Fitness can be such a pain in the ass even on a regular day, can you imagine making it a priority during travel?
Like all good things in life, such a choice is hard but necessary.
Without health, life is not life; it is only a state of languor and suffering.
Have you made the mistake of seeing traveling as a down time from healthy choices?
Fitness is a 24 hour choice. Travel will definitely vary the intensity and degree of these choices. But, you need to be mindful of them all the same.
Healthy choices do not have a day off.
Whether you are traveling for work or pleasure, being on the healthy track helps you stay at the top of your game.
Unless you are an Olympian dedicated to your sport, keeping fitness habits can be a low priority task while traveling.
Lack of time, tiredness, work, stress, no space, no options - travel throws several monkey wrenches into your fitness plans.
We have come up with these 5 strategies to navigate the challenges of healthy living on the go.
1. Plan ahead and set systems in place to support your fitness goals
Well begun is half done.
Your fitness journey begins even before you set foot outside your home.
Just having a simple to-do list increases the chances of your success. Imagine what you can achieve with a solid plan?
Plan to incorporate food choices and exercise options, healthy snacks, and fitness essentials into your mental and physical luggage.
In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.
Don’t stop at just planning, set fitness goals that can be measured to empower your journey.
For example, specific goals like walking 20 minutes everyday are much more inspiring than just noting down ‘get some exercise’.
Here are the 4 factors you need to plan for to successfully accomplish your health and fitness goals -
- Fitness - Research for activities that allow physical movement both indoors and outdoors. Pack simple equipment like dumbbells or yoga mats. Don't forget comfortable workout wear, swimsuit and shoes.
- Food - Research restaurants and organic food outlets near your hotel. Plan your meals ahead to manage your cravings on the go. Organise non-perishable snacks beforehand. Remember to carry healthy alternatives for airplane food.
- Hydration - ALWAYS carry a water bottle with you and chug it often. Make sure to drink purified and preferably bottled water when you are out and about. Google for smoothie and juice bars near your hotel.
- Attitude - Traveling is often chaotic, your plans will be modified and your schedule changed. This applies to your fitness plans also. Instead of feeling frustrated or guilty, start with a flexible mindset. Allow yourself breathing space for adjustments.
2. Pay attention to the nutrition that is nourishing your body in the traveling lifestyle
Food is the cornerstone of health.
When it comes to fitness, nutrition is 80% of the battle. All other healthy choices become irrelevant if you slacken on your diet and load up on processed junk.
‘Dieting ’ is often perceived as restrictive and stressful - when done wrong it often is. When done right, dieting simply means eating food to nourish your body and fuel your activities.
The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.
Eating healthy can be a challenge while you are on the go. Don't stress yourself with the ‘either or’ approach.
Use it like a bank account - At the end of the day, the healthy food you eat (the deposit) should exceed your occasional splurge (withdrawals) by a good margin.
A rule of thumb - Never eat two bad meals in a row.
Trying local cuisines will help you combine health, adventure and pleasure in every bite.
Here are 5 strategies that will help you to nourish your body when you are living out of suitcases -
- Moderate your intake - On account of constraints of time or social courtesy, you will have to ditch your best intentions and eat something unhealthy on occasion. Don't panic. Stick to moderate portions and go easy on your next meal.
- Be snack smart - Your mealtimes can go haywire when you lose track of time working or exploring. Plan ahead and carry healthy snacks like nuts, seasonal fruits and cold pressed juices to avoid the temptation of greasy fast food.
- Try local cuisine - Research the restaurants and try the freshly cooked local cuisine prepared with natural ingredients. Go for the dishes with seasonal ingredients and a high protein component.
- Match your activity to your meals - Use food to fuel your activities throughout the day. If you plan to slog at your desk, pick light meals. If you plan on exploring or doing other outdoor physical activity, load up on protein and carbs.
- Ditch the carbonated drinks - These sugary drinks are easily available and definitely tasty in the hot summer months. But soft drink consumption has been associated with lower intake of necessary nutrients and with an increased risk of medical conditions like diabetes and heart disease. Hydrate with water and green smoothies when you are on the go and avoid sugar crashes.
3. Find creative ways to integrate physical movement into your day
Physical activity is a crucial component of having a healthy body and mind. Especially when you are traveling, regular exercise can help you maintain your health goals.
For those who think they have no time for bodily exercise...will find out later...they will have time for bodily illness.
Exercise lowers your risk of various ailments like depression, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and osteoarthritis.
The word exercise often conjures up images of people torturing themselves inside the gym.Not exactly an inspiring image if you want to stay healthy on a vacation!
Let your vacation workout be organic. Make it fun and social to get out of the ‘to do’ mentality.
Exercise is not punishment, it is nourishment.
Traveling has a way of shooting surprises at you and messing up your best laid plans.So, don’t be too rigid about your workout plans and reset your expectations.
Get out of the gym mentality. Be open to exploring novel and local opportunities for physical movement.
Here are 5 ideas that will help keep you active and fit when you are living life on the go -
- Add an equipment free workout routine - Having an equipment free basic routine will help you squeeze in quality physical activity within the comfort of your hotel room. It is ideal for the traveling lifestyle wherein carrying fitness equipment might be impractical.
- Use the activity options at the hotel - Check out the soul cycle center or tennis courts. They combine physical activity with socialising, fun and relaxation. Instead of the hotel bar, hit the pool for a relaxing swim at the end of the day.
- Get Creative - Ditch the tour bus and explore the city on foot. Use walking tours, hiking or biking to enjoy the city while incorporating physical movement. Go for a jog or indulge in a spot of skiing or go rock climbing.
- Stay active throughout the day - If you can't take out dedicated workout time from your schedule, find innovative ways to add movement. Take the stairs, take a walk around the terminal or walk a couple of blocks and try local cuisine instead of eating lunch at your desk.
- Try Yoga - Yoga is excellent for end of the day stretching. It will relax both your mind and body which is ideal for dealing with the stress of travel.
4. Prioritise sleep for a sharp mind and healthy body
Travel and sleep are not exactly the best of combinations.
Business travel especially is a cocktail of zone changes, high performance demands under stress, hectic schedules, rich meals, unfamiliar surroundings and late nights. Perfect recipe for sleeplessness, don't you think?
But sleep has to be a priority if you want to be healthy and at the top of your game.
Sleep deprivation has negative consequences on your body, mind, productivity and health in the long term.
Losing as little as one and a half hours in just one night reduces daytime alertness by about one-third.
When you are on the go, a lot of factors are out of your control. But your hotel room is your own bubble and you can try to make it as sleep-friendly as possible.
There is no sunrise so beautiful that it is worth waking me up to see it.
Here are 5 tips that will help you get rejuvenating sleep even when you are away from the comfort of your bed -
- Recreate your sleep zone - It could be your favourite pillow or a scented candle or sheets that you love sleeping on. These little things remind your body of the sleep routine and help you relax as you would at home. Following a sleep ritual like brushing and meditating before bed also helps.
- Minimise distractions - Carry the sleep masks, earplugs and white noise machines/app with you. These will create a good ambience of sleep even during travel or at your hotel room.
- Unplug - 30 minutes to 1 hour before you go to sleep, switch off all the screens - TV, laptops and cellphones. This will decrease brain stimulation and ease the transition from activity to rest. If you listen to music at bedtime make sure it is relaxing and not distracting/loud. Use your bed exclusively for sleep. Don't eat in bed or try to work in bed.
- Dim the lights - when you come back in the evening, don't flood your room with light. Use task lighting for reading or work if necessary. This will cheat your body into activating the melatonin cycle for sleep.
- Warm bath - Take a warm bath to wash away the stress of the day and relax your body and mind. This will also lower your body temperature and facilitate restorative sleep.
5. Use technology to keep track of your fitness habits
We use apps for everything, why not for fitness?
Apps are an ideal way to keep track of your fitness habits in the tech-loving lifestyle.
Using apps will help you set your own personal fitness goals and maintain a pace that is right for you.
According to Pew research center's 'mobile health study', 52% of smartphone users gather health information on their phones. One-fifth of smartphone owners have a health app.
Whether you are a beginner or a veteran, just trying to lose weight or working on balancing your overall health markers, there is an app for you.
Choose and stick to the app that best meets your fitness and lifestyle needs.
Here are the 5 apps that will help you stay mindful of your fitness choices -
- SWORKIT- Simply work it - This app is a great option for you if you don't have ready access to equipment. It has a custom workout builder that lets you create and share your workouts. This app has the reputation of meeting most of the health standards set by the American College of Sports Medicine.
- Run keeper - This app is for runners who are in the market for fuss-free fitness tracking. It tracks your GPS, allows you to create custom music mixes and routes, and lets you design your own workouts. The basic version requires very little effort on your part and it is also cross-platform compatible, allowing you to jump from iOS to Android.
- Simple steps - This is the beginner app or ‘get off the couch’ app. It gives hints that help you make small realistic changes which can be developed into fitness habits over time. This can be useful to keep up the everyday health habits in the middle of a traveling lifestyle.
- My Fitness Pal - This app is a great nutrition tracker. It has a barcode scanner and a recipe calculator that help you stay mindful of the calories you are consuming. You can set diet goals and keep an eye on your progress with the help of this app.
- Fitbit - This gadget is a great option for the fashion conscious. It tracks your activity, exercise, nutrition and sleep. This is a good fit for you if you are looking to keep track of your overall health habits.
Fitness is not a standalone component, it needs to become a way of life.
When you are traveling, away from the comfort of your routine and dealing with stressors it is easy to slip into unhealthy habits.
Plan ahead for nutrition and movement. Use technology to your advantage. Be conscious about the choices you are making.
Being healthy is an everyday priority, not an ‘on - off’ option.
.Eating, movement, and sleep - they are not only biological functions. They also cater to deeper emotional needs. Taking care of them will help you stay fit in mind, body and spirit.
Are you ready to set some fitness goals for your next trip?