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Exercising while on the go
Erin Kennedy, director of the Center for Healthy Lifestyles at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center, performs a wall slide to work her quadriceps while using a resistance band to work her upper body at the Central Illinois Regional Airport. (The Pantagraph/STEVE SMEDLEY)

BLOOMINGTON -- Here's how to plan for physical activity during your vacation or business trip:

Check out the fitness room

When making reservations, consider hotels that have a fitness room.

"It may not be the best gym, but it's something," said Ali Vincent of TV's "The Biggest Loser."

Experienced exercisers can adapt their routines to equipment in the fitness room. Fitness professionals recommend exercising in the morning to give you an energy boost for the day.

Pack your gear

Pack whatever you'll need to make it easier for you to be physically active, such as running shoes and shorts, T-shirts, a swimsuit, an exercise (resistance) band, jump rope and water bottles. If you're tracking your steps, bring your pedometer.

If you have a favorite exercise DVD, bring it; your hotel room may have a DVD player.

Take exercise breaks

If you're driving, take an exercise break. When you stop at a rest area or a park for a meal or a snack, include exercise.

Go for a walk or a jog. Play tag, catch or Frisbee. Use your resistance band or jump rope to exercise.

If you have time for a longer break and you've stopped at a park with a beach, go for a swim. If you've stopped near a golf course, play nine holes. If you stop at a historic area, take a self-guided walking tour.

"Keep things fun," advised Advocate BroMenn's Allison Wholf.

Move during layovers

Resting in the airport terminal during layovers between flights can make you tired and perhaps even cranky and sore for the subsequent flight.

Instead, move during layovers. Vincent walks around airport terminals and finds quiet areas to jump rope, do planks (lifting yourself up on your elbows) to work her core and upper body, squats to work her quadricep muscles on the front of her thighs and gluteal muscles of the buttocks, lunges to work her quads and the glutes, and tricep dips using the edge of an airport seat to work muscles in the back of her upper arms.

But if you exercise at the airport, allow time to duck into a restroom to clean up using a cleansing wipe and reapply deodorant before getting on the airplane, Wholf advised. Some people change into a change of clothes in their carry-on bag, she said.

Plan your meals

Healthy activity should be coupled with healthful eating. Ward off hunger by packing healthful snacks, such as nuts, seeds and fresh fruits.

A joy of vacation is trying local cuisine. If some of the regional favorites are higher in calories, don't deprive yourself but be reasonable about how much you eat. If you overindulge, eat a little less and be more active for the rest of the day, said OSF St. Joseph's Erin Kennedy.

Move when you get there

Everyone wants to relax during their vacation. But few people want to be lying down the entire time.

Because most people choose beautiful settings for their vacation, take advantage of them.

If you're in a historic area, put on your walking shoes and shorts and take a walking tour. Ask at the hotel if there's a trail nearby that's safe to use. Rent bikes and go on a family bike ride. Swim, walk or run at the beach. Rent a paddleboat, canoe or kayak. Play tennis or golf.

"We just need to think of fitness as having fun with the family," said Sheri Gatto, wellness coordinator of State Farm Insurance Cos.

"These activities do amazing things. They show your children that fitness is important to you and that it's important to stay healthy together. It bonds us as families."


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