Going on vacation has its perks: unstructured schedules and the opportunity to meet new people, see new things and eat new foods. But, when it’s time to come home, you’re often five pounds heavier and you’ve suddenly come down with a cold.Putting on extra weight can be par for the course when you’re traveling. How can you forgo margaritas on the beach, or limit your taste buds when all you smell is the delicious cuisine of the country you’re visiting?
Similarly, watching out for germs is the last thing you want to do when you’re swimming with the dolphins or shopping at the local district shopping center. According to Philip Calder, professor of nutritional immunology at Southampton University,
So, as a passenger to greater adventures traveling, how can you make sure you have a healthy travel experience?
1.Boost Your Immunity Before You Travel. Before you jump on that plane to a far-off getaway, give your immune system an extra boost. Your immune system has to work hard all year long, but it has to work even harder when you’re on vacation. The new environment and the stress your body is under when flying and enjoying new experiences suppresses your immune response, leaving you vulnerable to sickness.
So, to prepare your body for a so-called “relaxing time,” do these simple things:
Floss your teeth. Flossing once a day can help protect you from heart disease and general colds.
Load up on your probiotics. Stalk up on yogurt, kefir, and fermented foods like sauerkraut before your travels. These food products are filled with friendly bacteria that feed your gut flora and balance your “good” and “bad” bacteria, keeping you optimally healthy.
Get a good night’s rest. It’s been shown that not getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep can weaken your immune system, allowing you to become sick during your travels. So, to stay healthy, ensure you are having a productive sleep before your trip.
2. Stay Active During Your Travels. This can be hard when most of your travels can involve sitting on airplanes, buses and on the beach. But, just incorporating more physical activities not only keeps sickness at bay, it also helps keep off any extra weight that might creep up.
To add exercise to your travel plans try:
Staying at a hotel that has a fitness center. You will be more inclined to jump on the treadmill for 20 minutes before you go sightseeing.
Walk as much as you can. Spend the day hiking and enjoying the beautiful scenery. Or, head to the heart of the city and enjoy the attractions on foot.
Elevate your heart rate with some plank exercises. Plank exercises use your whole body, giving you an easy way to get your exercise in for the day.
3. Make Sanitizer Your Best Friend. Travel destinations are usually full of people; not everyone washes their hands after they use the bathroom. So, to make sure you lower your chances of getting sick, pack or buy some hand sanitizer to use throughout the day. It’s also a good habit to wash your hands after coming home from a day of shopping or sightseeing. Other times you should use hand sanitizer are:
After you put your luggage away. From your home to your travel destinations, many people have touched your luggage. Better be safe and sanitize after you unpack.
After you leave public transportation. Whether you just finished a ride on a bus, train or taxi, give your hands a squirt of sanitizer. These modes of transportation are harbingers of germs.
After you go shopping. Many people before you have touched the same sundress or trinket; once you have left the store, make sure to
4. Stock Up on Healthy Snacks. When you’re pressed for time, it’s tempting to eat the hotel’s breakfast or to pick up a burrito on your travels. But, if you don’t want the extra bulge around your waist, make it a habit to visit the local grocery store and pick up some healthy snacks during your stay.Some great foods to have handy are almonds, yogurt, fruit and fixings for a salad. Buying your own food also saves you money; having to buy 3 meals a day can become expensive.
5. Be Flexible. Let’s face it, things don’t always go according to plan when you travel. Anything from delayed flights to overbooked hotels, traveling can be stressful. But, don’t let the negativity ruin your health. The Global Commission on Aging and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, in partnership with the U.S. Travel Assn., has shown that when you travel, you have a lower risk of heart attacks and depression. Incidentally, traveling even promotes brain health.
So, for a healthy body and mind, be flexible and adaptable during your trip. If you can’t find any healthy eating options, it’s okay to eat unhealthy once or twice.Or, if you have a little too much alcohol to drink the previous night, re-hydrate your body the following day. Finally, if you don’t have time to do a complete workout, you can get away with fitting in 5-10 minutes of physical activity.
So, don’t let your next travel trip leave you with the flu and without any clothes that a fit; doing these five simple tips can help you stay healthy when traveling.