Fit Travels: Staying Healthy on the Road
Americans are on the road. Whether we’re taking a family vacation to the beach or spending a few days in the big city on business, we’re traveling. Although we will research and plan everything, from making the perfect hotel reservations to developing a winning powerpoint presentation, we often slack when it comes to adhering to a healthy diet and exercise program. So how do we stick to our food and fitness routine while traveling?
The days just before a trip are crucial to our well-being. The week before you leave, make sure to get extra rest, exercise, eat plenty of nutrient-rich food and drink lots of liquids. If you stay healthy before you travel, it increases the likelihood of continuing your fitness streak on the road.
Reserve a hotel or resort with a fitness center and/or a trainer. If the hotel has both a trainer and a gym, they likely will take your preferences by email and schedule workouts at your convenience. If your hotel doesn’t have a trainer or if your budget doesn’t allow, make use of the gym’s equipment or bring easy-to-pack bands or light weights. Use exercises you already know or check online sites such as Pinterest for simple programs that pack a punch!
Use What Ya Got
We have all been guests at a hotel where the gym is the size of a walk-in closet, but don’t get claustrophobic, get clever. Watch TV or listen to your headphones to zone in on a quick workout. If you normally lace up for the treadmill, how about trying the stair stepper to get your heart rate going? Better yet, use the stairs and set small goals such as running to the top or walking up and down five flights without stopping. Try stationary cycling and imagine you are racing in the Tour de France. On good weather days, ask the front desk or concierge for the nearest safe walking path or hiking route. If you’re near the beach, use the sand to your advantage. There is no better sensation than running on the beach, and the workout is more challenging too.
Stick with the Program
Just because traveling gets your schedule slightly out of whack, that doesn’t mean your nutrition routine has to suffer. Even if you are taking a break from real life, you can’t let your diet take a vacation. Airline food usually looks small in portion size but carries its weight in calories. When making your reservations, ask for a light meal if possible. Pack easy travel snacks such as almonds, granola, string cheese and fruit. Apples and bananas are convenient, fairly durable and stay fresh for several days. When eating out, skip the urge to get fast food and sit down in a restaurant complete with a waiter/waitress and a menu in front of you. Order fresh. Anything that is fresh will look better and taste better going down. Don’t knock a good buffet, either. Pick a restaurant with many healthy items to choose from, so you don’t feel deprived if you’re watching what you eat. Just stick to the good stuff.
Nibble a small, healthy and planned treat every few hours to keep from overeating at mealtime. Restaurants are known for serving huge portions, so leave some on the plate. Try ordering an appetizer as a meal–just make sure it isn’t fried or creamy.
Travelers are susceptible to dehydration when a regular routine and normal diet are not followed. Make sure to tote a refillable water bottle on your journeys and sip plenty on long car rides, in long meetings and between meals. Fill up at the airport (after you go through security) and make sure to drink the good stuff while on board your flight as well. Drinking water promotes good cleansing too, so get your drink on!
Indulge (A Little)
Vacationing is meant to be fun and enjoyable, so an occasional indulgence in some regional fare does not mean malfunction. Even business trips are a source of change, and experiencing a new city can be intriguing and relaxing. If you are traveling to Boston, go ahead and have a taste of that crab cake or a bowl of creamy clam chowder, and if you’re heading to a state fair, let your nose lead you to the funnel cake tent. Just choose one or two treats that you know you want and eat in moderation. You will be traveling back to real life very soon.
One of the most important healthy travel inspirations is to try to keep it routine. Don’t separate vacation from at-home life. If we do that, then we may be giving ourselves permission to make poor eating choices or forget our exercise goals. By treating travel like any other day, you are bound to return home a more happy, healthy you. HLM