Just how do you stay healthy while traveling? I am not talking about being ready for a fitness competition—just basic good health habits to avoid feeling run down and get the most from your travel experiences. It is so easy to fall into bad habits while on the road. Here are 9 tips to help keep up your energy and health.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Traveling can be stressful on your body. Crossing time zones will just add to the stress. Getting plenty of sleep is one of the most important things you can do. Your body needs enough rest to recover from your activities, the time changes and often diet changes you may experience. How much sleep is enough? Everyone is different so the best advice is to listen closely to your own body. Error on the conservative side. After traveling long distances, participating in long walks, tours, or activities, don’t be afraid to take some time for a good recovery nap. This is especially important during the time that you are adjusting to your new location.
Enjoy your destination yet be careful not to over-plan your days and activities. Don’t try and do everything all in a short period. If there is so much to do, see and experience make sure you have planned plenty of time to take it all in without overly stressing yourself. Consider staying longer or saving some activities for a return trip. Slow down and spread out your itinerary. Experience the wonders of each place without the pressure to fit everything in at a hurried pace. Be active, see what you can but pace yourself with plenty of breaks. Leave yourself some open time in your daily plans for the unexpected. And rest when you need it.
Do Some Stretching
Looking forward to a full day of activities? Take a few minutes each morning and stretch each part of your body. A five to ten-minute session of stretches at the start of your day—arms, shoulders, neck, back, and legs—will refresh you and provide a good start to the day. It’s okay to miss your regular exercise routine. After all, you are on vacation or traveling with a busy day ahead. Just take a few minutes of stretching in the morning. Also, practice stretching during the day while waiting in line, waiting for food, sitting before a show starts, or whenever a short opportunity exists. Then a little stretching right before bed helps take away some of the tension and prepares you for a better night’s sleep.
Deep breathing can be done anywhere and most any time. Take a deep breath starting with your abdomen, followed by your rib cage and hold your breath for a count of eight. Then let it out over the count of four and hold your breath for the count of eight before repeating the cycle. Just five to ten cycles of breathing in this manner will help you relax and counter any stress you may be experiencing during your travels. Traveling, or not, this is a great habit to develop and use several times each day. It will also help you stay healthy while traveling.
Walk When You Can
Get is some mild exercise by walking whenever possible. Skip the elevator and take the stairs. Walk past the closest public transportation station to the next one. Get in a few extra steps throughout the day and the efforts will reward you. Plus you will experience more of the local scene when walking rather than taking the bus, a cap or the metro.
If you are in a place with a fitness center, use it. You can always do a few exercises right in your room—things you do already in your daily life. If you exercise regularly, try to fit in some exercise while on your travels to keep up your healthy habits. Even if you did not pack exercise clothes, you can still do some in-room fitness activities such as pushups, jumping jacks, burpees, yoga, or whatever works for you. If you head outside for a run or exercise walk be sure to speak with the locals to avoid any undesirable areas.
Breakfast is the best way to set yourself up with energy to start the day. Grab some healthy breakfast to fuel your body that has been fasting all night long. It’s easy to grab some instant oatmeal and add warm water from the tap or from a coffee machine. Fruit and cereal can be found in most hotels or in nearby retail locations. Whatever you do, don’t skip this meal. At least for me, it is the most important meal of the day and provides me the energy to start out right. By keeping the body fueled appropriately you can help your body stay healthy while traveling.
Staying hydrated will make a huge difference also. Carry water with you all the time. There are plenty of water bottle options on the market. Drink enough to keep your body hydrated and your health and energy levels will thank you. Staying hydrated is the foundation of a well-functioning and healthy body. And your mom will be proud too.
Reduce Alcohol and Sweet Drinks
Both alcohol and sweet drinks are loaded with calories. Keep your calorie count down by drinking water instead. If in doubt about the local water supply be sure to find a good source of bottled water for the duration of your stay. Alcohol can also disrupt your sleep. Enjoy a drink or two based on your normal routine but be careful not to go overboard just because you are out of town. You will only regret it later.
Enjoy your travels and do what you can to stay healthy while traveling by incorporating these tips into your routine. Be wise and you will get the most out of your travels.