With winter sports in full swing and spring sports just around the corner, what better time to talk about ways to stay healthy and fit while traveling. First, I think it would be beneficial to look at some common myths about why we cannot maintain positive habits on the road and then look at ways we can address these myths. Some common myths regarding fitness and travel:
– I cannot eat healthy on the road
– There are no facilities to work out in
– I have jet lag or am too tired
– There is no time
Let’s begin with the myth that you cannot eat healthy on the road. For athletes, this is especially important as peak performance can be adversely effected by just a few meals that are less than ideal. If you stay away from fast food and high fat items while at home, a burger and fries in the airport will not supply your body with the most optimum fuel that it craves. It could also guarantee that you spend more time in the bathroom than out seeing the sites! A few easy ways to fix this problem are to pack some healthy snacks in your bag or carry on. Have a meal in mind prior to (or instead of) looking at the menu so you will not be tempted. Or, you can always find healthier choices on the menus of about any fast food location now, if you are willing to look. A great resource for that is http://www.theculpritandthecure.com/ . They have many educational tools to help people when they cannot control exactly where they will be eating and options to make the best choices in these situations.
In regards to working out on the road, this is where you can let your imagination run wild! There are so many options, many quite non-traditional, that working out on the road can be more fun and enjoyable than working out at home. There are ample opportunities to sightsee with a run, stairs in the hotel that need to be conquered, rooms with furniture that is the perfect height for dips, pushups, and squats, and many hotels have embraced the traveler that craves physical activity by refurbishing old workout rooms with brand new equipment. Space should never be an excuse for not staying active on the road!
While jet lag is a real worry, there are several ways to fight back against the effects of jet lag. One is to book an early flight that will allow you time to reach your destination while the sun is out to complete some physical, outdoor activity that will help reset your internal clock and become more accustomed to the current time zone. Hydration is also another very important aspect of not feeling tired or sluggish. Remember that airplane and bus air is drier and will dehydrate you faster than you can imagine. A good rule of thumb is to consume at least 16 ounces prior to departing and at least 8 ounces every hour while traveling to avoid becoming dehydrated.
The final myth that we will tackle is that there simply is no time. While this is a valid argument, activity does not need to be completed in one big chunk to be effective. Several “mini-workouts” would serve you just as well as one long one. You can make a commitment to not take any elevators or moving sidewalks. You can decide to do a round of pushups or sit-ups whenever you enter or leave your hotel room. Or you can forgo that cab to dinner and take a stroll instead. The opportunities to stay active on the road are endless. All it takes is the choice to do what’s best for you and for your body.
We would love to hear any ideas or suggestions for how you remain active or ways to not let travel effect your level of fitness and health.
What do YOU do?!?