How to Stay Healthy While Traveling
Is it just me, or don’t you just feel like you have to hit the gym and go on a diet every time you return home from a trip? It’s like you went on a vacation from everything, including your usual routine, so you feel like you have to get back to it right when you get home. To me, this was a huge issue after coming back from two big trips to Greece and Africa. I had fun, but I ate poorly, slept poorly, and didn’t take care of myself at all. It made me realize that I needed to find a way to incorporate healthy habits into my traveling schedule. So I made a list of habits and things that I thought might help and tried them out on the next few trips I took. I felt soooo much better throughout my trip (and after!) that I just had to share it with my fellow Urbanette’s!
Here are the healthy habits I (now) stick to as much as possible when traveling:
Packing Workout Outfits
This is the perfect way to make sure that you have the right mentality before you even start your trip. Many people pack by thinking of what they are wearing and when, so if you tell yourself that you have to pack at least one workout outfit, then you’ll be much more likely to find the time for a workout in your schedule. Also, packing an entire outfit with sneakers (which take up a lot of suitcase real estate, so wear them on the plane) will make you try even harder to make sure you use it. A few things that I tend to forget are hair ties, a pair of headphones and a reusable water bottle, so definitely do not forget those. You want to make it feel as much like your normal routine as possible, so make sure you take everything that you would normally use during your workout.
If you are on a beach vacation, take a swim in the ocean. Treading water alone can help you burn between 200 to 600 calories per hour, so all you need to do is jump in. Even if you’re on a relaxing getaway, try to do ten pushups, sit-ups, or yoga stretches every so often to get your heart rate back up. Little exercises here and there will help keep your metabolism up throughout the day. During my trip to NYC, I was shopping and eating the entire time, so I made sure to walk more than five miles each day to stay somewhat active.
This goes with staying active but it deserves its own explanation. Although stretching in the morning might not be apart of your normal routine, it is the best way to start a day full of activities. Your metabolism starts up and your muscles wake up after a night of sleeping. You can even stretch in the shower, while getting dressed, and in the elevator going to the lobby. Incorporating a stretch here and there will help your muscles stay warm throughout the day.
Try to eat vegan. You’ll remove the risk of getting sick or picking up a long-term stomach parasite (yuk!).
Sticking to Healthy Snacks
Temptations are everywhere, especially at the airport, but try to resist the urge to grab a bag of chips or M&Ms. Instead, grab almonds or fruit and don’t forget your big (reusable) bottle of water! Or, better yet, shop for snacks that are compact and travel well (like nuts and organic food bars) before you go so you never end up hAngry (you know, when you’re soooo hungry you get -ahem- a bit grumpy). Staying hydrated will help you curb your appetite and keep your energy up while traveling. Always opt for bottled (preferably in glass) spring water rather than fake, flavored water like Vitamin Water, which is mostly just sugar (junk food posing as healthy). Your body needs pure, unadulterated water to stay hydrated and healthy.
Eating Meals “Tapas-Style”
Many restaurants do not have a tapas-style menu, but it is easy to split dishes between your travel mate(s) and get a taste of everything. By having your meals “tapas-style”, your brain will interpret the different foods much quicker and register that you are full, faster. If your brain is concentrating on one entree, it takes longer to register fullness and you tend to eat it faster than you would a “tapas-style” meal where you need to stop and change dishes, and your brain is registering a lot of different flavors. This is a great trick for when you’re at an airport, since the food is almost always seriously unhealthy. Also, if possible, try to eat vegan. You’ll remove the risk of getting sick or picking up a long-term stomach parasite from undercooked meat (this happens more often than you’d like to know!), and it’ll leave you feeling energized, instead of sluggish and sleepy.
Cutting the Alcohol
Yes, you are on vacation, but do you really need to have five beers in one sitting? If you are trying to get that vacation buzz, try a tequila on the rocks, a gin and tonic, or a vodka soda. Much of your calorie intake (and your hangover) comes from the sugar in what you drink, so try to pick drinks with the least amount of sugar and carbs. Your body will thank you in the morning!
Taking Coffee Black (or Espresso)
Waking up to a large cup of coffee with sugar and milk may sound like the perfect way to start the day, but if you are trying to maintain your waistline while traveling, watch what you put in your coffee. A shot or two of espresso by itself is the perfect way to amp up your energy while staying healthy on vacation. If you must have milk, opt for almond, oat, or soy milk. Cow milk is inflammatory and causes your body to create mucus (yukkk!) — neither of which sound good at any time, but especially while traveling!
Next time you travel, remember to pack a workout outfit and go into your vacation with an active mindset. Stay hydrated, exchange chips for fruit, and keep your heart rate up! Just those three things alone will help you stick to healthy habits while on the road.