Traveling Tips to Stay Healthy
By Dr. Nancy D. O’Reilly
more people are heading to destinations across the globe. Whether
for work or play, people are finding it easier than ever to take
that flight to Europe, or that road trip to the mountains or that
train ride to meet with a client. This on-the-go lifestyle can leave
much to be desired when it comes to health. Often, traveling means
eating greasy food when you have time, picking up germs from fellow
travelers or staying at hotels where your body hasn’t quite adjusted
to a new location’s temperature, altitude or time zone.
are easy ways to can stay fit and healthy, even while on the road.
By taking some precautions, you can reduce the strain of traveling
on your health.
the Plane: You can’t always control the weather delays or
airport cancellations, which can add stress to your trip, but you
can take some precautions to stay comfortable on the plane:
comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. You may want to bring an
extra sweater or small blanket in case the plane gets too cold.
Before your flight, try to burn off any nervous energy. Take a
30-minute walk around the airport, or if you have time before
you leave the house, take a walk around the block a couple of
Quench your thirst with water or juice, and avoid alcohol and
caffeine. The atmosphere inside the airplane is very dry, and
passengers can easily become dehydrated. When a person is
dehydrated, their blood thickens and puts them at risk for blood
During the flight, do some stretches and leg lifts in your seat.
Try small exercises like flexing and extending your ankles and
do ankle circles.
your flight is long, be sure to get out of your seat and move
around at least once every hour if possible.
your hands frequently. If you want to, carry some hand sanitizer
in your bag or bring hand wipes with you.
Your Destination: When you arrive at your destination, head to
your hotel or resort to unpack and get situated. If you’re staying
with a family member or friend, you can still use some of these tips
to be more relaxed in a new setting and more importantly, get a good
Select a comfortable pillow – but one that is firm enough to
keep your head in alignment with your spine. It may be more
comfortable for you to bring a pillow from home when you travel.
your room as dark as possible during bedtime. Use window blinds
and shades to block out light, so you can be ready to get a full
Remove any distracting noises with the steady sound of a fan or
air conditioner. Consider bringing a CD with nature sounds such
as waves or falling rain.
to maintain a bedroom temperature of 60 to 65 degrees.
a schedule to sleep at around the same time as you would
normally, to avoid disturbing your body’s natural sleep
patterns. This may not be possible for every destination, but
keeping a similar schedule as the one your body is used to can
go a long way to getting a good night’s rest and enough energy
for the next day.
Food For Thought: Eating “right” when you’re on-the-go can be
a challenge, especially with enticing foods and new cuisines. Here
are some tips you can use to avoid the fast-food trap and eat
balanced meals while traveling:
Keeping a schedule is important when you’re traveling. It helps
if you eat at the times when you would normally eat. For
instance, in some European countries, dinner isn’t served until
8 or 9 P.M.! This may throw off your appetite, and even your
sleep patterns, so you may want to try and eat at a time that is
normal for you.
Start your day off right with a healthy breakfast. If you don’t
think you have enough time, make the time! You can order room
service, or just wake up earlier than usual. Breakfast is
extremely important for keeping one’s energy up.
Worried about your weight? What matters for weight control is
how the total calories you eat all day compares to the total you
many people, traveling also means eating high-calorie “junk
food,” rather than fruit or other foods low in calories and high
in nutrients. Instead of heading to the local fast-food place
for a quick meal, pack some nutritious snacks that travel
easily. Peanut butter and crackers, fresh fruit, granola and
water bottles travel well.
Watch the amount of alcohol and caffeine you consume when you
travel. Too much of either substance can affect your body in a
negative way, including your ability to sleep well.
you must eat out, there are healthy choices available no matter
where you go. Even fast-food restaurants like McDonalds and
Burger King offer a wide selection of salads. Watch out for
things that sound healthy but aren’t. Veggies loaded up with
butter and salt or salads that come with high-fat dressings
should be avoided.
No matter what travel plans you have in the future, it is possible
to keep your diet balanced and your body fit on-the-go. Using these
tips on your next trip will help you reduce the stress of travel,
while also keeping your body as healthy as possible.
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Nancy D. O’Reilly.
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