Summertime is upon us and with it comes lots of travel. Whether it’s a spontaneous overnight trip to the lake with your spouse or a week or a month-long vacation to a foreign country with the whole family, traveling is no excuse to interrupt all the progress you’ve made toward a healthy lifestyle. Traveling should be fun and relaxing, but it can also induce stress for those who scrap their healthy lifestyles while on vacation, then feel guilty while traveling and upon return. Here are suggestions from our health and fitness team to stay on track while you’re off the beaten path.
Exercise wherever you are.
Just because your hotel doesn’t have a gym doesn’t mean you can’t exercise. Work out in your hotel room before beginning your day by doing exercises that don’t take up a lot of floor space. Squats, lunges, push-ups, leg lifts—all of these are great space-saving workouts that burn calories and don’t require special equipment or lots of room to move around. Or sneak in some exercise while you’re out and about—take the stairs instead of escalators or elevators.
Bring the right shoes, bra, clothes etc.
Don’t get caught without the ability to exercise (and don’t let it become an excuse for not getting in that workout) because you didn’t bring the right exercise gear. Buy lightweight exercise equipment that doesn’t bog down your luggage, and you’ll be workout-ready wherever you are.
Plan activities that involve exercise.
Before you firm up your schedule for your vacation, research local activities that require a little body movement like scenic hikes, bike rides, or surfing. These fun and unique activities create lasting memories while also toning up your body.
Protect your immune system.
Limited ventilation in enclosed spaces like airplanes and cruise ships mean that any bacteria introduced into the system is likely to be spread around quickly. Boost your immune system by drinking extra water and taking vitamin C and zinc as a precaution throughout your travel to ward off the sniffles that can put a damper on your vacation.
Jet lag is real and can take a toll on your health while you travel, costing you time and energy. Prevent jet lag by choosing a flight that arrives in the early evening and then not going to bed until 10pm local time. Stay away from alcohol at least three to four hours before bedtime, as it can act as a stimulant and actually inhibit your ability to sleep. If you arrive during the day or have a long layover, try to go outside or sit near a large window that lets in sunlight, because daylight helps to regulate your biological clock.
Explore new healthy foods…and taste the not-so-healthy local delights.
Don’t abandon your healthy eating choices while you travel! However, if you want to try local fare, definitely don’t deprive yourself. In fact, traveling is a great opportunity for a little culinary adventure! Try new types of healthy food, like local fish or region-specific produce that can be found at local farmers’ markets. If you’re yearning to sample a local dish that doesn’t fall into the health-conscious category, split it with someone at your table so you’re just taking a couple bites of that cannoli, crepe, or Danish. It will satisfy your craving and make you feel like you’ve partaken in local culture without consuming an entire plate of food you’re trying to avoid.
Take some time for yourself.
Don’t forget your mental health while you travel. Sleeping on a new bed, watching your schedule and keeping plane tickets, luggage, and kids all in check can cause lots of stress during what should be a relaxing time for you. A yoga class, massage, solitary hike, jog, or even a moonlight walk around the block can provide you with a much-needed chance to relax, clear your head, and feel gratitude for everything you have.
Traveling doesn’t need to derail your healthy lifestyle. By planning ahead, maintaining an exercise schedule, and finding ways to relax, you can maintain your health-conscious patterns wherever you are. By following these simple tips, not only are you creating a guilt-free vacation, but return to your daily grind rejuvenated.