HEALTHY CHOICES, HEALTHY LIFESTYLES BY BARBARA B. MINTZ, MS, RD
Stay active when you are traveling! It is a good way to stay on your fitness track and it can help you connect with the local culture.
It’s the time of year when people are traveling more. Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, it can be difficult to keep to healthy exercise and diet behaviors. It’s easy to fall into the trap of high calorie meals, very little exercise and less sleep because you are not in your usual routine, and you are busy at your job, or enjoying your vacation. There are easy and affordable ways to stay focused on your health when you travel. Here are a few hints…
Eat healthy when you are away from home. Do your research! Knowing where the healthy stores and restaurants are will help you stay focused and keep you on track. Make a list of healthy items to include in a shopping list if you are staying in a efficiency hotel . Find the restaurants in the neighborhood and look up the menus. And remember you don’t have to deprive yourself. Try new foods and dishes, especially if you are in a new country or region. If you do have access to a refrigerator, keep healthy snacks and breakfast foods available. This may help you save money and avoid as well avoid unhealthy, processed foods.
Before you go be sure make sure you check out the rules of you hotel and the airports you will be using. Also be cautious about traveling with fresh fruits, vegetables or meat and dairy products as there are many restrictions about bringing these into other countries. You will need to declare any food products you may be carrying when you arrive. It is also a good idea to pack some protein bars or nuts in your suitcase just in case you can’t bring them into your destination.
If you have allergies or food sensitivities, planning ahead and doing your research is particularly important. Bring a card that lists your dietary needs in the local language. You can also bring a dictionary and mark the pages that have healthy food choices that you want and the ones you don’t want. This will help you better communicate your needs and prevent errors if you are not proficient in the language. The last thing you want is to have to communicate symptoms of an allergic reaction in a language that is not your own!
Stay active when you are traveling! It is a good way to stay on your fitness track and it can help you connect with the local culture. Mingling with the community that you are traveling in is a great way to learn new things and stay inspired. If you are a gym rat, find a health club that will allows free day passes or has promotions for out-of-towners. If you don’t have access to a fitness center you can still stay in shape. You can get in a good workout just about anywhere by combining things like pushups, sit-ups, squats, and sprints! You can also bring some resistance bands or a jump rope if you don’t have access to a gym. You can also go for a walk or jog through town climb the stairs of your hotel or take a walk in a local park. Walking daily is a good way to exercise and sight see. Also, remember to pack gym gear so that you have no excuse not to exercise.
Keep hydrated. It is important to stay well-hydrated when you are traveling. It keeps you feeling your best and helps keep you alert. It also helps fight hunger. The first symptom of thirst is hunger and many people eat when all they really needed was a glass of water. Flying can be very dehydrating and add to fatigue and jet lag. Pack an empty water bottle while flying that you can fill up once you’ve passed through security. If you are headed somewhere hotter or more humid, or at a higher altitude than your usual climate, make sure to drink extra water.
Prevent Jet lag. You can diminish the symptoms of jet lag by staying hydrated while you fly. When you get to your destination, try to get at least seven or eight hours of sleep every night while away. If you are adjusting to a new time zone, try to stay awake on the first day until your usual bedtime. It will help you get a full nights rest when you finally do get into bed for the night. Adequate sleep helps strengthen your immune system and help you restore and recover for the next day. You want to feel you best when you are on a business trip or on vacation.
Don’t forget to pack any medications you take normally. This includes vitamins and supplements as well. It is always a good idea to keep a list of these items in your suitcase and wallet in case of an accident. Also, a small first aid kit in your suitcase is always a smart thing to add to your packing list.
Whether you are traveling alone, with friends or with your family, health and wellness begins with just a little planning and research. Have a safe and healthy trip! •