Healthy on the Road
I always face leaving the house for a road trip or vacation with much excitement. I also feel a little trepidation. As a fitness motivator and life coach I try to take my idea of living a balanced and healthy lifestyle on the road. I want to stay on track with food. I want to get in my workouts. But most of all, I want to feel centered and less stressed. Being healthy on the road can be a challenge, but to not throw yourself completely off kilter for your return home makes it worth the effort.
What we eat affects how we look much more than our workouts do. Some people do not like to hear that because we have to make choices of what to eat and drink several times over the course of the day, but we only have to decide once about a workout. On the road, there are a lot of food and beverage choices outside of our routine. That can make for a lot of temptations. Here are a few suggestions on how to make the healthy choices:
- Water is a must. We get so easily dehydrated traveling to different climates and altitudes and sitting in heavily air conditioned vehicles. Waiting for a headache or to feel thirst will not help you stay on top of hydration. Make a point to drink water a preset intervals and you’ll be on your game.
- If you can plan and buy groceries for any of your meals, then do so. Having absolute control over food choice, portions and preparation gives you an advantage. Some of us just eat what is set before us and play ignorance to lurking calories.
- Split it and forget it. If you are out at a restaurant, find a buddy to halve your meal with. You’ll still get a taste of the good stuff, but you won’t feel obliged to finish or waste.
Being consistent with workouts, no matter your locale, is the secret sauce for getting and staying in shape. Some folks worry that staying on a schedule is the only way to move forward though. Be easy on yourself with these tips:
- Swap your rest day to work around a travel day or a high activity day.
- Give yourself credit for the unusual workout. You know, walking 20,000 steps because you were helping a friend move? Remodeling your home? Volunteering on a big cleaning project? Those all count!
- Do at least ten minutes. Sometimes we don’t run on our own schedule while on the road. Know you don’t always have control and fit in what you can when you are able.
It’s very easy to get caught up in going 24/7 while away from home. That can work over the short term, but I find it to be mentally exhausting and a recipe for getting sick after the trip. Your trip might not be a vacation, but if it is, treat it as such. If you have a ‘me’ routine of waking early, then honor that. It might mean you have to get up and sit in the hotel bathroom or lobby for the minutes to yourself, but it will set the tone for the rest of your day. Consider a few of these practices:
- Take a book for pleasure reading. Consider putting it on your phone or loading an audible book so that it is more accessible to you in the dark, if needed.
- Take five minutes as a win. Saying “I need a time out’ is perfectly alright. Spend that five minutes doing something you enjoy. That might be performing some light stretching, listening to music, or cleaning (hey, don’t judge!)
- Recognize when you need extra time and express yourself. No one is going to deny you saying what your feelings are. We forget, at times, that our loved ones aren’t mind readers.
Staying healthy on the road requires extra effort, but it is well worth it. The more you take these mini steps the more habitual they will become. Even choosing to do a few of the suggestions above will keep you more energized and tolerant. Have a good trip!