Health Tips > Fitness Files > No Equipment, No Problem: Tips to Stay Active on the Road

No Equipment, No Problem: Tips to Stay Active on the Road

View All Section Pages

Woman using a bench to work out.

Fitness habits can be hard to keep while traveling or on vacation. Between wanting to relax and spending time with family and friends, day-to-day priorities can be put on the back burner. But you don’t have to give up family time or relaxation to get a workout in or stay active. Cooper Fitness Center Professional Fitness Trainer Paul Nally shares his tips for staying active while away from home without equipment.

Body weight workouts
Wanting to get a workout in without access to a nearby gym?  Body weight workouts use gravity to create resistance and make movements challenging. A zero-equipment workout allows you to exercise virtually anywhere since no equipment is necessary. “This type of exercise allows for a higher degree of kinesthetic awareness—awareness of our muscles, movements and balance,” says Nally. Practicing body weight exercises can also improve everyday movements such as sitting, standing and walking by enhancing flexibility and stability.

A great way to get your muscles warmed up is through dynamic movements. Leg swings, jumping jacks and opposite arm opposite leg toe touches are all movements that can be performed before a workout. Warming up properly gets your blood flowing, increases your range of motion in joints and ligaments and helps prevent injury.

Body weight exercises come in a variety of types such as squats, lunges, push-ups, burpees and planks. Exercises can be modified based on an individual’s fitness level and capabilities to be easier or more difficult. Someone who struggles with push-ups can modify the exercise by practicing on their knees first or at an angle against a wall. To make a push-up more challenging, you can do a “power” push-up or a single-arm push-up. To perform a power push-up, complete a normal push-up and when at the bottom of the movement, gently push off the ground allowing your hands to come off the ground slightly.

For a video demonstration of body weight exercises without equipment, watch this Exercise Move.

Staying motivated
It’s easy to break routine and hard to re-establish healthy habits, especially while on vacation. Staying motivated to exercise while on vacation can be hard when those around you are not practicing the same habits. “Make your fitness a priority,” advises Nally. “Exercise in the morning to get it out of the way so the rest of your day is free. Many times, if you wait until later in the day, you’ll be too busy or make plans and by the time you are free, your desire is gone.” Staying active not only helps with kinesthetic awareness, but also helps you sleep, keeps your brain healthy and improves mood. Who doesn’t want all three of these whether on vacation or in daily life?

Try something new
It is important to maintain physical activity while you travel. “That doesn’t mean you have to plan intense workouts,” says Nally. There are a variety of activities you can do while on vacation to switch up your regular routine, get your blood pumping and elevate your heart rate.

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Go on a hike
  • Rock climb
  • Walk around the airport while waiting for your flight
  • Play volleyball on the beach
  • Explore a new city on foot instead of driving
  • Bike through the mountains
  • Try a quick high-intensity interval training (HIIT) routine
  • Kayak

Get creative with what you have around you. While you don’t need additional equipment to work out, you can use things in your hotel room to perform an exercise. For example, a bench can be used to do step ups to work your legs or cans and water bottles can be used for bicep curls or to add weight to a squat.

Traveling is a great opportunity to try something new as a workout. Whether you choose to try a new HIIT workout, play volleyball on the beach or opt for a flight of stairs instead of the elevator, there are endless options for staying active while traveling without any equipment. Talk with a professional fitness trainer before your trip. They can help plan your workouts in advance and provide suggestions on alternative exercises that allow you to work with what you have instead of what you don’t.

For more information about professional fitness training at Cooper Fitness Center, visit or call 972.233.4832.