For many people, the annual vacation is a chance to take a break from our usual habits, enjoy ourselves and eat what we like. It’s a treat because we’ve been working hard all year, trying to live a healthy lifestyle and now we’ve got the chance to let our hair down a little.
When we get home, usually a little heavier than when we left, we slip back into our normal routines without much fuss. But when you travel a lot, either for work or leisure, it’s not practical or healthy to spend your days drinking, eating large meals at restaurants and avoiding exercise.
So what can you do to keep yourself healthy when you’re travelling frequently?
Have the right medical insurance in place
It’s always a good idea to have the right types of medical insurance in place before you travel, especially if you are going to be in a different country. If you were to be injured or experience a medical emergency, it could be extremely expensive to be treated. Frequent travellers should look at buying an annual policy, rather than trip by trip as this can save you a lot of money, and it’s one less thing to arrange.
Know where to seek medical care
Before travelling to an area, familiarise yourself with the location of the local doctor’s office and hospital as you might not be able to in an emergency. Every country is different when it comes to its health service and what treatment you’re entitled to receive and what must be paid for.
Find out where the nearest dentist’s office is too. A toothache or a dental emergency needs prompt treatment and can ruin your trip. Make sure that your insurance can cover any emergency treatment needed.
If you need any dental work done, try and get it done before you travel so that you can avoid any pain issues.
Adapt your fitness routine
There are a few things to consider when it comes to exercising when you’re travelling. First of all, there’s time to consider. You might not have the luxury of spending hours in the gym, so try and develop an effective exercise programme that gets the maximum amount of benefit in the least amount of time. Some people prefer HIIT or lifting weights. Or it might be a case of rowing machine vs treadmill when you’re pushed for time and want to get a workout in.
If your hotel has a gym or pool, then try and arrange your schedule so you can take advantage of it.
Lack of a gym doesn’t have to stop you in your tracks. If you have some space in your room, then you can use it to do some effective bodyweight exercises or find a few workout videos on YouTube.
Even if you don’t manage to set aside some time for working out, one of the best things you can do for your overall health and fitness is to keep active in your everyday life. If it’s safe to do so, walk wherever possible. It’s a great way to keep fit and see the sites.
Try and keep to a sleep routine
You don’t want to spend your time travelling missing out on things because you’re in bed early every night but the amount and quality of sleep you get are important. Regularly getting your 8 hours has a lot of benefits. It will help you control your weight and appetite as well as let your body repair itself. If you’re travelling for work, getting enough sleep to keep you alert and performing.
Don’t assume that you can catch up on all that missed sleep at the weekend. According to research, it won’t undo the damage of not sleeping during the week.
Keep on top of your eating habits
When our mind is in ‘holiday mode’ we often throw caution to the wind when it comes to eating well. We end up eating more food, more often, which can really start adding the fat and calories into your diet.
While you don’t have to forgo the local cuisine, there are a number of things you can do to improve your eating habits while still being able to enjoy yourself.
Make better menu choices
If you know you’re going to be having an indulgent evening meal, eat healthy throughout the day. Look at the menu in advance so you can assess the healthier options. Sometimes when there’s a waiter standing there ready to take your order, you can rush into choosing.
Buy your own food
Eating out for every meal can be disastrous for your diet, not to mention expensive. Why not stock up on a few items that you can keep in your room and snack on when you’re hungry but don’t want to go to a restaurant. Fruit and snacks that don’t need to be refrigerated are the best if you’re in a hotel room. If you’re in self-catering accommodation and have a kitchen area and a refrigerator, then you can stock up on the ingredients to make simple meals. It can save you a lot of money too.
Don’t deprive yourself
Most people assume healthy eating is an all or nothing approach. It doesn’t have to be. Have a cocktail or a piece of cake, just don’t spend your day’s eating and drinking to excess. By doing this, you won’t feel deprived and are less likely to overeat these types of foods when you do have them.
Know when to stop
It doesn’t matter if you’re eating healthy or unhealthy food, it’s a good habit to get into to stop eating when you’re no longer hungry. Stuffing yourself full of food until you’re uncomfortable will only make you feel worse in the long run and can lead to overeating.
Even the healthiest of meals can be undone by fat and calorie-laden snacks. Fill your bag with fruits and nuts so that you don’t find yourself reaching for fast food.
This is a good rule overall. Drinking enough water is vital for health. Not only does it keep us energized and alert, but is good for skin, digestion and keeping the appetite in check. Make it a habit to drink plenty of water each day, more if you are in a very hot country or are doing exercise.
Protect your skin from the sun
Everyone thinks they look better with a tan, but the prospect of skin cancer really isn’t worth it. Exposure to the sun can raise your risk of melanoma as well as causing premature ageing. Always wear an SPF and keep yourself covered up in the sun. It’s also best to keep out of the sun when it’s strongest, usually between 10 am and 2 pm.
Be mindful of where you are
Travelling, even for work can open up an entirely new world of cultures and experiences to us. It would be a shame to miss out on the opportunity. Try and take some time to do some sightseeing or just soaking up what’s going on around you.
Taking yourself out of your usual routine and putting down your phone every now and then is good for your body and soul.
Travelling regularly can impact your health in a major way if you start slipping into bad habits. That’s why it’s important to start developing some good ones. By implementing some healthy routines, you can strike a balance between enjoying yourself and your surrounding and maintaining your health.
*This is a collaborative post.