It’s as if your healthy habits know the drill. As soon as you pack your bags and put on your out-of-office, all of your good intentions get ready to kiss you goodbye as you walk out the door. So what can you do to make sure your next trip is both healthy and happy?
The first step to feeling good when you're traveling is to 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 too.
If you’re striving for optimal health habits or pushing to achieve new levels of fitness, you don’t need to stick to the plan 100% of the time. 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 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, Les Mills trainer, 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 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.
What to pack for a fit and healthy trip
While you can't pack your motivation, adding a few key items to your suitcase can help make sure exercise stays on your radar:
- Sculpt bands are the perfect travel accessory. Small, lightweight and very versatile, they provide the perfect resistance for many different exercises.
- Sliders are another good travel option, they are great for dialing up core and glute activation and sparking real muscular burn.
- Don’t forget a good pair of training shoes and your favorite activewear.
TOP TIP: If you like the idea of training hard and getting hot and sweaty, pack a dry bag so you can keep your workout gear separate from your other clothing.
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 (see this checklist to assess if a break is what your body really needs). The other alternative is to do a super short workout. It only takes 10 minutes of exercise for the mood-boosting perks of exercise to kick in!
The best workouts to do while traveling
Explore LES MILLS+ and you’ll find thousands of workouts that you can enjoy anytime, anywhere. Some of the most popular options for regular travelers are:
- LES MILLS RUN™ – Jump on a treadmill or venture outside for a run, there are audio-only options for all running levels.
- LES MILLS SHAPES™ – get strong with Pilates, barre and power yoga that brings a surprisingly intense burn
- BODYBALANCE™ – build strength, find focus and create calm with a blend of new generation yoga
- LES MILLS CORE™ – build serious core strength, improve agility and speed (in a relatively small space)