We all know that traveling is exciting, but it can also be stressful and detrimental to our health when we are constantly on the go. Veering from your daily routine can easily derail your health and fitness regimen; and it is easy to use “I’m on vacation” as an excuse to eat out. Certain modes of travel also pose their own risks, like airplanes and cruise ships, which can have a lot of people packed into confined spacing — making it easier to encounter germs. So, while you are traveling this summer, be sure to keep these tips in mind to help ensure you have a healthy trip.
- Sleep Tight. Traveling can drain your energy (ever hear of jet lag?). When you are crossing time zones, hopping flights and hauling luggage your body needs rest. If you are adjusting to a new time zone, try to stay awake on the first day until your usual bedtime in your new place, and then go for a full night’s sleep to quickly adjust. Adequate sleep helps your immune system stay strong and promotes recovery, so prioritize accordingly!
- Hit Pause. If you are traveling for pleasure, it is usually to unwind from the daily grind, right? Exciting destinations can bring a rush of adrenaline, but pace yourself — you do not need to pack all activities into one day. Make sure you take breaks throughout the day. There’s a reason they call it leisure.
- Walk It Out.Many destinations present walking perks. It is an easy way to take in a big city, feel the sand between your toes, hike up a mountain or transport from one end of a cruise ship to another. You will be leading your Fitbit challenge group in no time.
- Be Flexible.Airplanes are close quarters. And walking around all day can be more strain than your body is used to. Dedicate at least 5-10 minutes to stretch before and after your day of adventure. Stretching your arms, legs, neck, shoulders and back can help relax your muscles.
- Make Modifications. If you treat your trip as one big rest day, it can be hard to get back into the swing of things when you are home. It is important to keep up with your fitness regimen. Many hotels, resorts and cruise ships have an on-site gym or pool. If not, you can always work out in your room or on the beach. You can also get creative by going for a run or do pushups, sit ups and jumping jacks. Try to find healthy activities that you are excited about at your destination. For example, if you are at a beach take surfing lessons or rent a stand-up paddle board. Who knows? You might learn something new and find a new activity you like.
- Break for Breakfast. Do not skip the most important meal of the day. It provides your body with the fuel it needs to start your day. Many accommodations provide complimentary breakfast. If not, it is easy to buy a box of instant oatmeal or fruit and yogurt. You will be more energized to enjoy what your day has in store.
- Pack Snacks. Do not fall into the airport or rest stop trap! They often display a wide array of unhealthy snacks at exorbitant prices. By bringing your own food from home, you won’t leave nutrition to chance and you can avoid spending money on unneeded snacks. Make sure you check out airport rules and destination restrictions. Stash your favorites such as fruit, protein / granola bars or trail mix into your carry-on.
- Stay Hydrated. It is easy to get dehydrated on an airplane, at a hot destination or even just walking around. Always carry a water bottle with you and avoid alcohol and caffeine. Staying hydrated is key to feeling your best — your body will thank you.
- Eat Carefully. Some countries may pose the risk of traveler’s diarrhea due to contaminated food or water. Avoiding foods from street vendors, washing fruits yourself, drinking water from commercially sealed bottles and skipping ice are some of the ways you can stay cautious.
- Sanitize. When you are traveling all day, and encountering many people, public restrooms, door handles, etc. it is important not to touch your face and to wash your hands before eating. Bring wet naps and/or hand sanitizer with you.
- Shade Your Skin. Wear a sunblock with a minimum of SPF 15 ALWAYS. Remember to reapply every two hours. It is also important to wear insect repellent with DEET — especially if you are visiting an area with a large population of mosquitoes, which can carry disease.
- Plan Ahead. Depending on your destination, you may need immunizations or vaccinations — be sure to check with your doctor at least 6 weeks before you leave since some vaccines take time to be effective. It is also important to understand your health insurance benefits in case you need medical attention. Stateside? Compass Rose Health Plan members have access to a large network of doctors and hospitals nationwide. To locate one, visit our Provider Directory. Overseas? No matter where you are overseas, the Compass Rose Health Plan covers any doctor or hospital as though it were in-network — learn more.
Most importantly, enjoy your getaway!