Tone While You Tan: Beach Blanket Cardio

beach towelI'm famous for packing my workout clothes on vacation and then using them once, if that. I get into vacation slug mode and maybe muster up one or two run-walks or visits to the hotel gym.

But maybe you're like some of the people I've vacationed with, who are excitedly hitting the road first thing in the morning and avidly keeping up with their exercise program. If that's you, more power to you! And even if you're not, I found a cool LA Times story about a workout even my vacation-lazy self could do. It involves using a beach towel for a circuit workout.


New York-based personal trainer Sara Haley devised this workout because she and her clients travel a lot and decent gym equipment can be hard to find. It can be done anywhere you have a little room to move, and doesn't need any special equipment, even shoes or workout clothes (this can easily be done in anything that gives you freedom of movement).

Her workout involves running and hopping over the towel along its length for cardio, and using it like an exercise band for behind-the-back triceps pulses and a yoga move called Moving Tree. Go to the LA Times site for the whole workout.

I've used a beach towel as a yoga mat for early-morning yoga with a friend on a beautiful Lake Michigan beach -- yoga, in general, is a travel-friendly exercise and great for working out the kinks from a long car trip or plane ride. There are tons of free apps for your smartphone to demonstrate poses and even lay out whole practices as well.

I know other people who swear by those stretchy exercise bands (and I, or rather my screaming-after-exercise-class triceps, can attest to them delivering a good workout if used properly). 

As for me, I live in a very car-dependent area and often find myself walking a lot more on vacation, whether it's the small beach town my family loves to visit or a major city with lots to see and do en route to just about any destination. Just simply upping your activity from home levels can at least maintain your fitness level and ward off weight gain from any vacation excesses.

What's your favorite way to maintain fitness on vacation?

Image via procsilas/Flickr

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