June 6, 2007 11:40 AM
Lisa Ryckman on exercising on vacation
. Mark_Wolf(Q) I must admit most of the exercise I got on vacation when the boys were young was the famous "Dad Lunge." That involves driving 70 mph, reaching into the back seat and swatting wildly with your right arm as the kids stay tantalizingly out of reach. Accompanied by the warrior yell, "Don't make me stop this car!!!" I assume you have something more orderly in mind.
Lisa_Ryckman(A) Actually, that can be a great stretch for the chest if you control the swat movement just a bit.
Lisa_Ryckman(P) But seriously. After a long day stuffed into the minivan with a bunch of whiny kids, a good stretch can work wonders.
Lisa_Ryckman(P) So could a bottle of bourbon, but that's another chat.
Mark_Wolf(Q) You don't need to pack your dumbbells to stay on your fitness regimen while vacationing?
Lisa_Ryckman(A) Nah. Dumbbells weigh way too much, although they do have collapsible ones that you fill with water or sand. In lieu of that, a couple of resistance tubes pack in the bottom of the suitcase and weigh next to nada.
Lisa_Ryckman(P) Resistance tubes are available at sporting good stores everywhere and are a very cheap fitness tool. You can do strength and stretch work with them because they come in different resistance levels.
Mark_Wolf(Q) You focus on flexibility in today's Spotlight cover section. What's so important about it?
Lisa_Ryckman(A) Flexibility is the oft-ignored third spoke of the total fitness wheel. Strength and cardio tend to get all the attention, but if you're not flexible, your chances of injury increase. Range of motion is critical to just about everything you do every day, so it pays to maximize it. Plus it feels good -- as long as you stretch gently and only after a few minutes of cardio warmup. Never stretch cold muscles.
Lisa_Ryckman(P) People often complain about being inflexible, particularly men. But it's pretty easy to increase flexibility with just a few well-chosen exercises, such as the ones I demo in today's Spotlight.
Mark_Wolf(Q) What are some of the flexibility exercises you recommend?
Lisa_Ryckman(A) For starters, I think working your large muscle groups is a good idea. We're talking your back, chest, glutes, quads and hamstrings. Be careful not to overstretch -- take the stretch only as far as you need to in order to feel a gentle resistance. Never bounce -- that kind of stretching has its place, but only for elite athletes.
Mark_Wolf(Q) When say men are inflexible, you're talking physically, not emotionally, correct?
Lisa_Ryckman(P) I think men complain about being inflexible muscle-wise. I think women complain about men being inflexible otherwise.
Mark_Wolf(P) And that's another chat.
Lisa_Ryckman(P) BTW, you don't have to use resistance tubes for these stretches. A towel works, as does nothing at all. The tubing just allows you to take the stretch a little deeper.
Mark_Wolf(Q) I'll do the flexibility exercises but I don't want to lose those python-like biceps I've worked so hard to build. What kind of strength exercises can I do with the bands or with no equipment?
Lisa_Ryckman(A) When you're on the road, your best bet are exercises that use your body weight. Pushups, squats, lunges, triceps dips off a chair or the edge of a bed, and ab exercises that really work, like the bicycle exercise.
Lisa_Ryckman(P) Pushups are the king of road exercises in my book, because they hit your core as well as chest, shoulders and arms. Other core exercises are great for maintaining that sleek physique for which you are so justly famous, MW.
Lisa_Ryckman(P) When it comes to core work, the hover -- get into a pushup position but support yourself on your forearms -- is excellent.
Mark_Wolf(Q) It's hard to find a decent motel/hotel that doesn't have at least a rudimentary workout room these days. Now there are no excuses for not working out. Seems like a workout at least reduces the stress of vacationing.
Lisa_Ryckman(A) Yes -- and it might give you a break from the kids, too. Most hotels do have workout rooms, and some offer exercise tv on cable so you can exercise in the comfort of your own room.
Lisa_Ryckman(P) Here's another thought -- if you have a gym membership, you can probably use their facilities in other cities. And some health clubs that aren't chains have reciprocal agreements with similar clubs in other places.
Lisa_Ryckman(P) You doing any road trips this summer?
Lisa_Ryckman(P) If so, you might check ahead of time to see if your gym membership works on the road.
Mark_Wolf(Q) Back to Indiana where there'a fitness center at a local motel open to the public and a Curves three blocks from my parents' house.
Lisa_Ryckman(A) Love them hoosiers!
Mark_Wolf(Q) You mentioned resistance tubes as an easy-to-pack piece of gear. Any other items that fit that category?
Lisa_Ryckman(A) I mentioned the collapsible dumbbells earlier -- you can also get collapsible weight plates, so you just bring those along with a bar if you're in the car. A jump rope is a great cardio tool. And there are also resistance bands, which are more like rubber sashes, that are easier to tie and manipulate than tubes. They also come in different resistance levels.
Lisa_Ryckman(P) Thanks for the chat, MW, and happy road-tripping!