If you’re reading this, chances are you’re already onboard with the value of regular exercise and you’ll know the importance of having a healthy routine. Now, with increased travel on the horizon, you simply need to know the hacks to stay healthy when you're away from home and your routine goes out the window.
The first thing to do is define what 'healthy' looks like when you're away. In most cases, this won't be the same as 'healthy' at home. How we live when we're traveling can be pretty unique, so your healthy behaviors might need a unique twist. If you're striving for optimal health habits or pushing to achieve new levels of fitness, you could find it tough. Experts warn you shouldn’t beat yourself up about occasionally not sticking to the plan. Science suggests that occasional non-adherence to healthy behaviors will not derail your progress. So when you’re away, be okay with good (not perfect) habits, choose a few healthy priorities and make them happen.
Get good sleep when you’re traveling
“A good sleep can help you feel sharper, more mentally focused, more alert, and in a better mood,” says sleep guru Dr. Meeta Singh. “There is a bi-directional relationship between sleep quality and physical activity – exercise can improve deep sleep and sleeping better enhances the ability to exercise the next day!”
If you can, sleep as much as possible en route to your destination (although if you’re traveling long distances by air, allowing time for in-flight physical activity is also important). As soon as you arrive, try to get in sync with the local schedule. If you’re feeling fatigued in the middle of the day, have a short nap. “Getting even half an hour extra helps, and we should never underestimate the power of a 20-minute nap,” says Singh. To make sure you sleep soundly in the evening, avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed. Research shows as little as 20 minutes of BODYBALANCE in the evening can also improve sleep quality. Discover more sleep tips.
Eat well and drink lots (of water) while traveling
BYO snacks… that’s the #1 hack for healthy travelers. When you pack your carry-on with plenty of nutritious and satisfying snacks it will help you resist the lure of other less healthy options. Avoid high-sodium snacks (to keep bloating down) and if you do go down the fast food route, try and choose something with salad. Staying well hydrated is also key, so drink lots of water. If you are drinking alcohol, aim to have alcohol-free days and keep it to three drinks or less each session.
Remember, it's okay to falter. Sticking to a regimented diet when you're away from home can be difficult – so don't stress if your nutrition is not ideal, just get back on track as soon as you can.
Choose your workouts wisely when you’re away
Whether you're on vacation or on a business trip, it's not the time to try and smash new fitness goals. Instead, embrace physical activity for its mood-boosting benefits.
"When I travel, I LOVE running outdoors because it's how I recharge. I give a lot of myself and my energy to my job, so running is what I do for me, it's my active relaxation," says Erin Maw – a fitness presenter who often travels to fitness events all over the globe.
Running (or walking) is a great option for traveling exercisers as you can fuel your fitness and explore your new environment – and you don't need any equipment. If you find it hard to get going, audio-only run workouts can provide the motivation you need. Sightseeing is not the only perk that comes from running outdoors. Research shows runners burn more calories navigating outdoor terrain than they do on a treadmill and you’re likely to train for longer (on average 30 minutes more each session) when you work out outside. To top it off, those sweating it out al fresco often report more enjoyment, greater satisfaction and an increased likelihood of making a habit out of exercise. Get more outdoor exercise inspiration here.
While a well-balanced workout regime is good, what’s more important is that you move as much as you can in an enjoyable way. Exercise should ease any stress, not cause it. So if you can, plan in advance by choosing the workouts you want to do and scheduling time for them. If finding time to squeeze exercise into your busy itinerary is too much, just have a break. The other alternative is to do a super short workout. In just 10 to 20 minutes you can tap into the benefits of exercise – there’s even a scientifically-backed formula for a One Minute Workout.
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