Nothing broadens the mind and uplifts the spirit like a fabulous vacation, but the stress of travel and strange environments can really wreak havoc on the body. And yet, so often while on vacation, we compound those detrimental effects by completely abandoning our usual health and wellness routines. Staying healthy on vacation will not only enhance your once-in-a-lifetime bucket list experience, it will also keep you from derailing the fitness you’ve work so hard to achieve and maintain at home.
Follow these good health tips to keep your fitness momentum going, so you can bring home treasured memories of a fun, enriching and healthy vacation!
- A Body at Rest…
Nothing spoils a good time like lack of sleep, especially when you’re dealing with the physical demands of crossing time zones, schlepping luggage and being on your feet for hours at a time. Listen to your body, and respect that it needs sleep to recharge to be up to the task of having a good time. You’ll enjoy the experience more if you take a few hours for a nap between adventures.
- Rome Wasn’t Seen in a Day
Those ruins have been around a long time. They will look pretty much the same tomorrow. Make sure your itinerary is realistic and allows you time to really absorb the sights. If you pace yourself, and throw a long leisurely lunch into the mix, you’ll be relaxed and energetic for every leg of the journey.
- Stretch It All Out
Stretching exercises will loosen tight muscles, and encourage the release of endorphins which will relieve stress and create a sense of tranquility. Stretching when you wake up helps jump start both the brain and body into a feeling of optimism with which to face the day. Stretching before bed will enhance your sleeping experience. Limbering up for 5-10 minutes before hiking, climbing or kayaking to your day’s destination will also help you avoid injury.
- Were Those Boots Made for Walking?
Ride-sharing apps? Just say no! Nothing keeps you healthy on vacation like moving your feet. A walking tour of the city offers a double bonus: Your daily exercise plus the chance to experience the sights and sounds of another culture up close and personally. Be sure to pack the right shoes designed to support extended periods of walking. Your feet will thank you!
- Even Where There’s No Gym, There’s a Way
If it’s possible, book a hotel that has a fitness center or access to a local gym. A quick workout before or after your day’s outing can both refresh and revitalize. If there is no gym handy, you can always improvise in your room with pushups, situps, squats, etc. If you are a runner and there is no treadmill, ask the hotel concierge to map you out a safe route. A little maintenance workout goes a long way on vacation.
- Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
If you’re flying to your vacation destination, your mission to stay sufficiently hydrated begins on the plane. Airplanes are notorious for circulating dry, stale air which can cause a variety of issues including headaches and dry skin. Keep the liquids coming, especially on long flights to help alleviate the effects of jet lag. Once you are officially vacationing, whether seeing the sights, enjoying the beach, or rafting on the whitewater, always keep a bottle of water handy. Be sure to do your homework, and find out if the local water is potable. If not, stick to the bottles.
- Vacationing is an Aerobic Sport
Try to incorporate activities into your day that involve aerobic exercise. At most popular destinations it’s easy to find paths to hike, bike tours, or steps to climb. You’ll have so much fun, you won’t even realize you are toning and burning calories. If your vacation involves a beach, try these yoga poses from fitness expert Juliet Kaska. Make sure you pack a pair of beach sandals to take a stroll along the sand.
- Energize with a Healthy Breakfast
Kick off your day with a substantial breakfast. You never know where the day will take you and when you will have time for your next meal. If you don’t want to buy breakfast at your hotel, it’s easy to keep some fruit and cereal in your room to give your day the right start. Skipping breakfast can have you down for the count well before lunch time and will impede your ability to fully immerse yourself in your day’s events.
- Moderation is the Key
Let’s face it, the word vacation is synonymous with alcohol and dessert. No list of good health tips is complete without advising moderation! You are, after all, on vacation and a few cocktails as well as a sweet treat or two seem like the celebratory thing to do. Over indulging will max out your calorie count and interfere with your much-needed sleep.
- Hand Sanitizer, a Traveler’s Life Preserver
When it comes to staying healthy on vacation, hand sanitizer in the form of gel or wet naps is a must have. It will come in handy all day, everywhere you come in contact with people, doors, objects, etc. They are especially helpful to clean your hands before or after a meal when soap and water is not an option.
- Protect Your Skin
Your body may be covered with clothing but your skin is out there, vulnerable to the sun, and insects. Be sure to pack sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 15, and if you are visiting an area indigenous to mosquitos and other biting insects, don’t forget insect repellent with DEET.
- An Ounce of Prevention
If you are heading to an exotic locale and may not have access to modern pharmaceuticals, it’s important to be prepared. In fact, your supply of your favorite over the counter medications, antacids, stomach remedies—to promote going or stopping—and pain relievers are important. Remember to pack any prescription medications in your carry on.
- An Apple a Day…
Healthy snacks can save your day, especially on days where you are covering a lot of ground between meals. Your favorite bags of nuts seeds and dried fruits will travel well in your suitcase and will keep your energy level up when you’re dragging. If you can visit a local market, fresh fruits are a great between meal pick me up as well.
- Nourish the Spirit
Exercising and eating right is only part of the recipe for a healthy vacation. Your mental and spiritual well being is equally as important. Set aside time to stop the music and practice your favorite mode of relaxation. Whether you meditate, do yoga, or join a tai chi class, a time out will help reduce stress and keep you in balance. Namaste.
- Rest on Your Laurels
Staying healthy on vacation requires commitment. For your efforts you deserve to be pampered. Visit a day spa and treat yourself to a massage or relaxing facial. It’s not a guilty pleasure. It’s a part of your vacation wellbeing plan, and you’ve earned it by staying focused on fitness–even while on vacation!
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