13 Feb Best Ways to Stay Healthy on the Road
When you’re traveling, it can be hard to keep to a health and fitness regimen. You get tired from traveling and it just seems easier to eat something convenient or skip your workout. This can be disastrous for your health, because once you get back home, it’s hard to get back into your routine. In addition, playing fast and loose with your health on the road can make you more susceptible to things like the “crud,” a general term for the illnesses you can pick up on cruises, airplanes, and other places where you’re crammed in with strangers. The crud can be anything from a nasty cold to a stomach virus. It’s bad enough bringing sickness home, but it’s even worse when you’re supposed to be on vacation or on a business trip and can’t get out of bed. However, it doesn’t have to be like that. With a little planning, you can still stick to your program and not be laid out by a stranger’s sickness. Here are some tips to help.
Don’t plan to fail: We’ve all heard that that’s the end result of a failure to plan, so let’s not do that. Make it as easy as possible for you to stick to your routine. For example, if you take vitamins or other supplements, take them with you. If you don’t already have one, get yourself one of those daily pill containers. If you’re staying less than a week, then you’ll have all your supplements in one handy container without having to drag along bulky individual bottles. [Note: It’s best not to travel with prescriptions this way, as those in positions of authority, like law enforcement or the TSA, tend to prefer (or require!) prescriptions be in their original containers.]
Do this for everything–any pitfalls you may face when you’re traveling. There may be unforeseen events that get in the way of your achieving your goals, but at least you’ll know that you are not the biggest obstacle in your path.
Get a move on: As tempting as it is to take it easy when you’re away from home, don’t fall for it. Not only will it make it harder to get back to it when you go home, as we’ve discussed, but it will also stunt the progress you’ve made so far. Think about how much better you’ll feel knowing that you’ve gotten in your workouts even while you’re traveling.
Part of keeping to your routine is the same as in the first step: you must plan to stick to your plan. You don’t have to pack a week’s worth of workout gear and lug along your gym bag, but you should at least pack your sneakers. Make them the first thing you pack or, if you’re pretending you don’t have room, wear them while you travel. If you work out first thing in the morning, keep to that routine and lay out your sneakers and exercise clothes before you go to bed.
You might be staying at a hotel or other accommodation that has a gym or workout room in-house, which will obviously make getting in your workout even easier. However, if you don’t have access to those kinds of facilities, your hotel may have an agreement with a local gym for free or reduced-fee day passes. If you don’t have that either, you can always do bodyweight work in your room (or out of it). At the very least, you can likely go for a run or brisk walk, depending on your fitness level.
Take out the garbage: One of the biggest temptations when you’re traveling is to throw caution to the wind and eat like you’re a condemned man (or woman). There are obvious reasons why you should try to avoid this, but that doesn’t mean you can’t indulge a little. However, think carefully about how you indulge. Don’t blow your diet and all your hard work on a dirty water hot dog or some fast food you could get on your own block. Try to make it a special occasion, as that will decrease the likelihood that you gorge yourself at every meal. After all, wouldn’t you rather live a little with a special dessert or an entrée that only that one restaurant makes than with a sad burger you could get almost anywhere?
And what about you’re actually literally traveling, like when you’re at the airport or in the car? Don’t go for the fast food or the candy bar at the gas station or pay a fortune for a microwaved meal at the terminal. Plan ahead, as you’re already doing and pack some healthy snacks. Think pre-bagged nuts, lean dried meat bars, or vegetable sticks with hummus. [Note: Again, if you’re going through airport security, be sure to carry foods in their original, unopened packaging and better yet, check the current safety rules for what’s allowed.]
Take a load off: Just as when you’re home, it’s important to get enough rest. This can obviously be a challenge if you’re jetlagged or busy with meetings or sightseeing. However, it’s vitally important that you get enough rest. Sleep deprivation can make you weaker, making you easy pickings for any illness-causing germs you encounter. In addition, it’ll definitely be harder to get up the motivation to exercise if all you want to do is draw the curtains.
So get sleep when you can. Try to go to bed early enough so that you get the amount of sleep you need, whatever that means for you. And if you’re still tired the next day, take a break and take a nap. It’s not as great as getting your full eight (or six or whatever works for you) hours, but it’s better than nothing.
Taking care of your health when you’re away from home can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be an insurmountable one. Putting in relatively the same amount of time you spend planning your trip on planning to be healthy goes a long way. And you’ll feel much better when you get home from your business trip or your vacation and you don’t need another vacation.