Summer is a popular time to plan relaxing vacations and long weekend getaways. Having an inconsistent schedule can take a toll on your exercise routine, which may impact your physical health. However, you can still squeeze a great workout into your day with resistance bands, an inexpensive ($5-10 at most sporting goods or department stores), easily portable, and highly effective strength training tool that can be packed in your bag for exercising on-the-go. Here are some simple, effective resistance band exercises to try while you’re on vacation, relaxing at home, or in your office. Remember, before starting any new exercise routine, be sure to talk with your doctor if you have any concerns or chronic conditions. And, if the band or tube has nicks or small tears, throw it out and get a new one.
Tube Walk: Stand in the middle of the band with feet shoulder-width apart, holding one end of the band in each hand. Cross the band in front of your body (making an X) with your right hand by your right hip and left hand by your left hip. Keeping your back tall, feet parallel, and knees straight, take a small step to the right with your right foot. Step your left foot to the right, bringing feet back to shoulder-width distance. Step to the right 10 times then switch to the left.
Lateral Pull-Down: Stand with feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart, holding one end of the band in each hand, arms by your sides. Lift your arms overhead, pulling the band tight, and point your right toes out to the side. Keeping your left arm still, engage your side abdominal (oblique) muscles, pull your right elbow down to your side, and lift the right knee to meet it. Extend your right arm and leg without touching your toes to the floor. Do 10 reps, switch sides, and repeat.
Rotating Lunge with Bicep Curl: Stand in a split stance with your right leg forward and left heel lifted. Place the band under your right foot and grasp each handle. Bend your legs so that your right knee forms a 90 degree angle (making sure your right knee is in line with your right ankle, not your toes), and your left knee is about an inch off the ground. Keep your elbows in line with your body and curl the band up toward your shoulders. Return to the starting position. Do 10 reps on each side.
Resisted Pushup: Grab one end of the resistance band in each hand and stretch it across your upper back/shoulders (the band should be under your armpits). Get into pushup position with your feet together, holding the ends of the band in place with your hands. Lower your body to perform a full pushup. Aim to work up to 15 reps.
Lateral Row: Seated on a chair, place the resistance band under your feet and grasp each handle. Engage your abdominal (stomach) muscles and bend forward from the waist until your back is parallel to the floor, releasing your arms down toward the ground. Pull the handles upward, drawing your shoulder blades together and your elbows toward the ceiling. Slowly release back down to the start position. Keep your abs engaged to protect your lower back. Do 10 reps.
Shoulder Raise: Seated on a chair, place the resistance band under your bottom or under your feet and grasp each handle. Sit tall with your abs engaged and arms slightly bent at the elbows. Lift arms up to shoulder level and slowly release back down to the start position. Do 10 reps.
This information provided by the Group Insurance Commission.