How to Get a Great Workout While Traveling
Tips and tools for getting in a great workout on the road.
You’re traveling for either business or fun, and check into a hotel in a city you’ve never visited before. You want to get a run in, but how do you know where to go?
You could strike out on your own and hope for the best, but there are many apps and websites that can help you find recommended routes used by local runners.
Marriott recently rolled out a partnership with Under Armour’s MapMyFitness app: The app provides running routes picked out by the hotel chain that leave from its front door and take travelers past landmarks and sites.
If you’re staying at the Residence Inn in Chicago, for example, you can trace a three-mile course through Millennium Park and along the Chicago Riverwalk. Residence Inn dwellers in Portland can follow a course over the Willamette River and back through the waterfront park.
Kathleen Flaherty tried the app while traveling to Washington, D.C. in July. She uses MapMyFitness regularly to find routes, but hadn’t tried the Residence Inn offering.
“I saw the sign on the door of the hotel,” she said, and decided to give it a try. “It was very easy to use. Found a route, followed the map, nice run through the local neighborhood.”
Andrew Hedstrom said he also uses MapMyFitness while traveling, but says sometimes he opts for finding his own running routes. “The attempt is made to run, though the follow through isn’t always there,” he said.
Even if you aren’t staying at a Marriott, MapMyFitness lets you search for routes near to you that locals have posted. You can narrow it down by distance and activity, for example if you’re looking for a bike ride instead of a run.
You can also try the site’s Route Genius feature, which automatically maps out a course for you.
The USA Track & Field website also has an easy-to-use search for courses and nearby tracks.
Don’t want to leave your hotel room or AirBnB? You can try the Nike Training Club, which doles out short workout videos that don’t require any equipment. Another option is Sworkit, with no-equipment-needed strength, stretching, pilates and yoga routines. Or Yoga Studio, which specializes in yoga sessions.
Fashion and travel blogger Wiley Becker goes for a shorter option. She spends each August in the south of France, and uses the seven-minute workout app to provide the sweaty workouts she craves.
“I use it two times a day, breakfast and before dinner,” she said. The seven-minute workout app offers me a non-stop workout. I mean a non-stop work like there is no time time allowance to walk away or stop to smell the flowers. The app gives me discipline when I need it the most like in the morning. It is a great way to get up and rolling out the door.”
If you want to search out local gyms to visit, there are other options. The company ClassPass helps you search out gyms and fitness studios and buy one-time entry. A subscription of $50 a month gets you five classes a month at locations across the world.
Travel blogger Anna Rice uses the app MindBody while on the road.
“When I want to try a local class, this app lets me search by geolocation and class type, and book online,” she said. “It makes finding a local barre or pilates studio a snap. There's a ‘deals near me’ feature that's also great.”
Tara Cappel, the owner of travel company FTLO Travel, travels constantly and said she relies on the Fitbit app to keep track of her exercise.
“On my most recent scouting trip to Europe, I was traveling all over the continent for six weeks,” she said. “It’s super hard to have a regular exercise routine when you’re on the go so much so I really rely on walking to get my exercise in and the Fitbit App to monitor it.”
She said along with tracking her steps, she uses the app to see how many calories she’s burned, monitor her resting heart rate, look up calories in foods, and track her sleep patterns.
Flaherty, the traveler to D.C., said she also uses an app called Charity Miles, which allows you to choose from a list of charities and then earn money for them with every mile you walk or bike. Corporate sponsorships pay 25 cents for each mile you run and 10 cents for each mile you bike to your chosen charity. It’s like any other walkathon or charity run, but in virtual form.
“It's fun to raise money for good causes while I'm out walking or running, and it's easy to use,” she said.
Travelers have lots of options to find routes, workouts and gyms when they are on the road and in unfamiliar places. Of course, there’s also always the option to head out into unfamiliar streets and find your own way for a run or a walk.
But maybe still bring your phone so you can find your way back.