It’s a No-Wheels Travel Bag For Me!

Carry heavy to maintain strength. How no-wheels travel bags can give you a freebie strength workout.

While muscles are aspirations for some of us, it's your strength that really matters when it comes to functioning well as we grow older. We need to switch focus from mirror muscles to functional strength, flexibility, and balance. 

Each decade from the age of 30 we lose 3% to 5% cent of the muscle mass. Flexibility also decreases through the shortening of both muscle and connective tissue.Not enough people realise the need to maintain strength as we age. Cardio workouts alone, is not enough.

The NHS suggests we exercise with weights, or lift and carry heavy loads twice a week. But not many of us are disciplined or have the time to do that. For those of us that are so, lean thinking teaches us to find ways to do less to get more in return. In this instance, instead of a workout, there are many everyday activities that we can schedule and incorporate into our daily lives, giving us a reasonably good strength workout e.g. taking the stairs (core strength), carry heavy groceries (instead of online shopping), gardening, car washing, snow shoveling etc.

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So how can this be translated to travel and luggage you ask? What better or more needed opportunity to incorporate some doable but yet heavy duty strength training then when on holiday (or business travels), when any routine of healthy living is thrown off kilter?

Not many people prefer using travel backpacks. Most people are the “anything to make life easier” kind. Anything that helps us save cost, time and effort. But in this case, time, effort and motivation to keep fit and maintain strength during travels. Who knew a travel backpack can do that?!

How to get a good strength workout from carrying a no-wheel travel bag.

For those of us who train with weights, will know that lifting and carrying is very different and uses different movement patterns and muscles. Carrying heavy is more work and requires a lot more effort than simply lifting a bar up and putting it back down. You’ve got to exert yourself for a much longer time period. Carrying heavy loads strengthens everyday functional movements that enable you to e.g. carry your kids and heavy groceries, move cupboards, lift heavy boxes, hoist bags of compost into the car etc. It builds strength of multiple parts of your body giving great all-round conditioning.

Carrying a no wheels odd shaped travel bag works your body harder and forces you to get into the habit of doing some inevitable strength training using the following exercises, which are functional core stability workouts. These exercises forces you to work extra hard to stand up straight while walking. It works towards a stronger and tighter core through full body exertion.

1.    Unilateral Carry - Carry the travel bag like a suitcase with one hand

2.    Bearhug Carries - Hug the bag tightly around your chest 

3.    Over-Shoulder Carry - Hoist the bag over one shoulder 

4.    Fireman Carry – Lift the bag over your head and onto your shoulders

5.    Rucking – Military speak for simply wearing a heavily loaded backpack

The following should not be too taxing as a carry-on bag should weight not more than 10kg. Walk as far as you can for 30 seconds (or longer depending on individual levels of fitness and goals). Switch hands/exercises for another 30 seconds. Keep switching and carry on until passport control and repeat until the next stop and the next, and the next, and the next...