Nicki Anderson: Keep travel healthy with these tips
By Nicki Anderson email@example.com July 16, 2012 4:12PM
Updated: August 19, 2012 6:09AM
This past month, my schedule has been jam-packed with travel. A little bit of pleasure and a lot of business.
Every time I travel, I’m reminded how challenging it is to maintain healthy habits on road. Healthy food options are scarce at best, and exercise routines seem to get lost in the shuffle of tight travel schedules.
But I’ve found that with preparation and determination, it’s relatively easy to keep your travels both healthy and enjoyable.
For those of you who travel a lot, you’ll know what I mean when I say finding redeeming food at an airport is next to impossible. It’s unfortunate how many people I see eating a hamburger and fries for breakfast accompanied by a super-sized soda.
So, over the years, I have developed some travel secrets to make sure I don’t allow my time away to negatively impact my health.
Secret 1: Always bring snacks with you. I call this my “emergency nutrition kit.” If you’ve had kids, you remember always packing snacks for them, it’s no different for you. I typically pack a variety of nuts and fresh fruit. Apples and bananas are easy to carry and to eat. As for nuts, I make my own mix of almonds, cashews and walnuts. They’re loaded with protein and healthy fats.
Secret 2: If you forget your “emergency nutrition kit,” check out the newspaper stands. Yep, they often sell nuts and fresh fruit. I’m talking about the stores that sell newspapers, magazines and tchotchkes. In fact, I recently found some of these stores are carrying organic nut packs as well as all-natural, no-junk-added fruit and nut bars. Additionally, it seems that more and more of the coffee shops in airports are selling more fresh fruit and healthy bars.
Secret 3: If you’re stuck waiting for your flight, or worse, your flight gets delayed, never sit for more than 30 minutes at a time. Try to get up and walk around for at least 10 minutes. There are times when I’m spending 10 hours between airports, flights and hotel transportation sitting. So, if I can sneak in 10-minute walks as often as possible, I’m keeping my blood circulating, my mind more alert and my energy level steady.
Secret 4: The most common obstacle to exercising on the road is overbooked days. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, typically schedules fill up fast. I travel with an exercise apparatus called an Xertube. It looks like a rubber jump rope (about 4-feet long) with handles on the end. In 15 minutes, I can get in a decent strength-training workout without the hassle of heading to a gym. You can find Xertubes online.
Secret 5: Before I head out of town, I call the hotel and ask for a mini-fridge. Having a fridge in my room allows me to bring some of my own food (typically breakfast and lunch foods).
The last thing I want to do is rely on hotel food, which is classically overpriced and lacking the nutritional punch I like to get in the morning. I simply stop by a store on the way to the hotel and pick up a few basics to get me through my three or four days there.
Secret 6: Don’t use travel as an excuse to eat poorly and dump exercise. Even when my schedule is demanding, I still find ways to choose healthy foods and sneak in exercise. For example, if I can’t get a fridge or I’m forced to eat at the hotel or out at a restaurant, I make sure I get the best foods I can. I request extra veggies, I drink plenty of water and always include a salad.
Whether you travel for fun or for work, staying on top of good-for-you foods and regular activity is tough, but it’s possible.
Also note that the stress of travel can compromise your immune system. When you combine that with poor nutrition and no exercise, your risk of illness increases.
The more you take control of your health, the more enjoyable travel can be.
If you use travel as an excuse to let go of healthy intentions, you’re not only compromising the quality of travel but the quality of your health.
Eating well and exercising keeps your body and mind strong so you can stay on top of your game. If you travel for business or pleasure, keep these simple secrets in mind to ensure a positive traveling experience.
Do you have an inspiring story about your journey to fitness? Share it with columnist Nicki Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org.