Staying healthy while traveling can be challenging, but it is doable. The below tips are intended for the performance-oriented, success-minded, health-conscious individuals; the person that understands the depth of the meaning of health. The Old English origin of the word comes from “wholeness, a being whole, sound or well,” which is the same basis for the Middle English origin for wealth. In that spirit, may these tips help bring greater health and wealth wherever your travels take you.
These are in no particular order.
Wash Your Hands
It sounds very elementary, but this habit can be a lifesaver while traveling.
Modern medicine grew leaps and bounds back in the mid 1800s when Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis observed the tragic mortality of newborns and mothers in his Vienna hospital. He pushed to make hand washing a requirement for everyone, especially the medical students coming into the delivery room after dissection labs. The results were positive and mortality rates were reduced to less than 1 percent. However, his theory was ridiculed by his colleagues and he resigned. He repeated his results at another maternity ward, and yet again he was criticized.
It is simple, yet easily overlooked. To stay healthy when interacting in new environments, wash your hands. Antiseptic hand sanitizers are readily available in a pinch, but good ole soap and water does the trick. Save yourself and your family any unwelcome souvenirs.
Be Patient & Flexible
Without any structure, life gets chaotic and tense. When it comes to traveling, either around your own country or abroad, maintaining a set itinerary can be a challenge. Every trip is a great opportunity to put more attention into exercising your patience muscles.
Business trips can be sabotaged when stress levels elevate because of delays, mechanical difficulties, and other situations that are out of our control. How many family vacations go haywire because the schedule was screwed up, because someone got caught up in fun? When this happens our body’s internal chemistry starts to change into a distressful mode, which makes it easier to get sick, perform poorly, and fall into a negativity hole.
Patience is a wonderful character attribute to develop and practice when traveling. Take a moment to breathe slowly while navigating a stressful situation. Not only will this help the body stays in balance with ease, but chances are a better opportunity will arise.
A body in motion will stay in motion, otherwise if its at rest, it will stay at rest…unless acted upon by another force. That’s the first law of motion. And, it is wise to remember when traveling!
When we are out of our home environment it is easy to forget our activity routine because we are bouncing around from event to event, from meetings to dinners, or from family engagements to friends. The easiest solution to stay healthy while traveling is to stay in motion. That means walk as much as you can! In the airport, take the stairs. At the hotel, take the stairs (at least once a day). In the city, walk a few blocks before grabbing a cab. To get rid of jet lag, stroll barefoot in the grass or sand.
To experience a city on foot is entirely unique. The sounds, sights, smells and people are more vivid. Memories are made on foot. Besides, walking is the best exercise.
The body is between 55-75% water, depending on composition. This liquid component is critical for staying healthy. Lack of water leads to a state of dehydration, which is awful because systems of the body will shutdown. Even mild dehydration can drain our energy and make us feel tired.
There are many ways to support the water balance in the body. A simple rule of thumb is to drink enough water so that we avoid feeling thirsty! In plane travel, it is even more important. For ever hour in the air, it is smart to drink 4 ounces of water. Also, drinking aloe is a good way to seal water into the cells. Granted each person requires different amounts of water, regardless, be sure to drink enough when traveling, especially in higher altitudes.
Sometimes Fasting Is Best
Sometimes the most healthy option is to abstain from eating foods that will impede energy levels, productivity and mood. Fasting has a sorted reputation. Some people swear by it and others condemn it. Science has proven that the body will survive for weeks without food intake. Rest assured, as long as water keeps flowing, there is very little reason to freak out about skipping a meal or even fasting for a full day. There are many health benefits to fasting. Try it. Don’t compromise your health just because others have different definitions of healthy.
Take Naps & Rest
Perhaps the most overlooked factor for good health while traveling is napping. Sleeping sound can be a challenge in a new environment. Naps act as a savior to allow the body to recharge. Sometimes lavender eye pillows or ear plugs are needed to get the job done. Whatever the trick, its important to avoid exhaustion when traveling. Studies of napping have shown improvement in cognitive function, creative thinking and memory performance. Schedule it in each day. Sound sleep is critical to staying healthy on the road.
Go Big Before Flying
Its no secret that higher altitudes are dehydrating. Granted not every trip calls for a plane ride, but for those that do, a suggestion to consider is to eat a big meal before boarding the plane. The benefits here are many.
Our digestive system is a delicate system and it tends to work best in our home routine. Eating a big meal before heading out can help the body stay on track and healthy. Not to mention, the selection of healthy food is far more abundant anywhere, except at the airport. Hit up your favorite local breakfast spot or cook a family meal, then start your trek. This will save you from the inevitable “hungry eyes” that scour the airport kiosks and flight menus for something to nibble.
Let’s be clear, the only reason the snack shacks and airlines make money on their food is because there are ZERO options and customers are captive with nowhere to go. No one in their right mind would go to a restaurant that serves those items and pay those prices.
The simple solution to not falling into this trap is to prepare ahead of time. Eat a big meal and pack snacks. The only issue at airports is getting through security, so if you do NOT have liquids, then you are good to go. Fellow passengers will salivate at your superior selection and your body will be relieved to know you are covered with nourishing fortification, which is key to staying healthy when traveling.
This strategy is good for road trips too. Be prepared with snacks. Below is a good snack list.
Top Smart Travel Snacks
The following list includes some of the best snacks to pack that will travel easily.
- Nuts and seeds (with a little dried fruit)
- Single serve almond butter snack packs with apples or celery
- Protein powder packages (just add to water)
- Hard boiled eggs topped with guacamole
- Organic bars high in protein low sugar
- Guacamole or humus with seed crackers and veggies
- Hit a local juice bar or health food store for a green juice
Keep A Good Routine
The body loves a routine. While traveling, its helpful to recreate a routine your body-mind is accustom to for its health and success. Set up ideal times to get everything done. Rise early to watch the sunrise. Take a stroll. Knock out any emails and phone calls. Eat meals at regular times. The list can be long, but doing it can be a big factor for staying healthy while you are traveling.
Eat Smart & Strategic
Having good snacks is part of the equation for preparing to eat well and stay healthy when traveling. Yet, the issue most travelers face is not having the equipment required to prepare meals. In Eastern cultures, it is more common for people to prepare their own meals regardless of being at home or traveling. Kara Herman of Kara’s Natural Kitchen learned of this practice when working in Asia after college. She developed a perfect solution—A Traveling Kitchen. As a therapeutic chef, she teaches her clients how to travel and stay healthy on the road by utilizing her portable solution.
“The fun thing about traveling is eating new culinary delights. But, its very hard to stay healthy while experimenting with different foods and cooking practices. If we can eat safe 75% of the time on the road, then whatever we do splurge on will not negatively impact our health and productivity. Our body will be able to keep rolling.” ~Kara Herman
Use Supportive Help
Sometimes a little extra support and help is needed. A short list of supplements to use on the road should include: probiotics, fiber, aloe and bowel movers. The probiotics will boost your immune system, which is primarily a product of the billions of bacteria in the intestines. Fiber is great to make sure that the digestive system has good content to work with along with aloe to keep the intestines well hydrated. And last but not least, for the emergency sluggish days, a strong smooth move tea or herbal capsules will be relieving help. Remember, the rule of thumb is, however much food goes into a body, it must come out. If you are eating 3 meals a day, and the output is only 1 time a day, then that’s not enough!
Pause for the Cause
Last, but not least, a very beneficial habit to use when traveling to help the body-mind stay healthy and balanced is meditation and/or prayer. Taking a few moments to pause and connect with that still small voice within is key to staying well whether we are at home or traveling. Pausing for this cause is especially effective before giving a presentation, meeting new business connections, or entering a new social situation. Some signs that stressors are piling up in the body-mind are a sour attitude, mood swings, and poor health symptoms. These are indicators that its time to pause, breathe and be silent! Periods of reflection and prayer are crucial to sharpen mental functions, gain clarity, build gratitude, support immune function, and staying on track.
[Insert moment of silence here.]
All of these tips will make it easier to stay healthy while on the road. Please post a note about your next adventure using them on FB (http://www.facebook.com/karasnaturalkitchen).