5 Exercises You Can Do in a Hotel Room

I got a lot of great responses to my health comments in the newsletter and was real excited to have Jason Van Sant do a write up on exercising while on the road. Hope you all enjoy it and thank again Jason!


We all know that working in video production often requires a fair amount of travel, which results in long work days, a lack of sleep, eating poorly, and not exercising. Carrying on this lifestyle for an extended period of time can end up causing illness, fat gain, and numerous other health problems. In this article I want to give you some tips for improving one of these areas: exercise.

To start, I first want to mention that while exercise is definitely important, it is not the only solution to generating good health. Eating right and stress management are just as vital, if not more so.

So what are some things that you can do to stay active on the road?

Walking – Going for a 20-30 minute brisk walk is more beneficial than you might think. It gets your entire body moving and also allows you time to clear your mind. If you feel ambitious, fill a backpack with weighted items and wear it while you walk. Carrying weight while you walk automatically engages the muscles in your core to keep your body stabilized. Also, allow your arms to swing naturally as you are walking. The contralateral movement of our arms moving opposite of our legs is very beneficial.

Climbing the stairs – If it is raining outside or there isn’t a safe place to walk near your hotel, find the stairs and walk up and down them for 15-20 minutes. Again, those of you feeling ambitious can strap on a weighted backpack for an extra bonus.

Exercises in your room – Below is a list of 5 exercises that you can do in your hotel room without the need for extra equipment. You can even do these exercises in your regular work clothes. I also created a short video to demonstrate and give information on each of these exercises: https://youtu.be/Eq2_TphH5fA

  1. Marching – Sounds strange, but marching in place has many benefits. It elevates your heart rate, works your glutes (butt), and offers that same contralateral movement that walking does.
  2. Plank – When done correctly, the plank works nearly every muscle in your body. You can do the plank on the ground or standing. I explain all of this in the video.
  3. Chair squats – Not everyone is able to do squats, but more people than not are able to sit down in a chair. Chair squats force you to engage your abdominal muscles and drives your hips back taking the pressure off of your knees.
  4. Push-ups – Most of us have done push-ups before, but when applying the same body tension as the plank while doing push-ups you will recruit more muscles in the body.
  5. Breathing – What? Are you serious? Yes. The majority of adults in our society do not breathe the way our bodies were designed to breathe. Don’t believe me? Look at your chest and belly as you inhale. You will probably notice that your chest rises as you take that deep breath. Now watch an infant breathe. Their little bellies go up and down as they breathe. This is called diaphragmatic breathing. As we become sedentary and add daily stresses to our lives, we end up operating in a fight or flight stage where our breaths become short and shallow (chest breathing). There are numerous benefits to practicing diaphragmatic breathing.

Here is a short workout that you can do with these exercises:

– Breathing: 10 full diaphragmatic breaths
– Marching: 30 seconds – rest 30 seconds
– Plank: 30 seconds – rest 30 seconds
– Chair squats: 5-10 controlled squats – rest for 1 minute – Push-ups: 5-10 – rest for 1 minute

Repeat this circuit for 3-5 rounds.

As you can see from this list, I tend to lean toward exercises that recruit several muscles in the body as well as exercises that are functional to everyday life. I hope you find these helpful as you strive to keep moving while you are on the road.

Jason Van Sant is a Video Production Coordinator at Duke University as well as a freelance videographer and editor. Outside of production, Jason works part-time as a Russian Kettlebell Instructor (RKC) and coach with the Original Strength movement restoration system. Jason resides in Chapel Hill, North Carolina with his wife, Cristy, and daughter, Sophie.

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