair, or similar platform
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  • Spread your feet shoulder width apart or just slightly wider
  • Hold the weights in front of your collarbone
  • Drive your knees out to the sides as you squat low to tap your bottom on the platform you are using
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  • Stand up while squeezing your glutes to help you come up to the starting position
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  • Repeat 10-12 times for one set
  • Perform three sets

*Note: You can do this exercise without a platform; the platform’s purpose is to ensure you squat down the same distance each time.

2. Tipping Bird
  • Stand on one foot with a weight in your opposite hand (weight optional)
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  • Keeping your body straight, bending only your stationary hip, slowly lower the weight down to the ground
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  • Slowly stand up, squeezing your glutes and abs to keep your body aligned
  • Repeat 10-12 times for one set
  • Repeat on the other side
  • Perform three sets
3. Reverse Lunge with Twist (Bonus: this works your whole body)
  • Start in the standing position, holding a weight in front of you with both hands, if using a weight at all
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  • Lunge one leg back, ensuring both feet are facing forward
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  • Twist in the direction of your stationary leg
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  • Return to the starting position
  • Repeat 10-12 times for 1 set
  • Repeat on the opposite side
  • Perform three sets

Upper Body

1. Single-arm Press
  • Rest your head, neck and shoulders on a stability ball, chair, or storage box like the one I’m using, and face up
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  • Hold a weight in one hand, with your palm facing your chest and your elbow close to your side
  • Press the weight up
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  • Slowly lower the weight down
  • Repeat 10-12 times for one set
  • Repeat with the other arm
  • Perform three sets
2. Plank with Pull
  • Start on the floor, facing down
  • Prop yourself up on hand weights and tips of your toes, keeping your body straight, with hips slightly up
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  • Pull one weight up beside your chest, keeping your elbow in
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  • Lower the weight down
  • Keep your body as stationary as possible, not moving your hips or leaning to one side or the other
  • Repeat 8-10 times for one set
  • Repeat with the other side
  • Perform three sets

*Make it easier: Prop yourself on your knees instead of your toes

3. Push Press (Bonus: this works your whole body)
  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, or just slightly wider
  • Hold a weight in one hand, if you want to use a weight at all
  • Keeping your head, neck, and chest up, squat down to touch the weight to the floor
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  • Immediately pop back up to standing, pulling the weight across your body and pushing it up above your head
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    Whoops! There is in fact a weight up there!
  • Lower the weight and squat back down to the ground
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  • Repeat 8-10 times for one set
  • Repeat with the opposite arm
  • Perform three sets

Core

Think about your “Core Four”: 1) abs, 2) lower back, 3) glutes, and 4) hamstrings. Your whole body is connected, and your core is literally the center of it all! When your core is strong, you have better balance. Personally, I feel like the rest of me is stronger when my core is strong. Here is some care work to keep you strong and healthy while you’re hiking, boating, zip lining, or whatever you want to get into on your travels!

1. Bridge and Hamstring Curl
  • Start on your back with your knees up and gliders (or wash cloths) under your heels
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  • Lift your hips and tighten your abs and glutes (that’s your booty muscles) to keep your body lifted and straight–do not arch your back)
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  • Push your feet out until your legs are straight
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  • Use your glutes and hamstrings (the backs of your thighs) to pull your feet back in
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  • Repeat 8-10 times for one set
  • Perform three sets
2. Basic Plank
  • Start with your body face-down on the floor
  • Prop yourself up on your elbows and toes
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  • Keep your body straight, now allowing your hips to drop toward the floor
  • Hold 30 seconds for 1 set
  • Perform three sets

*Make it easier: Prop yourself on your knees instead of your toes; or prop yourself on your hands, arms fully extended, instead of on your elbows.

*Make it harder: Add 10-15 seconds at a time.

Have questions? Feel free to e-mail my friend and trainer, Joe Dattoli of Functional Training Concepts, if you need some clarity on any of these moves! Send him a message at JosephDattoli.iii@gmail.com.

Want more gym-free and low-equipment exercise ideas? Check out Kira Stokes on Instagram! Her moves are diverse, and often you only need your own body weight.

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