How to Stay Healthy While Traveling and in Between Travels
I’m a strong advocate for maintaining a healthy lifestyle both on the road and when we’re at home. As a wine-focused frequent traveler – this is easier said than done. However, if done correctly, you’ll be getting a lot more out of your travel experiences than you ever thought possible.
Any frequent traveler should be keeping his or her physical and mental health at the front of their mind. Travel can wear you down. Between eating all of the delicious (often unhealthy) food from around the world, to not getting enough sleep – it takes a toll on the body after a while.
There are a number of ways you can improve your all-around health when you’re not on the move and in turn optimize your experience when you’re mobile. Here are some healthy travel tips to get you started.
Start a Yoga Regime
I fell into a rudimentary yoga practice before I graduated college. I needed 2 credits…two credits – to graduate. So I chose a yoga elective.
It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Not only did I learn numerous ways to strengthen the connective tissues throughout my body (the ligaments, tendons, etc), but I learned to quiet my mind and live in the moment.
Before I knew it, my endurance improved dramatically, I was more focused and I started to feel better physically from head to toe.
Invest in a High-Density Foam Roller
This 15 dollar black piece of styrofoam is one of the best investments I’ve ever made. The high density foam roller is a chiropractor without the ridiculous cost and trips to the doctors office.
It’s safe, will last you forever and is also incredibly effective. You’ll decompress your spine, get those myofacial lesions out of your muscles and relax your hip flexors. All of this will result in a more comfortable day-to-day lifestyle and travel experience. I use this high density foam roller from IsoKinetics.
Eat More ORGANIC Fruits, Vegetables and Fish – LESS MEAT
I can’t tell you how many health and wellness blogs I read repeating the same message. I’m not here to go into detail on this, I’ll leave that to the full-time vegans and nutritionists. However, I do want to stress how right they are.
I find myself spending a little extra every time at the grocery store going nuts buying organic blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, avocados and kale. I’m focusing on cutting out the crap where I can. This way I’m feeling better mentally and physically more often while simultaneously lowering my cholesterol.
I don’t intend to cut out meat entirely, but every little bit will help in the long run. Life is about balance.
Meat has inflammatory properties which will swell your joints and create unnecessary fluids – all contributing to arthritis. Countering meat consumption with more frequent organic dark leafy green and bright red fruit consumption helps neutralize or even reverse this. Your blood flow will improve, and your joints won’t hurt as bad if you ever find yourself walking for 10 hours around Paris.
Drink More Water
The human body is made up of over 75% water. It goes without saying that we need it to survive, but overindulging here can actually have some real benefits.
I started drinking close to a gallon of water a day last month. Since then, I’ve seen acne disappear, dark circles below my eyes get smaller and had my overall mental awareness improve.
Water is a natural transfer agent. It lowers the viscosity of our blood, making it pass more efficiently through our veins and arteries. Simultaneously, it cleans out our organs and flushes the body of toxins.
Your skin is the largest organ and detoxifier in your body. If you see blemishes or acne on your skin, that’s a real indicator that your body is trying to purge itself of something. Think about what you’ve been eating and drink more water. Make a change. Even if your skin looks perfect – up your water intake. You’ll feel better physically and mentally, which will lead to a better travel experience.
Live a Mindful, Conscious Life
This is something I’ve gotten into recently that started with yoga and meditation.
In essence, mindful living is living in the present moment. Tuning out the noise of the past and the fabrication of the future by coming to the realization that right now is real. Right now is the only thing that’s real. I’ve since expanded my mindful practice further as I’ve been reading The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. It’s helping change my life for the better.
Take Your Vitamins
Vitamins are expensive, I won’t lie. That’s why there’s Costco, so you only need to buy them once every couple of years.
I stopped buying dozens of bottles of vitamins and began focusing on the ones I may not be getting enough of in my daily diet. As an example, I’ve recently been eating a lot less meat, which is a big Vitamin B supplier. As such, I bought a Vitamin B6-12 supplement. That’s what a *supplement* is! It fills in the gaps.
Separately, flax and fish oil is extremely beneficial to heart and brain health. I usually rotate flax and fish oil every other day since these aren’t always in my daily diet.
Vitamin C (if you don’t eat a lot of fruit) is also crucial to skin and immune health. You need your immune system to be sturdy while traveling on planes, trains and buses.
Lastly, there has been a lot of research looking at Vitamin D and its benefits. Doctors now recommend at least 3,000 MGs of Vitamin D a day, claiming it has the ability to fend of numerous cancers and improve overall organ function and bone health.
Drink and Eat Foods That Contain Probiotics
Probiotics are healthy forms of bacteria that every human has naturally within their system. Each of us has billions of probiotics, with the majority of them contained in our gut. It’s advantageous for frequent travelers to consume probiotic supplements in an effort to keep our natural stock high, as traveling frequently can wear down our immune systems.
Along with natural products, such as red berries, apples, teas and certain spices – and even red wine – there are a number of products out there that tout how many probiotics they contain. I’m a personal fan of kombucha – a form of fermented black and or green tea that often contains other healthy nutrients, as well as a plethora of probiotics. One of the most effective forms of delivering probiotics to the gut has been through yogurts as well. There are a number of yogurts, the most well known being Active, that come with probiotics.
Optimize Your Travels Further – Stay Healthy ON The Road Too!
We often find ourselves indulging in delicious food and wine while we’re abroad, because we realize we don’t get to indulge in that sort of cuisine very often. We tell ourselves, “oh yes, enjoy that foie gras and Malbec cheddar because you won’t find that in Ft. Lauderdale.” And the truth is – YOU SHOULD!
Don’t hold back from trying something. Especially when it’s a rare occasion or opportunity you may not get again.
I’ve learned to train myself in the following manner… I tell myself… “Greig, you eat healthy at home all the time, you run 4 miles a day, you’re in good shape. You’ve earned this meal.” That’s how I justify my decision to occasionally splurge. This way, I can enjoy everything the world has to offer on the cuisine front yet still mainly a healthy lifestyle and attitude.
This where the cliché phrase “everything in moderation” holds weight. Enjoy that caloric meal now, but make up for it by having a green veggie packed breakfast. Following that breakfast, go for a short run near your hotel or Airbnb. Climb the stairs instead of the elevator.
You can always find ways to not only burn calories and get your heart rate up, but before you know it you’ll be turning a mundane walk home into an adventure. Climb! Jump! Take the long way home as Supertramp says. Whatever you do, remember moderation is key, and don’t do anything to risk unnecessary injury.