So I’ve just returned for a business trip to Singapore. It’s tough finding time to practice at home, and even tougher when you’re away from home. Maybe you have a small hotel room. Maybe you’re in a large city. Here are a few tips you may find helpful:
1. As at home, the toughest part is making the time. Schedule your workout time. Put it in your calendar and keep it real. The best time is at the start of your day, before you get wrapped into work and socializing after work which can often be the most fruitful part of a business trip. A focussed 15 minutes is much better than nothing, and 30 minutes is twice as good!
2. Choose the best space. If you can get to a park and have relative privacy, then consider practicing outside. I’ve had nice workouts on beaches and in parks near my hotel. Be cautious about practicing more obviously martial forms in public, as you may draw unwanted interest. But if you’re out at or near dawn, likely you’ll only meet other fitness-minded people. I often ask the hotel for nearby parks when I check in. I look for aerobics rooms (great with mats and mirrors!) in fitness centers and often move the furniture around the room to make space. If nothing else, 30 minutes of meditation, or 15 and 15 of chi kung and meditation with a bit of a warm up type stretch on the front end will really sharpen you for your day’s activities and can be done even in the smallest hotel rooms.
3. Choose the best exercise that fits the space. Ba Gua can be done in a four step circle. Wing Chun’s first form is practiced standing still. Hsing Yi was adapted to be done in a cell. Was adapted to be done in a cell. Key thought. Danny has shown me how to adapt tai chi to be done basically in place. Perhaps you can adapt your form or take pieces of it and practice in a very small place. Perhaps the change in routing and focus will teach you something new about your art. The important thing is to get good feeling from your practice. As I mentioned above, chi kung and meditation can be done in the smallest hotel rooms. Fingertip push-ups, fist push ups, crunches, stretches all can be done in your room. Stand in place and practice each kick you know 20 times with each leg and see how you feel. Try a hundred punches. Ask the hotel for a yoga mat if they don’t have a health club. It’ll keep you off that well-trodden carpet in your room. And hey, if there’s a great pool, hiking path or jogging route, break up your routine a bit and take advantage of what’s available. In Singapore, I had a very nice swim in the hotel pool just after sun up even though swimming isn’t usually part of my routine.
If you follow these three tips: schedule, find the right space, choose the right workout, you’ll find you can still practice away from home and keep yourself sharp, healthy and relaxed.