Travel can really take a lot out of you. Between the dry airplane air, the change in climates, different foods and much more exposure to foreign germs, it's almost a miracle if you don't get sick, or at least run down. When I travel, I try hard to offset many of these things with healthier habits than I have at home (which I really should be doing then too).
Here are 5 ways I try to stay in shape, stay healthy, and get the most out of my travel experiences:
I don't walk too much at home, but that's because I have places to be and have a car. I also know where things are and have explored a lot of them. On vacation, even when I have a car, I want to see things, so I walk as much as possible. The best way to see a city is by getting out and taking it slow and viewing the place like a local. Get off the main streets and find the hidden gem.
Walking also helps burn those extra calories you've been eating when you go out for practically every meal. At home, most of your meals are probably made at home.
Take the stairs
For added fat-burning and exercise, I take the stairs whenever possible. Of course, there are a lot more when traveling to, sat, Europe. There are stairs in the Metro. There are stairs in all the museums. There are stairs to get to the best viewpoints. It helps that you rarely have options besides to climb them or miss out entirely (unless you are handicapped in a way that means an elevator is a necessity).
Make sure you find some great walking shoes and break them in before leaving home or you could face the saddest or angriest feet ever. Hobbling does not make for fun sightseeing, I assure you.
I'm the first person who wants to try everything on a menu when I'm out to eat, but even I restrain myself. Between sharing a plate with Eric, or someone else I might be tracing with, and saying no to dessert for a lot of meals, my pants don't get too tight by the time I go back home.
Dessert, while delicious, packs a lot of extra fat, sugar and calories that you don't need. I try to remember that I hardly ever eaten dessert at home, so I shouldn't go hog wild when I'm on vacation. I try to save my sweet tooth for menus that have something very unusual or incredibly hard to pass up. As you know, I often plan days around food options and look for places that other travelers say I shouldn't miss.
You can't always eat right on vacation, and you'll probably find a lot of fried foods wherever you go, so you'll need to make a concerted effort to get fruits and vegetables in as often as possible.
One way I do this is by purchasing bananas and other fruits to eat in the mornings before I head out. Another way I do it is by ordering a vegetarian or vegan options every once in a while when I'm out. You might want to indulge in a salad or order double veggies instead of a starch. Just make sure you get those good foods in where you can.
The extra antioxidants can keep your immune system in working order and you can avoid getting sick.
Eric almost always has a pair of swim trunks in the suitcase. If the weather is warm enough for swimming, he indulged in pool time whenever possible. I'm not much for swimming, but if you are, then this can be a great workout for you. If, like me, you aren't, then maybe a trip to the hotel gym is more in order.
If you don't have these choices or it's too cold, here are 5 exercises you can do in your hotel room:
- Step-ups - All you need is a chair or your hard-shell carry-on for these. Do 20-30 step-ups per foot. These help your quads, calves and butt muscles. They also can help your thighs. The higher the step, the more you'll get out of it.
- Chair push ups - Again, a chair is all you need for these. Stan in front of or behind a chair and use the back or arms to put your hands on and do push-ups. You can also stand facing away from the chair and put your hands on the seat to lower yourself as far as you can go and then push up to work your shoulders and upper arms.
- Jump rope - A jump rope is an easy thing to pack, even if you bring a weighted on like I use. If you have a patio or balcony or are on the ground floor, this works a lot better and won't annoy your neighbors.
- Resistance bands - Another easy-to-pack item, you can do core strength exercises and also work your arms and legs in a smallish space.
- Lunges - Simple to everywhere, lunges take a minimum of space and can even be done in the hotel hallway if need be.
No matter where you go or what equipment you have or don't have, you can stay healthy, in shape and feel good about yourself when you get home.
Don't forget to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. I recommend carrying a reusable bottle with you so you can save money and never have an excuse to be without liquids.
What's your favorite way to stay healthy while you travel?