Why is it so easy to deviate from healthy habits when traveling? The break from routine makes it all too simple to forgo healthy eating and fitness habits, and public transportation, new places, and exhausting schedules can make it far too easy to get sick. We know that everyone wants to stay fit and no one wants to get sick while on a trip, so we turned to our doctor network to get the best expert-approved tips on how to stay in top shape while traveling. Keep these 5 things in mind when you’re getting ready to take off on your next excursion, and you’ll be sure to have the safest and healthiest time possible without sacrificing any fun.
Sneak some exercise into your routine while still having fun.
One of the most important steps to staying healthy during travel is to make sure you’re staying active, even though you’ll be outside of your regular routine. Dr. Stephen Southard says, “make sure you optimize your activity levels ([but] this doesn’t mean you have to be in the gym).” We couldn’t agree more; vacation is the time to immerse yourself in your surroundings, to learn about the culture of the destination you are visiting, and to cherish time with friends and family over stressing about how you’re going to fit in time to hit the hotel weights or treadmill. Try these sneaky ways to stay fit on vacation that will make your trip even more exciting and fun, which also allow you to stay present in the moment.
Get outside, and know that it’s okay to not overdo it.
According to Dr. Terri Graham, “public transportation is the main source of airborne infection, so be aware of enclosed spaces and stay in open airspace as much as possible.” If you find yourself in enclosed places bouncing from place to place, make sure you wash your hands regularly to avoid getting sick. Are you tired and in need of rest? Listen to your body. Dr. Graham also advises to not “overdo activity that you are not up for.” Resting when you’re exhausted is just what your immune system needs, and knowing your limits will help you stay healthy and free of any travel illnesses for the duration of your travel.
Pack healthy, non-perishable snacks so you’re never in a pinch when you’re hungry.
Whether you have a long flight ahead or have a busy day planned to explore your destination, make sure you pack some easy, energizing snacks you can eat if you get hungry. Having healthy snacks on hand will help keep you energized, and will make it easier to make healthier choices when you’re hungry but may not be around healthy options. Dr. Thomas Rohde suggests that you pack “plain raw nuts (not roasted or salted) of the type you like. You can also add gluten-free oatmeal like steel cut and organic, [with some] dried fruit of your liking.” Oatmeal packets make a wonderful on-the-go snack, especially for an airplane, when all you’ll need to ask for is a little hot water. We also love packing nut butter packets and apples, low sugar granola bars, whole grain crackers, and these healthy energy balls.
Follow a few simple steps, and nip jet lag in the bud.
No one looks forward to the exhaustion so often associated with jet-setting to a new location. According to Dr. R. Sangal, you can avoid jet lag by “turning your watch to the destination time and behaving like you are at that time as soon as you get on the plane. Once you get to the destination, sleep and stay awake at the times everyone else does at the destination.” This will help you adjust to the local time zone as quickly possible. Dr. Pamela Pappas also says that you can also take small precautions on the flight, “such as drinking water, moving around the plane, avoiding alcohol and caffeine, and adapting to your new time zone by being in sunshine.” Jetlag disrupts your circadian rhythm, (your body’s internal biological “clock”) so exposing yourself to sunlight in the morning and using melatonin before going to bed can also help you reset your body clock as quickly as possible.
Check with your doctor to make sure your vaccines are up to date.
Dr. Tanya Russo recommends doing your research on what vaccines you need to get before embarking on your journey. If you need a resource to know which vaccines you may need, she recommends checking out this interactive website. She also suggests checking out the World Health Organization (WHO) which “also has information about current outbreaks of disease.” If you want tailored doctor advice on what vaccines you need for your destination, you can check in with a doctor here. Our doctors are available to answer any question you may have, anytime, anywhere.
Author: Maggie Harriman