7 healthy suitcase essentials
Travel fitness must haves
People often gain weight on holiday and let their healthy ways slip for a couple of weeks, but it certainly doesn’t have to be that way. With this mix of the latest fitness gadgets and tried and trusted exercise essentials, you’ll return from your travels healthier than ever.
Exercise balls are a great workout tool, and according to a 2008 study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, even just sitting on one instead of a chair burns an extra 30 calories every day. Great as they are, unless you’re Mary Poppins you won’t fit one in your bag. That’s where the balance disc comes in. This inflatable disc-shaped cushion is unstable, and works exactly like an exercise ball in strengthening your core and balancing your muscle strength. It’s even great for on the plane – put it on your chair and you’ll have squeezed in a workout before you arrive at your destination.
If you’ve worked hard on getting a beach body complete with rock hard abs and want to maintain them, look no further than an ab roller, sometimes known as an exercise wheel. A study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy found that ab rollers were an effective way of activating the abdominal muscles, making them the perfect ab workout tool. Get one of the portable ones and you’ll be able to take it apart for easy storage so that it’ll fit into your suitcase without any problems.
iRiver On Earbuds
Exercising with music isn’t just a great way to keep you entertained during training sessions. Research at the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation found that people who listen to music while they train perform better than those who don’t, especially when the music has a high tempo. The iRiver Earbuds take workout music to the next level, with a built in neckband that can monitor your heart rate. They’re designed to stay firmly in your ears no matter how much you move around and are extremely portable, making them perfect for travelling.
Cardio is an important aspect of any fitness regime, but it can be hard to fit any in if you’re in an unfamiliar city. A speed ladder solves this problem and allows you to get a cardio workout without ever leaving your hotel room. The speed ladder is a roll out ladder made of nylon that when placed on your floor allows for a variety of exercises that will test your footwork and coordination, all the while working up a sweat. There are an endless amount of drills that you can perform with a speed ladder, so be sure to mix it up to give yourself a further cardio boost.
The average person puts on around 1.5kg (3 pounds) in weight on a typical vacation according to a study conducted by travel operator Thomas Cook. Much of that weight gain is down to the huge amount of food available when dining out on holiday. That’s why you need to pack the HAPIfork. This clever electronic fork accurately tracks how much and how quickly you’re eating, and will beep to tell you when to slow down. All the information is then fed back to your phone, allowing you to accurately track your travel eating habits.
Versa Steps are essentially small pieces of rubber in a half ball shape that help develop both strength and balance. Throw some in your suitcase and you’ll open yourself up to a huge range of workouts in your room. Using four of the Versa Steps you can add an extra dimension to press ups and the plank, and with just two you can perform an extremely challenging variation of squats. With multiple Steps simply lay them out on the floor and move between them keeping your balance – a great core workout without having to go to the gym.
Under Armour Armour 39
If you’re serious about your health you’ll know that tracking and monitoring your workouts is a great way of making sure you are constantly progressing. However, taking your workout diary, heart rate monitor and computer on holiday isn’t practical. Under Armour’s Armour 39 is a great way of monitoring your workouts when travelling. The small strap fits around your chest, and tracks calories burned, heart rate, and ‘real time intensity’ giving you a score out of 10 for your workout. Everything it records is sent back to your phone or computer, so you won’t find yourself with a gap in your workout diary when you come home.