Forbes estimates that nearly 459 million business trips were taken last year — and that’s not even factoring in the massive number of Americans who travel for pleasure each year. Let’s face it: in our country, we love to physically move locations and see new sights. But with those physical moves also comes decisions regarding the way we maintain attention to our health while we’re shaken out of our usual routine.
It can be hard enough for many of us to make good choices about how we treat our bodies and overall health even when we’re at home. So, when we have to deal with frustrating airport situations, eating out, long periods of sitting still, and generally lazy behavior, our willpower is often left lacking.
With that in mind, let’s look at some ways we can care for our health during a trip.
This is easily one of the biggest pitfalls for American travelers. Let’s face it: you’re going to be eating out a lot when you travel, no matter the purpose of your traveling. Eating out is fraught with nutritional challenges, as it’s often hard to tell exactly what the caloric or nutritional content of your food is when you’re ordering it off the menu.
However, there are certain things you can do to mitigate the damage of eating out, especially if you’ll be eating out many days in a row. One of the easiest ways to check yourself is to practice good portion control. A good rule of thumb is that a serving of meat doesn’t need to be larger than the size of your fist or open palm. Also, you can opt for menu items that are clearly lighter and more nutritious than others. A salad instead of fries, for instance. Or that fish filet instead of the fried chicken. Even though each one of those choices takes a lot of self control to make, the accumulation of those positive choices can make a big impact in your overall health.
When it comes to exercise while traveling, having an existing exercise routing at home will go a long way toward making sure that you are genuinely motivated to exercise while traveling. If you don’t treat your body to regular exercise at home, it will take a herculean effort to exercise on a trip.
It’s also good to keep in mind that exercise while traveling can come in more forms than just using the hotel gym’s treadmill. Why not incorporate some active adventures into your next travel experience? Sneak outside of the city to go for a hike each morning, take those surfing lessons you’ve always wanted to explore, or go for a run through unfamiliar city streets. Your body will thank you!
One of the most overlooked components to the idea of maintaining good health while traveling is keeping your mind clear and stress-free. As mentioned earlier, the stresses of air travel, that high-stakes business meeting, or navigating family relationships can take a real toll on your mental health.
There are ways to combat this, however, and one of the finest ways is through meditation. Even 15-30 minutes of meditation a day can have a profound impact on your peace of mind and the diminishment of anxiety.
It’s also important to remind yourself that those small things like a flight delay or a missed reservation don’t really matter in the end — but if you mentally blow them up into a big deal in your mind, the ensuing stress can have an immediate and noticeably deleterious affect on your mood.
Take a deep breath, relax, and close your eyes. Ready for takeoff? Bon voyage, and stay healthy!