Stay Fit While Traveling: 8 Easy "Bus-Stop" Exercises

Bus in China
Think of how much time you waste waiting for public transport. It’s quite a lot, isn’t it? Stay fit while traveling with these eight simple exercises!

How can you stay fit while traveling? That’s a good question that buzzes through most travelers’ minds at some point. Especially those of you that prefer relaxing on a beach rather than trekking on steep mountainsides. But we have good news for each and every one of you!

The truth is that you don’t need to spend the extra time finding a gym near your hotel. In fact, you don’t even need to “waste” time from your itinerary to run through the park nearby. (Though, remember: time spent exercising is not time wasted!)

railway station

Instead, think of all the time you spend getting around. Buses, trains, planes, cars. We all wish they’d just get here faster, but unfortunately, we’re not quite there yet. Why not put that time to good use with the following eight exercises? Just note that if you’re looking to be subtle while working out at the bus stop, some of these might not be for you.

#1 Calf Raises

This one is a really simple method to stay fit while traveling between landmarks in a big city. Plus, it is infinitely more subtle in a public setting than the rest of the exercises on this list. Most of the time, people will just think you’re impatiently tapping your feet. Bonus stealth points.

While you’re waiting for public transport, do about a hundred calf raises. Just stand on your toes, hold that position, and put your feet back on the ground. Rinse and repeat for amazing advancements in calf strength and definition!

sport watch

#2 Forward and Reverse Lunges

It’s safe to say that this is where the subtlety ends, and the true workout begins. If the bus stop is not particularly crowded, and you have a bit of leg room, lunges are the perfect exercise. They even target multiple muscle groups:

  • Glutes;
  • Hamstrings;
  • Quadriceps.

Of course, your calf muscles, abdomen and back muscles will be put to work as well. If you’re carrying water bottles or soda cans, you can use them as makeshift dumbbells for just a bit more challenge.

#3 Squats

Here’s another leg-toning exercise for you to stay fit while traveling. If there’s not enough space at the bus stop for some lunges, then squats are the better alternative. Just as the former workout, squats also work on multiple muscle groups.

Not only that, but they’re a great way to fix your posture from that 10-hour plane flight or train ride. All in all, squats help build your flexibility and balance for when you decide to start mountain climbing.

a girl doing yoga

#4 Side Lateral Raises

If you’re not a minimalist backpacker who only carries around a Swiss army knife, then you probably have some amount of luggage on hand. But instead of being a burden, you can use it as barbells for some neat shoulder-defining exercises. Simply hold one bag/ backpack/ bottle/ insert item of choice in each hand, and raise them until your arms are at shoulder height. Then lower your arms and repeat for 10 reps, four sets before switching to another one of our suggestions.


As a side note, I wouldn’t recommend doing side raises if you still have to carry around your backpacks for a few hours. Not that it isn’t effective, but we’ve had friends do this and they were too shaky and sore after a few sets! You want to stay fit while traveling, not curse all the way to the hotel room.

#5 The “Dumbbell” Shrug

Don’t put your bags down just yet, we have another exercise lined up for you. The dumbbell shrug is a common gym exercise for the trapezius muscles. Of course, you won’t have any dumbbells lying around on your trip, so prepare your luggage for another turn.

The exercise is as simple as it sounds. As before, keep one weight in each hand, and perform a shrugging gesture. Raise your shoulders as far as they can go, and try not to use your biceps. You want to work your shoulders and trapezius muscles more.

#6 Pull-ups

People post quite a lot of pictures of themselves doing pull-ups at the bus stop. (Google it if you don’t believe us!) But it makes sense – the shelters are made of pretty solid metal nowadays. They can hold an average sized adult with no problem. You can also hardly find a more intense workout routine than this.


Just be sure to have someone on guard duty looking after your luggage while you work out. The last thing you want is to break into a sprint after a sticky-handed thief because you were too busy doing pull-ups. Stay fit while traveling, but don’t forget to stay vigilant as well.

#7 What about Cardio?

While all the above workouts are great for burning calories, they’re mostly aimed at maintaining muscle definition. But let’s say you want to stay fit while traveling without turning into The Incredible Hulk. As such, good old-fashioned jogging in place will do the trick for you.

watch running

If you run on a regular basis, you know that you have to stop at traffic lights once in a while. But since you want to keep that heart rate up, you need to jog in place until you can cross the road. Do the same thing at the bus stop, while waiting at the restroom, and any other place for the best calorie burn without a treadmill.

#8 Jumping Jacks

When all is said and done, jumping jacks never fail to provide a quick warm-up and calorie-burning exercise all in one. They’re especially useful when you have an early morning bus or train waiting for you. Your eyes still feel heavy and you just can’t seem to get rid of the drowsiness. Try bursting into some jumping jacks to get the blood flowing. If nothing else, it will wake up the other snoozing travelers at the station. ☺

Tell us how YOU stay fit while traveling!

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