Whether you’re traveling on vacation or for work, it’s important to stay healthy and active. When you’re away from home and your regular routine, it takes a bit of planning. Traveling can be tough on healthy habits.
Unfortunately, there’s no quick recovery from a week of lounging by the pool or having drinks out with clients. (Research proves that weight gained on vacation hangs around for weeks after the party’s over.) So, why not maintain your healthy mindset while you’re away instead of undoing the hard work you put in the rest of the year?
Here are some ways to take care of your body (and mind) when you’re out of town:
Here are some ways to stay active while traveling:
- Start the trip off on the right foot. If you’re flying, get in extra steps by avoiding the conveyor belt people-movers in the airport. Instead of sitting around waiting to board, how about walking around to get in some extra steps. If you’re driving, be sure to stop frequently for stretch breaks and even short walks around rest areas.
- Opt to stay in a hotel that offers workout options. Many hotels have a gym or a pool on premises or nearby that their customers can use. Getting in a workout might mean waking up early to slip away before family activities and business seminars, but it will get the blood flowing (and reduce stress) for the rest of the day, too.
- Explore your surroundings on foot. Go for a long walk or get in a morning jog. You’ll get to soak in the sights while burning the calories. It can help you overcome jet lag, too.
- Take part in local cultural and activities. Attend a dance class and learn salsa or give surfing a try if the ocean is nearby. Get in the exercise while having a good time.
Here are some tips to eat well while traveling:
- Be mindful of what you’re eating. It’s easy to overdo it, especially when grabbing fast food on the road or at the airport, where we tend to underestimate just how much we consume. Unfamiliar foods can be tricky to gauge, too, so be mindful of what you’re putting into your body.
- Pack healthy snacks. It’s easier to skip the fast food on a road trip when you’ve got nuts, apple slices and celery sticks with you. Once you’ve reached your destination, if possible, pop by a local supermarket and load up on your favorite healthy nibbles.
- Make wise choices when eating out. Whether it’s a family event or a dinner meeting with an important client, you’re probably going to find yourself at restaurants during your trip. That’s fine. Just make smart choices like grilled chicken or fish with a side salad and a steamed vegetable.
- Plan for the splurges. Do you like to try the local cuisine when you’re away? What’s a trip to Chicago without sampling a deep-dish pizza, or visiting France without trying all those fancy cheeses, right? Studies show that cheat meals are fine, just plan for it so it’s a cheat meal, not a cheat week.
Here are some tips on how to do right for your mind while you’re away from home:
- Airports are stressful places. Security lines and canceled flights can raise the blood pressure in a hurry. Make use of airport yoga rooms, when available, or find a quiet space where you can stretch for five minutes to relax before your flight.
- Indulge yourself at the hotel’s spa. Whether it’s a keynote speech that’s stressing you out, or the amusement park full of overexcited kids (including your own), a massage is a great way to calm down and pamper yourself. Some hotels will let customers use the spa’s facilities for a fee where you can simply enjoy the steam room, sauna, whirlpool and other amenities to help you unwind.
- Try meditation. You have the time and a quiet hotel room. The benefits of meditation are well documented, so practice mindfulness while free from the distractions of everyday life.
- Stay grateful. Watch the sunset over the ocean or listen to the wind whistle through the trees in the mountain valley outside. Or enjoy the delight of simply being in a new place. Live in the moment — you might be somewhere that you’ll never visit again. Appreciate the opportunity to experience life away from home. It leads to a happier way of being.
To ensure your next trip is a healthy one:
- Do some research ahead of time. Call ahead to see if the hotel has a gym or a pool and what nearby restaurants offer healthy options.
- Pack with a purpose. Add workout clothes and sneakers and/or a swimsuit to your suitcase.
- Make time for you. Based on your daily itinerary, think about what times you have available to use the hotel’s gym or pool, meditate in your room, or take stretch breaks. Block these times on your calendar. The more you plan, the easier it will be to stay on track.
Don’t let your departure from home be a departure from good habits. That way, you can be healthy for good wherever you are!