Let’s face it, whether you are traveling for fun or business, nothing can throw you off your healthy habits and normal routines faster than leaving your home environment.
Even the best plans can get derailed with a delayed flight or a missed meal. From the stress of the airport security lines to sitting in uncomfortable seats long periods to those “free” hotel continental breakfasts (i.e. coffee and carbs), your body can stiffen up and start aching and pumping stress hormones faster than a plane flies.
Your exposure to germs, junk food, late nights and stress increases when you travel but a little planning ahead can help keep your body balanced, relaxed and your immune system in full force while you venture into the unknown.
Download this free healthy traveler packing list for nutrition and exercise resources to prep for your next trip.
Here are my 6 tips for pain free, healthy traveling:
1. Eat Regularly.
If you keep your blood sugar level by eating regularly, it will help control cravings and even stabilize your mood.
It’s easy to miss meals due to delayed flights and not having access to clean whole foods when traveling. Since it’s not realistic to pack all your meals, focus on breakfast and snacks.
My favorite breakfast on the road is a protein shake and oatmeal. You just need water for both and you can heat up the water for the oatmeal in a coffee pot if you don’t have access to a microwave.
My favorite snacks to pack are protein bars, fruit and trail mix. Simple trail mix recipes are Goji berries, coconut, almonds or Brazil nuts, walnuts, cashews, cacao nibs, and Goji berries.
2. Reach for Water.
Drink as much water as you can when traveling. It’s easy to get dehydrated when traveling so take every opportunity you get to drink water.
You will have more energy and less stiffness if you stay hydrated during your trip. Avoid alcohol while you are flying as both the flight and alcohol are dehydrating. And drinking plenty of water will help you from getting backed up (i.e. constipated).
3. Stretch and Move.
Sitting long periods and manipulating luggage can leave you with achy, stiff joints and sometimes neck or back pain. When sitting a lot, try to move around every 30 minutes by taking stretch or walk breaks.
Be mindful of how you are lifting and moving your luggage. Bend your knees, keep it close to you, and try to pack less than 15 pounds in each suitcase (ask for help if your like me and can't pack light :-).
Support your low back and neck when sitting by rolling up your jacket or sweater or bring your own neck/back foam roll. Prop your feet up if possible.
My favorite tool for releasing tight muscles on a plane is to use a trigger point self-massage ball to target muscles in the neck, shoulders, low back or hips.
4. Boost your Immune System.
To combat all the germs and stress you will encounter during your travels, follow these simple recommendations to protect and support your immune system:
5. Re-energize with Exercise.
Unless you’re a pro-athlete, it’s likely that you are going to get way off your typical exercise routine during your trip. If you can squeeze in a workout at your hotel gym or outdoors, go for it, but here are some tips for those times when you have a real tight schedule on the road:
6. Find time to Relax and Sleep.
It’s common to have a jammed packed schedule when you are traveling so make sure you build in recovery time to your day. Grab a quick power nap, do some breathing exercises, prop your feet up, take a bubble bath, or soak your feet to help you recover from back to back activities. Here are some other tips for keeping calm and rested:
There is so much out of your control when you travel but mentally preparing ahead and packing some of your favorites will help you stay mindful of the healthy choices you can make while away from home.
Stay healthy and vibrant while you travel by staying hydrated, eating healthy snacks, taking stretch and rest breaks, moving as much as possible, and most importantly remembering to BREATHE!
Safe travels- don’t forget your comfy shoes!
P.S. Download your free handy packing list of my travel favorites!
Mollie Miller, PT