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Five excercise routines you can do in hotel rooms

20 Feb 2013 by ahmarshah
Most decent hotels would have a gym and/or a swimming pool, but fitting a pair of trainers into your suitcase could be an issue, and sometimes it's too cold to go to the pool. Or maybe you only have half an hour to spare. There is no more excuse – here are five exercise routines that have no attire requirement as long as what you are wearing allows maximum body movement – and you can do them in your own hotel room. Bird dog plank Why it is good for you: Many people neglect to train their core muscles, which are like the foundation of a building. If yours are weak, you will find it difficult to maintain the right posture when exercising, which means your workout will be compromised or injuries become more likely. This simple routine helps build strength in your deep core muscles through the act of balancing, coordination, stretch and body-weight resistance. Time required: 2-3 minutes for each set How to do it: Begin in a plank or push-up position; extend your left or right arm until it is parallel with the floor, with palm facing inward; meanwhile, extend your opposite leg until it is parallel to the floor; hold the position for 60 seconds (for beginners, try for 30 seconds); return to your starting position and rest with your knees down. Repeat with the other arm and leg. Safety precautions: This exercise is relatively safe, but to ensure the desired effect, make sure that your back is flat and tummy tugged in when in the plank/push-up position. If there is a full-length mirror, do this in front of it so that you can check the angle of your back from time to time. Recommended by Fitness First Hong Kong www.fitnessfirst.com.hk   Stretching with towel Why it is good for you: We all know the importance of stretching, as it is good for releasing tensions caused by simply going through day-to-day chores. It is even more important before and after workout, and a simple item in the room can help you do stretching more effectively: the towel. Time required: 1 minute for each stretching exercise How to do it: To stretch the shoulders, grasp one end of the towel with one hand and raise it over your head; bend your right elbow until your hand has reached your upper back; use the other hand to grasp the other end of the towel behind your lower back; then straighten your right elbow and mild stretching sensation may occur on the left shoulder; hold the position for 15-30 seconds; switch arms and repeat. For a posterior thigh and calf stretch, lie in bed on your back, bend your legs at knee joints and keep both feet on the bed; raise one leg at knee joint and point your toes toward yourself at ankle joint; wrap a towel around the raised foot with your hands holding firm to both ends of the towel; straighten the leg while pulling it toward your trunk as close as possible with the towel; hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds and then switch legs. Safety precautions: Stretching is considered low-risk, but people can still hurt themselves by doing these exercises too hurriedly and they might be subconsciously holding their breath. Pace yourself while stretching and pay attention to your breathing. Recommended by Physical Fitness Association of Hong Kong, China www.hkpfa.org.hk   Semi-squat with towel Why it is good for you: Even those who frequent the gym might be paying too little attention to their legs. Without strong leg muscles, your joints get most of the pressure when you are walking and, especially, running. You can effectively improve the strength of your legs through resistance exercise. Time required: 5 minutes How to do it: You probably won't really need a towel, but holding on to one helps you keep your balance. Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip width; hold the towel in your hands and keep your body straight; brace your abdominal muscles, shift your weight back onto your heels and begin to push hips backward; inhale and bend your hips and knees simultaneously to lower your body until knee angle reaches 90 degrees; exhale and return to the starting position by pushing your feet onto the ground through your heels; repeat 8-10 times as one set; try two to three sets with at least one to two minutes rest in between. Safety precautions: The mistake that most people commit with the semi-squat is they have their knees pushing forward past the toes, which defeats the exercise. Also, you might instinctively arch your lower back, which could strain it. Keep your back straight throughout. Recommended by Physical Fitness Association of Hong Kong, China www.hkpfa.org.hk   Shoulder press with towel Why it is good for you: This exercise looks very simple but do it enough and your shoulders will start to feel the workout. Again many people pay little attention to strengthening their shoulders, which impacts on their ability to lift heavy objects without hurting themselves. Time required: 5 minutes How to do it: Sit properly in a steady chair and keep your back straight; hold a towel in your hands at shoulder width and in front of your chest; exhale and slowly lift the towel to overhead position with palms facing forward; inhale and lower the towel back to the chest level; repeat 10 to 15 times for one set; try for 2 to 3 sets with at least 1 to 2 minutes rest in between. Safety precautions: Your lower back might also instinctively arch, so pay extra attention to keeping your back straight. If shoulder joints start to hurt, stop the exercise. Recommended by Physical Fitness Association of Hong Kong, China www.hkpfa.org.hk   Triceps dips Why it is good for you: Again, many people probably don't train their triceps enough, because they don't think they use them that much. But strong triceps help your push movements. Time required: You should do as many as you can, but you probably won't last more than 2 minutes in each set. How to do it: Place two chairs side by side and place one hand on each of them; rest your feet on a third chair, or bend your legs up so that your body weight is supported by your arms; bend both your arms at the same time and lower your body weight toward the ground, stopping when your upper arms are about parallel to the floor; hold this position for a second and then straighten arms to return to the starting position; repeat until exhaustion. Safety precautions: Keep your neck straight and do not shrug your shoulders. Recommended by Fiji Fitness www.fijifitness.com.hk   Exercise videos are also a good tool to bring with you on the road to aid your workout, and they are getting better in quality and there are so many to choose from. Stay tuned for the April issue of Business Traveller Asia-Pacific for a round-up on these off-the-rack workout kits. Reggie Ho
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