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For a healthy heart, I've got myself into a habit of stopping by the gym after work and using the fitness equipment (treadmill, stair machine, etc.) or using the stationary bike I have at home.

However, I'll have a vacation in the future where I'll be in a foreign city for a few weeks. I won't have access to a gym or fitness equipment. I can take a pair of running shoes, but I don't think I'd like to run in a foreign city, and I'm not much of a runner.

So, aside from running, what other kinds of cardio exercise could I do while on vacation, say, from the comfort of a hotel room? I know sit-ups are easy but could those be considered a cardio exercise?

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A simple jumping jack comes to mind... You'd be surprised how fast you can get your heart racing doing some. Only downside is your downstairs neighbors may not like the extra noise. –  KronoS Mar 2 '11 at 14:15
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Simply lend your wives Bootcamp/Cardio DVD ;-) –  Ivo Flipse Mar 6 '11 at 15:56
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I know you said no equipment, but packing a jump rope shouldn't take up too much space in your luggage and is pretty good cardio. –  RecursivelyIronic Jan 4 '13 at 8:04
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5 Answers

Because your legs are the biggest muscle groups in your body and have the greatest potential for burning calories, you need to find a exercise that primarily involves them. Walking lunges would be a good one, doesn't require much space. Although, if you're planning on doing a lot of walking I would avoid this as you can get quite sore from DOMS.

If I were in your situation, I would take a pilates DVD with me and do it. It's amazing how much you work at even a simple pilates workout.

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+1 for pilates workout –  kjy112 Mar 2 '11 at 13:56
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I would suggest that you do a bit of research (Google) before you go on your trip. You will be surprised how many cities have gyms. I have found gyms in cities like Bangkok, Cape Town, Amsterdam you name it! Also check with your hotel to see if it has a gym.

Remember that if you're going hotel chances are it will have a gym or at least a swimming pool. Swimming is a great cadio. workout and has no impact on your joints.

Or buy yourself a skipping rope - this you can do in your hotel room.

If the hotel doesn't have a swimming pool you can also swim in the sea. If you're going somewhere like Greece, there are hardly any waves, so its great for swimming!

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There are countless possibilities that use no/minimal equipment:

  • Jogging, sprinting, intervals, etc
  • Stair climbing
  • Jump rope
  • Burpees (this one will surprise you: try to get through 50 as fast as you can)
  • Tuck jumps
  • Squat jumps
  • Shadow boxing
  • Power yoga
  • Best of all: any timed circuit/interval workout. check out the Crossfit Bodyweight Workouts PDF for a great list.
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I can recommend one exercise which doesn't need much space and will work out all your muscles:

The burpee will burn the most calories in a short time, since you have to move your center of body mass from the ground up to the maximum high you can reach by jumping. Try to do 10 in a row and you will feel this is a tough exercise. Try to do 100 and you will also feel this is a great cardio exercise which will make you sweat in no time. If that is still not enough for you do burpees with a weight vest. I've never made an exercise at home that was more challenging.

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Try out Bikram yoga :) It is so much cardio that for the same amount you would have broken knees from the threadmill!

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Welcome to the site! Can you please explain more about why Bikram yoga would be a suitable cardio routine? Update your answer and elaborate more on the fundamental points of what you are suggesting. Also, please have a look at our faq and browse around the site to get a better idea of what this place is and how it works. –  Matt Chan Jan 4 '13 at 3:54
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