Travel Fitness: Hong Kong & Malaysia

stairs The two most difficult times to stay in shape (for me) are traveling and holidays. Do you agree? I just got back from a two-week trip to Hong Kong and Malaysia and man, it’s really hard to maintain a routine while exploring new horizons!

Many hotels have an in-house gym, but when you’re in another country, do you really want to spend an hour indoors, confined to a treadmill? Usually the answer is no. Now, for me, I was lucky enough to stay with my friend’s family, which meant early mornings of eating, followed by long days of sightseeing and more EATING (and no gym included). I couldn’t turn down the delicious food and I also couldn’t skip off to the gym.

Lucky for me, Asia is filled with a lot of stairs and hills, which make for a nice fitness playground. Have you ever seen an amusement park in America with huge hills, escalators and stairs…on top of mountain? Well, Hong Kong is filled with settings of this nature, so I couldn’t get away from a little bit of exercise each day (translation: eat more wonderful food!). I've found that the easiest and most effective travel exercises are lunges, walking and push-ups. Also, abs, but with hardwood floors, this wasn’t attainable for me on this trip.

Stair Lunges For a great workout to strengthen your quads, glutes and hamstrings, try using stairs outdoors (or indoors, if your hotel has more than four floors)! I found a great hill near the apartment complex I stayed at and started with three stairs at a time for around 75 stairs. Remember, walking lunges, in addition to the incline, are more difficult and require more stability than a typical lunge. Perfect!

Execution Start at the bottom. Take a step up with your right foot to your destination stair (start with two stairs). Then complete the lunge. While keeping your balance (tighten your core!), take your left foot and go up another two stairs to complete the left side. Keep switching off until you reach the top! You can do this on the subway stairs, hotel stairs, bleachers, or really anywhere that has a long flight of stairs. And always remember to refuel with water, especially in hot and humid climates. Once you master two stairs, try for three (three is the max for me, given my height!) Remember! Maintain good posture throughout movement Contract back glute during stretch Do not let front knee slide past foot Do not let back foot touch the ground as you step into next lunge Keep chest up as you step

When you incorporate a quick and effective workout into your sightseeing, you can be unexpectedly sore. Even though I was walking around 3-7 miles per day,  I was definitely sore from my lunges - I consulted my fellow traveler and her buns weren’t sore, so yay for stair lunges!  I also did around 20 push-ups every two or three days and upon my return to the States, I didn’t feel as though I skimped out on my workouts! Try incorporating a workout into your next travels and let me know your stories!