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6 Tips for Health-Wise Travel

©istockphoto/annebaek

©istockphoto/annebaek

Up until recently, I perpetually made poor health choices while on vacation, starting with a McDonalds breakfast at the airport. Once travel became a huge part of my life I realized I needed to retrain my brain and fix this splurge. I consulted with ER nurse, fitness competitor, and fellow travel enthusiast Yomica Wolfe. Here are some of her tips:

Be Active
The most important thing is to stay active. Whether travel is your vacation or your lifestyle, the best way to see and experience the country your in is to be active in it. If you’re in a place long enough, sign up for a local race and train for it. Or if you’re not a race person, pick out a challenging mountain to climb, and work towards conquering it.

“I have run in every single country I’ve ever visited. From Italy to Greece to Egypt to Israel! Running has shown me so many local shops and neighborhoods I would have otherwise missed! There’s plenty of times I’ve run into an art show or exhibit or something super fun I would’ve missed out on had I slept in or stayed at the hotel. My personal favorite was when I was in Italy with my ex-husband and I went to a local gym. It was so interesting to see how other people train. The spin class actually took a smoke break!

No matter where you’re exploring, look into: renting bikes, swimming, snorkeling, skiing, running, or hiking. Do whatever you can to stay active and dig deeper into the cultural and natural assets a place has to offer. By the end of the day you’ve had a complete workout and it didn’t take you away from enjoying the country!” ~ Yomica Wolfe

Plus as you explore via bike and foot you move at a pace that allows you to absorb your surroundings. Riding in a car is like watching a movie in fast-foward, you’re going to miss a lot!

Eat Well
“I always stay close to my low fat low carb diet and choose when I’m going to indulge in more. I mostly splurge on alcoholic beverages and let that be my dessert and appetizer.” ~ Yomica Wolfe

Whether you’re at the airport, on a train, or road tripping in your trusty four-wheeled miracle machine think ahead about what will make you feel good and get the most out of your experiences. Foods high in carbs and refined sugars are going to make you crash and give you a sugar hangover. Most of these venues sell: bananas, apples, grape/cheese bowl, nuts, and various other healthy options. Also, if you can, pack a lunch with some healthy snacks. Your adventures will be better enjoyed and your friends and family will appreciate your lack of moody behavior that famously accompanies a sugar crash.

Water Break
Staying hydrated is huge! Flying in planes, altitude changes, and increased activity can each singularly dehydrate you. Together they can annihilate you. Carry a water bottle with you and drink at least half your weight in ounces daily. While on the plane, drink a glass of water each time they bring the drink cart out. If you have a headache, drink more. The most common causes of headaches is dehydration. If your urine isn’t faint in color, then you’re dehydrated—drink up!

Rest /Me-Time
Resting is important too. While being active is key, don’t overdo it by setting out to run a marathon everyday, or pushing the envelope with the night life. Schedule blocks of time when you can do nothing, or something that will re-energize you such as: sunbathing, stretching by the ocean, meditating, reading, and anything else that sounds good to you in the moment. Let this serve as your “me” time. If you’re traveling as a couple or group, let this be the time when you break apart to do your own thing. This is the time to only worry about your needs.

Bed Time
Everyone travels differently, but if you spend your entire time avoiding sleep you’ll have one groggy and potentially grumpy experience. Try to get extra rest the first few days to accommodate the jet-lag you may experience. Then, make sure you get sufficient sleep each night. If you have trouble sleeping in a new bed, try playing a guided meditation from your smart phone off of youtube. Pack ear plugs in case your hotel ends up being too close to a disco tech, or you land a travel-mate who snores. Also, if nightlife is a big part of your desired travel experience, pack an eye mask so that you can sleep in a few extra hours to make up for the late night arrival to REM.

Get Creative
“I know a lot of people who travel with resistance bands. It’s a great idea that I’d like to try myself. I usually do a whole routine with my runs outside, hot or cold: push-ups, high knees, sprints, and hill work (if it’s an option). I have one friend that even travels with his road bike!” ~ Yomica Wolfe

Your options to stay active and healthy on the road are limitless with a good sense of creativity. Figure out what you like to do and incorporate it into your travel experience. Even in the dead of an Alaskan winter you could exercise to a P90X video you’ve saved on your iPhone or go snow-shoeing if the weather allows. If you take care of yourself your body will take your experiences to a whole new level. Safe traveling!

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