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The Hotel Room Workout: 5 Exercises When You Can't Get to the Gym

Business travel isn't an excuse to forget about fitness. Even if your hotel isn't equipped with a gym, you can still get an effective workout by using your own body weight and the furniture in your hotel room. "You really don't need a lot of room or equipment to get in a good workout," says Jessica Smith, fitness lifestyle expert and co-author of Thin in 10 (Sunrise River Press, 2012) who specializes in small space workouts.

For an effective full-body workout, she recommends a circuit of 25 repetitions of the following five exercises. While this may seem a high number if you're used to doing 12 reps on machines at the gym, Smith says "because you're using just your body weight, [it's best to] do more repetitions than you might if you were holding weights."

Smith recommends repeating the circuit two or three times, depending on how much time you have, but says even one circuit can give you an effective workout. A 10-minute workout three times a day can make exercise more manageable for those with packed schedules.
Next time you're on the road, give these exercises a try:

1. Off-the-bed push-ups.
Push-ups are great at engaging the chest and core muscles. Using the bed can make this classic exercise easier or more challenging. For those who lack upper body strength, place your hands on the edge of the bed and your toes on the floor, leaning in a high plank position for incline push-ups. For those who want a more intense workout, flip the position placing your feet on the bed and your hands on the floor for a decline push-up.

Related: 5 Ways to Sneak Fitness Into Your Day

2. Chair squats.
Standing three feet from a sturdy chair, clasp your hands behind your head and lower your body as though you're going to sit in the chair behind you. Lightly tap the chair with your bottom then use your hamstrings, gluts and core to push yourself back up into a standing position. For a more challenging workout, lift one leg off the floor for single-leg squats.

3. Hovering jumping jacks.
If you have some space on the floor, lie down on your belly and open your arms and legs into a wide X position. Extend your spine, lifting your chest and thighs off the floor. Close and open your arms and legs quickly, imitating the movement of a jumping jack. This exercise works the back, gluts, core, inner thighs, upper back and shoulders.

4. Mountain climber.
This exercise is great at engaging the core and getting your heart rate up. Place your hands and toes on the floor in a plank position, like the top of a push-up. Bring one knee up to your chest, then quickly switch legs.

5. Bicycle crunches on the bed.
Lying on the bed, with hands clasped behind your head and knees bent at a 90 degree angle, lift your upper body, twisting your left shoulder into your right knee while the left leg extends parallel above the bed, then reverse legs. "The benefit of lying on the bed versus the floor is that the bed is a squishier surface so it's less stable which means your abdominal muscles are going to work a little harder to keep you balanced during the movement," says Smith.
 
Related: Desk Yoga to Improve Your Posture

Lisa Evans is a health and lifestyle freelance journalist from Toronto.

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