A lot of people ask me how to stay healthy while traveling. I mean its such a hard thing to do because you go on a vacation to relax, explore, experience and indulge in food and drinks. A lot of people gain wait after their vacation and they become stressed out. Good news is that, you can absolutely find a balance between having fun and staying healthy. Staying healthy doesn’t mean working out in gym everyday, eating salads and avoiding carb rich, fat rich foods. It’s all about finding the right balance and respecting the limits of your body.
Cultivating healthy travel habits can be contagious and can be part of your travel adventure, whether you are exploring metropolitan cities or hiking the mountains. Let me give you 7 simple ways to stay healthy while you are traveling.
1) Hydration during the trip: A lot of people love drinking alcohol on airplanes. The problem with this is that air pressure inside cabin changes all the time and the humidity inside is lower than Sahara desert. This causes dehydration and headaches. So the smart thing to do is to say no to alcohol and drink 2 glasses of water instead. Trust me, you don’t want to spend 5 or 6 hours on a tin can with headache, dehydration or sinus issues. Take decongestants if you have stuffy nose because it will get worse. Wear loose clothes if you are flying and stay comfortable.
Also, avoid eating gassy foods, like peanuts, burritos, beans etc. Gases in your stomach build up faster or expand because of the pressure difference. Trust me on this. It was embarrassing when I ate a burrito and took a flight from Phoenix to NYC. Ah, that poor old lady beside me (Probably the only time, I was glad that a hot girl wasn’t sitting next to me.)
2) Eat healthy foods once in a while: It is common for us to indulge and go crazy on a vacation, but there are times when you need to take care of your stomach and cleanse it with fresh fruit/veggie juices. My favorites are carrot, ginger and apple juice. Prevents constipation, leaves your skin healthy and you get enough vitamins. If you are close to ocean, eat seafood. Salmon, trout, mackerel, tuna, herring, sardines are all rich in omega-3’s fatty acids. They are essential for healthy heart and keep you happy. (Ever wonder why Scandinavians and Japanese people are happy and live longer?). I swear by seafood, almonds and avocados whenever I travel abroad. When you go hiking, take an apple, orange or avocado in addition to large quantities of water. Remember, always stay hydrated even if you don’t feel like drinking water.
3) Stay active, stretch yourself: Sitting on a plane, car or a bus can be taxing on your body. Your muscles may become sore from the lack of blood flow and can be annoying. Whenever possible, get up, stretch yourself, walk a bit, go to the restroom to pee or even go to the back of the plane and flirt with the air-hostesses. They love to talk!. Sometimes, I do basic yoga poses on airports if I have a lot of layover time. If you are on a car, stop often, go pee, stretch and relax for a bit.
Also, stretch your legs, shoulders and neck before you go on a hike no matter how steep or long it is. Knees can hurt you while going downhill because of all the weight you carry and your body weight. For right handers, its usually their right knee and left handers its their left knee that the problem. This is because, when you want to step off a steeper slope, you tend to use your most dominant foot. Consciously use both feet evenly while going downhill. Use Hiking poles if you still have knee issues.
4) Simple workouts: I know, I know. I am asking too much. But believe me, when your morning starts of sweaty from a workout followed by a coffee, you will feel like you can take on the world. Simple exercises like doing planks, push-up, brisk paced walks, sit ups, or any core exercises can stimulate your body and make you feel rejuvenated. They take about 10 to 15 minutes of your day. If you already have a hike planned for the day, then its fine. Try to walk if it’s nice out and get some vitamin D from the sun. If you are pasty white like some of my friends, always have sunscreen with you and apply it generously. The further north you go in latitude, lesser the production of Ozone meaning more UV rays penetrate the atmosphere and is bad for you. Same when you are in higher altitudes. The atmosphere is thinner and you get a lot of UV rays and watch out for altitude sickness. I had to chew coca leaves the entire time I was hiking Machu picchu.
5) Vitamin pills: Some of my friends have vitamin supplements while traveling. I don’t use them but I hear only good things about them. If you are not a fruit person, you need vitamins for your body.
6) Careful with tap water, uncooked/raw foods from developing countries: When you are in developing countries, be careful ordering mixed drinks in a bar, drinking tap water even eating raw foods. It’s not that they are poisonous but your body hasn’t figured out a way to fight those foreign bodies yet. Give it time and you will be immunized naturally, but don’t take these risks. You don’t want to deal with diarrhea, malaria, motion sickness, insomnia and fever.
7) Throw your phone, blackberry and iPad in the garbage: Seriously, body can only be as healthy as the mind can be. You don’t need distractions with work emails, updating Facebook statuses, posting pictures and spending time online doing the same things you do every single day. Use the internet only to do research on your trip, communicate with family/good friends and nothing else. The main purpose of travel to to disconnect from everything/everyone and have an experience that you want to remember for the right reasons.
Remember, much of the benefits you enjoy while having an amazing vacation can leave a long lasting effect on your mind and body.
Do you have more tips that you want to share? leave some comments for me!