It’s hard enough to eat healthy and stay fit this time of year with holiday parties and tempting goodies everywhere you turn. Add a packed schedule, stress, and travel to the mix and you’ve got a recipe for diet and fitness disaster!
December and January are some of the most popular months to travel, visit friends and family, and take advantage of a little time off work and school. However, they also tend to be the unhealthiest months of the year, at least until those New Year’s resolutions start kicking in.
But your health is too important to wait until January 1st rolls around. And going out of town is no excuse to put wellness on the back burner. Here are some tips for staying healthy and fit while as you hit the road and travel this season and all throughout the year.
Walk To Explore New Places
If you only see new places from the window of a car or bus, you’re only getting a taste of what they’re all about. Invest in some ultra-comfortable walking shoes and hit the pavement to get active and an up-close perspective of your destination. You can also pick up the pace and go for a jog to burn more calories and still take in all the sights and sounds around you. Check out local parks and trails to get your workout in and connect with nature. This is a great way to incorporate healthy habits into your itinerary.
Rent a Bike
To cover more ground in less time, look into renting a bike when you arrive at your destination. Biking is great exercise and gives you flexibility in your travel plans. Look for local rental shops and rent out a bike for a few hours, a full day, or for multiple days. Lots of cities have bike share programs these days too. Some hotels and hostels actually rent bikes out to guests for free or discounted rates, so ask about rental opportunities when you check in.
Shop at Local Grocery Stores
Chances are that you don’t eat out every single meal when you’re at home, and there’s no reason to go huge restaurant binge just because you’re traveling. While you’re out and about on your walks or bike rides, scope out local grocery stores and markets that you can shop at while in the area. Stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as local specialties that you might not have the opportunity to buy in your supermarket back home. Then pack picnic lunches to take with you for healthy and affordable meals.
Choose Accommodations that Have Kitchens
Some grocery items you find will likely require refrigeration, so it’s easier to stick to a grocery shopping plan if you have a place to put your groceries. You may also want to choose accommodations that give you access to a stove, oven, microwave, dishes, and utensils. Extended stay hotels and hostels are often good options for cooking your own meals.
Scope out Restaurant Menus in Advance
But of course you won’t want to miss out on amazing restaurants too while you travel. An occasional splurge meal while traveling is totally fine, but just don’t make every meal a splurge. These days, many restaurants publish their menus online, so take a look at the offerings to determine how healthy the options are before you walk in and get a table.
Do Core Exercises
One of the best ways to stay in shape while traveling is to focus your workouts on core exercises. Everything stems from your core, and these types of exercises can be done essentially anywhere. Practice variations of plank exercise to work your abs, upper body, lower body, and boost your heart rate. Start with plank jacks, which involves holding a plank position and jumping your legs apart and back together. For an extra challenge, add a pushup in between each one of your plank jacks. Then move on to running planks, where you alternate your knees towards your chest while holding a plank position.
Bring Workout Gear with You
No, you can’t bring you treadmill and set of dumbbells with you when you travel, but there are other types of workout gear that you can pack in your suitcase. Pick up some resistance bands, a jump rope, and a travel-sized yoga mat to set up your workout no matter where you are.
Stream Workout Videos on Wi-Fi
Finding free Wi-Fi is easier than ever, whether you’re staying in a hotel, hostel, campground, or friend’s apartment. Parks and public spaces even have Wi-Fi in some cities. Take advantage of technology and stream or download workout videos from YouTube or your favorite fitness trainers’ websites. Also look into downloading fitness apps to guide you through yoga poses and targeted workouts (like pushups and squats) so you can keep track of your progress and stay accountable to your goals.
Make Use of Hotel Fitness Centers
Fitness centers are often the most under-utilized parts of hotels, and while they may be small and outdated, they’re still a great place to diversify your workouts. Switch things up with a little cardio and weight training, and maybe even strike up a conversation with a fellow fitness buff to exchange travel tips.
Drink Lots of Water
It’s easy to get dehydrated while you’re traveling, especially if you’re flying or spending time in high elevations. We all know the three-ounce rule for flight travel, but you can pack an empty reusable water bottle in your carry-on bag and get through security. Once you’ve made it through the scanner, fill your bottle up at an airport water foundation to sip throughout your journey.
Pack Your Vitamins
Travel can leave you feeling fatigued if you’re not getting proper nutrition, so you might need to supplement your diet to sustain energy to see and do what you want to. If you have trouble getting all the fruits and vegetables your body needs while on the road, pick up some natural and organic multi-vitamins and take one a day, or as recommended by your healthcare professional.
Stash Healthy Snacks in Your Bag
There’s nothing more frustrating than being hungry and not knowing where to find a healthy snack. Nuts, dried fruit, and granola bars will temporarily satisfy your appetite without weighing you down. Toss a miniature bottle of hand sanitizer in your bag too so you’re not snacking on the germs you’ve picked up while touching surfaces in public places.
Get 7-8 Hours of Sleep
Getting enough sleep can be a challenge when you travel because you’re trying to pack your days with fun things to do and your accommodations might not be the quietest places to sleep. However, your body’s immune system wears down when you don’t get enough to sleep, and traveling while sick is the worst. If you didn’t sleep well, make plans to take a mid-day nap to catch up on your shuteye.