The Fitness Kit

by Country Inns & Suites
Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Deborah Hall Wakefield knows all too well how difficult it is to stick with a fitness routine on the road.  By Melany Klinck

As a public relations executive with CityPass, she attends weeklong conventions where days begin with 7:30 breakfast meetings and don’t wind down until after dinner. Often the only way she can work in a workout is to rise at 5:30 a.m. and take a three- to four-mile walk or do in-room aerobics with a DVD.

 “I try to exercise every day because I’m in my late 40s now, and there’s just no grace period when you’re my age,” says Wakefield.

However, she points out that physical activity has psychological benefits, too: “Exercise really clears your mind and gets you ready to take on another day of long meetings. And it helps you be more creative.”

 Sound good? Then get moving. These tips should help.

 Plan ahead. Schedule time for exercise whenever possible. Many hotels have workout rooms or offer guest privileges at local gyms. If you already belong to a gym, ask if your membership entitles you to use affiliated gyms in other cities.

 Pack it in. No fitness facilities? No problem. Jump ropes, fitness bands and water-filled hand weights are easy to pack and can provide an energizing in-room workout. Exercise DVDs are also good fitness choices.

 Step out. Walking is an easy way to keep fit, and you can often find fitness trails, greenways and parks near business centers. Ask hotel staff for recommendations or visit online visitors bureaus for information.

 Take 10. If your schedule is too tight to accommodate your regular workout, try to fit in two or three 10-minute bursts of exercise daily. Research shows that 10 minutes of vigorous activity several times a day can increase fitness.

 Ask for a break. “If you’re involved with an association that meets regularly,” advises Wakefield, “ask the meeting planner to schedule free time during the day so people can fit fitness into their time away from home.”

 Exercise, of course, is just one facet of fitness. You also need to watch what you eat. So walk swiftly past those hospitality trays. And don’t feel compelled to clean your plate at every meal.

 Writer Melany Klinck never ventures far from home without her favorite walking shoes and a stash of low-fat granola bars.