Why do I wear resistance gear when I travel?

  • Lifestyle
  • retirement
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    For some seniors, retirement means finally having the time to take care of their health and fitness, as well as having the time and resources to travel. I find it amazing that the most traveled members in my senior fitness community are well into their 70s and 80s. One of my octogenarians travels every winter to meet her children and grandchildren for a week of cross-country skiing and downhill. Oh yes, she goes skiing with her family. She says her regular workouts keep her so conditioned that she’s able to jump right in and ski all week.

    I will admit that the seniors I work with are pretty consistent in their fitness. They strictly adhere to CDC recommendations for what physical activity older adults need. That’s 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise 5 days a week, plus 2 days a week of strength training and 3 days a week of balance training.

    What I often heard, however, was that after traveling for two or more weeks, unless it was a specific fitness vacation, many older people felt as if they had lost some of their hard-earned strength and stamina. Others found that they missed their regular exercise regimen. That’s why I started focusing on how to exercise while traveling.

    Top choice for frequent travelers

    By far my favorite travel fitness equipment and I find the most practical is resistance bands, tubes or loops. They are super comfortable. They add almost no extra weight to your luggage and can easily fit in your carry-on. This makes them the perfect choice if you will be traveling to different places. They are reasonably priced, so if they get lost, you won’t feel like you’ve lost a significant investment.

    Amazon has a great selection of resistance bands in sets and they can be purchased for under $20. The best part about resistance bands, tubes or loops is that they are so flexible. They work well to accommodate any fitness level from beginner to advanced. You can train specific body parts or you can use them for a full body workout and they are incredibly easy to use and master.

    My recommendations are based on personal and customer use, safety, brand quality and price.

    Resistance bands

    1. Set of 3 Theraband strips

    Buy now $11.10

    These flat resistance bands are often used for physical therapy. They are my go-to group for frequent flyers who want to maintain their strength or maintain a regular fitness routine. They are excellent for anyone who has joint problems due to pain, lack of mobility or loss of strength. I use them in many of my classes with my senior members.

    3. TRX resistance bands

    Buy now $23.16

    These are big loops, but another trusted brand. They are heavier than flat strips and are purchased separately. Great for those looking for more resistance than they’ll get from flat bands.

    4. Foothold training

    Buy now $20

    These are the most expensive of all resistance bands. The 82-inch loop 1.5 ISO Band 41 was $20 at the time of this writing. They are a premium high quality resistance band for serious fitness enthusiasts. Bands are sold on the site only. The advantages are that they are very durable and are easier on bare skin than other types of resistant tape.

    Resistant loops

    6. TRX Resistance Band Mini Loops

    Buy now $11.96

    These are smaller 12-inch long loops and come as a set of four in varying strengths. Loops are most often used for leg exercises, but an internet search will give you creative ways to use them for upper body work. They tend to roll around during use and pull hair on bare skin.

    8. Non-slip GYMB bands

    Buy now $16.99

    The fabric construction and width of these loops keep them from rolling like the rubber mini loops. Their construction makes them less flexible and can be more difficult to get on and off around the feet. I haven’t used this brand, but it is recommended by several health magazines with a set of three under $20. They come with a carry bag, exercise idea sheet and access to video workouts.

    Resistance tubes

    9. SPRI resistance tube with handle

    Buy now $23.16

    For anyone who has difficulty gripping a flat band, SPRI also makes a resistance tube with a handle. They are purchased individually, with the lightest straps still priced under $20. They’re a little heavier than flat straps, but still light enough to not add noticeable weight to your luggage.

    Pro tip: If you have a sensitivity to latex, please read the product notes on the resistant strips carefully before buying. A pair of lifting gloves can help if gripping the flat bands is uncomfortable. Gloves are designed to protect the palms, but can also provide additional support for the wrists. There are plenty of choices under $20 on Amazon.

    Top choice for long-term travelers

    If your travels are such that you stay in places for extended periods of time, you may want equipment that provides a more intense workout. I recommend a replaceable set of resistance bands or a suspension training kit.

    Resistance tubes

    Suspension trainer

    11. TRX Go Suspension Trainer

    Buy now $99.99

    The suspension training kit weighs only 1.5 pounds. Kit includes mesh carry bag, TRX GO suspension training rope, and internal and external anchors. The TRX system is two bands anchored at the top with handles at the end to support your body weight against gravity.

    Pro tip: What is suspension training? TRX offers online exercises and on-demand classes. This system works best for older people who have a good level of strength and can support their body weight with their arms. Even on Amazon the TRX system is priced over $100.

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