While travelling, your workout need not be restricted to the hotel gym. Anis Ramli offers several novel options
WHEN you’re in a new city, getting trapped in a hotel gym when you know a whole new exciting world is just outside the door can turn even the best workouts dreary. So why not step off the treadmill and explore creative ways to workout local style?
You may be in a strange town but when it comes to exercising everyone speaks the same language.
There will be places and corners in and around town that welcome strangers who are serious about staying fit.
Here, we stack up your options, including some novel ways where you can still work out a sweat.
The big plus is — you may even make some friends along the way.
Tip: Ask the hotel concierge to help you find local options — it’ll save you time and money.
The YMCA: Almost every country has a local Y. It’s great if you like the feel of a gym and the facilities it provides (basketball, racquetball, yoga class, zumba, etc) without the frills. Most Ys have the option to pay daily and weekly, allowing you to drop in for the length of your business travel. Some Ys even have Open Y day that gives you free all-day access to its facilities.
The community: Check out neighbourhood clubs and park activities. In Hong Kong and mainland China, for example, tai qi in the park is a common sight every morning. In Bangkok, Lumpini Park plays host to public yoga classes, but there are also high impact aerobics and even fan dancing. Elsewhere, you can find qi gong in many parks in Australia and the US. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first time — just join in and pick up a new skill. Plus, there’s nothing like getting a good workout in the great outdoors.
The library: Ask the hotel concierge to point you to the nearest library. As most hotel rooms are equipped with a DVD player, you can check out the library’s fitness DVD collection and rent it out. Besides, the DVDs can help you discover basic exercise routines you can master within the rental period.
Group effort: Here’s food for thought. Studies have shown that when it comes to exercising, group workouts produce more benefits and better results. The reason is because when you’re in a group, you will be more motivated to work out harder and push beyond your comfort zone. When on the road, you can look up a local running group you can join for free, or enquire about bootcamps and pop up fitness classes. Pop up gyms are essentially clubs with no membership plan and no fixed address. You need to be on Twitter or Facebook to know ahead of time where the next workout location would be. Again, the hotel concierge will be able to help you. Pop up gyms often have classes against iconic backdrops of the city. Move, for example, has hosted classes on London’s rooftops and gardens while KiwiSweat has conducted spin classes on the Hudson, yoga under the Brooklyn Bridge, and African Dance mixed with Kickboxing in Chelsea Market.
Trial memberships: Okay, if you really want a gym other than the one in your hotel, we’re covering this for you. Many gyms offer a trial class where you get all the benefits of membership without the fees. Call up to ask if they have a visitor’s pass for your length of stay. The Fitness First chain for example offers a seven-day pass that anyone can register online, as does Celebrity Fitness. Guests also have the option of opting for a personal training workout or a specific session such as pilates or yoga.