Staying Fit While Traveling
Whether you’re driving on a road trip, taking a train to a new city or flying in an airplane to another continent, here are some tips how to stay fit
“ I’m on vacation.” I have said this to myself so many times over the years while traveling, attempting to justify why I’ve settled on exercising when I get home or ordering a chocolate flake to go with my vanilla ice cream. But as I get older and travel isn’t just for pleasure, I’ve started to realize that being on the road isn’t an excuse to not stay active or to make bad food choices. Whether you’re driving on a road trip, taking a train to a new city or flying in an airplane to another continent, here are some tips for how to not let yourself (and your family) go while you’re on the go.
On the way to your vacation location, humidity in an aircraft cabin falls around 20 percent, which causes dry eyes, a sore or dry throat and nose. Plus, it’s uncomfortable. The best thing to do is avoid alcohol, coffee and tea and ask for water when the flight attendant comes around with drinks. Dehydration doesn’t just cause thirst. “Dehydration due to airline air is a major cause of fatigue, and fatigue gives you a reason to eat,” says Dr. Pamela Peeke. Drinking 8 ounces of water before your flight as well as during will help combat the dehydration and thus also keep fatigue and hunger at bay. Once you’ve arrived at your destination, it might be tempting to reach for a coffee (especially if you just took the red-eye), but grab a water and you’ll thank yourself later. You might also be tempted to order a fruity cocktail if you’re lounging on the beach, but sun and heat plus alcohol causes quicker dehydration. Water is always the way to go. Children can become dehydrated more quickly than adults. With this in mind, keep an extra eye on the amount of water your children are drinking as you’re getting to or in your destination.
Make Healthy Food Choices
Flying, driving or sightseeing – no matter what you’re doing on your trip, you have to eat. It’s hard when you’re out of your comfort zone to make healthy food choices. Hard, but not impossible. When picking out something to eat, pretend you’re at your home. What would you choose there? What would you feed your family? If you’re getting ready to board a train or flight, avoid high-sugar, high-carbohydrate foods since they don’t provide the best nutrients and, even worse, won’t fill you up. Avoid salty foods, sugary sweets and carbonated sodas. Carry-on rules are typically strict when it comes to liquids, but there’s nothing wrong with packing a salad, sandwich or a healthy snack as you travel. Children might want to snack more frequently than adults, so packing plastic zip-top bags with snacks like cereal, apple slices or pretzels would be a great idea to keep them satisfied. If you’re in a new city, don’t be too surprised if you find a supermarket (yes, everyone around the world shops for food!). Rather than always eating breakfast or snacks at a bakery or cafe, stock up on fruit and healthy items to have at these meals. If where you’re staying has a refrigerator, that’s even better. In the end you will be saving money and eating better. If you go out to eat at a restaurant, you may be tempted to splurge (the phrase “I’m on vacation” comes to mind). And that’s okay! But try not to order the cheesy appetizer with the fried main course and the dessert with heavy cream. Indulge wisely.
Make room in your suitcase for sneakers – and use them. If your hotel has a gym then great, your workout routine will definitely not suffer. Especially if you’re traveling for business and stuck in a conference room or office all day, make time in the morning or evening for some light cardio, just like you would do at home. Even ten minutes to get your blood pumping is worth it. It’s best for your body if you can stick to your home exercise routine while traveling. If there’s no gym at your hotel, there are still plenty of things you can do to exercise that don’t require machines:
- Go for a long walk or run: If there’s a river or a beach, walk along that. You’ll get to explore where you are while exercising
- Stretch: Especially during and/or after a long flight, make sure to stretch out your arms and legs after being cramped in a small seat for an extended period of time. Pulling your suitcase can also be tough on arms, so once you get to where you’re staying, light stretching and yoga positions (like downward dog and child’s pose) will keep your muscles from getting stiff
- Make use of your space: Move your suitcase to the side and use that space to do jumping jacks, squats, lunges, push-ups and planks. It’ll be like your own fitness class in the comfort of your hotel room
Activity is best for children no matter where they are, so being on vacation should be no different. If you’re with your family, make it fun to go by foot to exciting landmarks, walk on the beach and look for seashells or climb lots of steps to see a beautiful view. The most important thing to remember while you travel is to not stress and have fun. Also, take pictures!