Have you ever arrived home from travelling and felt you needed another trip to recover?
Staying healthy when you are travelling is hard. Your routine is out of sync, you can be tempted to overindulge and it can be difficult to use a gym. However, there are tricks you can incorporate into your trip that will help you stay in peak condition.
Keep yourself fully hydrated
Make sure to drink plenty of water. Travel can easily dehydrate you without you realising, for example when you are flying or walking around in hotter, drier environments than you are used to. Take a refillable bottle or buy bottled water and keep track of how much you are consuming.
It is also important to rehydrate when experiencing vomiting and diarrhoea. Take some Oral Rehydration Salts sachets in your medical kit, they are a really great way of replacing your lost electrolytes.
Take the gym with you
If you have a smartphone there are a wide range of apps that provide complete gym routines wherever you are. From circuits to high intensity routines to yoga and pilates, if you are familiar with the exercises then you can execute them yourself. I’ve used Sworkit and love the fact I can customise it to my requirements, almost like having a personal trainer.
Or try packing some travel friendly exercise props such as skipping ropes, resistance bands and suspension trainers. They don’t weigh very much, don’t require much space and are great for staying trim.
Incorporate exercise into your itinerary
If the place you are visiting is safe then walking around can be the best way to experience it. I often skip public transport or short taxi rides and opt to take in the location’s character from the streets. I love finding local hiking routes and exploring the natural beauty of an area by foot, on my own or with a guide. Travelling also provides the weather I like to scuba dive, kayak and cycle around in. Building in fun activities into my itinerary is really important and adds another level of exploration.
Do a quick internet search of your destination and you may discover some free outdoor gyms, running routes and beaches that are safe for swimming. You may also find that there are organised sports that you can take part in. They are a brilliant way to meet people and to experience local culture, for example, beach volleyball, capoeira and roller derby.
Get enough sleep
Creating a packed itinerary of places to visit and things to do can sound perfectly doable, and a great way to see everything. However, over stretching yourself is one way of making a dream trip into a nightmare vacation. You have a much more engaging and meaningful experience if you stay in fewer places or visit two or three attractions per day. Trying to cram in too many excursions and destinations can mean you will not fully appreciate your journey.
Constantly being on the move, long transits and action packed days can take their toll. Factor in a decent amount of recovery time, break up your journey if possible and embrace travelling at a relaxed pace. Take an eye mask and earplugs with you as you never know how noisy somewhere can really be. Have a few lazy mornings and utilise spare hours for naps.
Protect yourself against illness
Becoming ill abroad is a million times more unpleasant than getting sick at home. Visit your local health facility and get all the required immunisations before you leave. Take any prescribed medications with you, including all the packaging. Check if you are allowed to bring these medicines into the country you are travelling to, some places do have restrictions on strong painkillers and other drugs.
Make sure you know where the nearest hospitals are and that you are fully covered under your travel insurance. If you do feel unwell seek the advice of a professional immediately.
Sunburn is really painful, uncomfortable and unflattering. If you cannot stay in the shade then cover up with loose clothing and use a high factor sun screen. You must reapply sun lotion regularly; sweat and water based activities can wash it off. In places where there are mosquitoes wear repellant, long clothes and use a net over your bed.
Don’t forget to wash your hands. Take a small bottle of hand sanitizer and some antibacterial wipes for those moments when there is no running water or the water is not clean. Eat in popular restaurants and street food vendors that appear to have a good standard of hygiene.
Be mindful of your consumption
It’s easy to be tempted by quick, unhealthy meal solutions or always eating out and choosing three courses. If you are a regular restaurant goer look for balanced dishes with lots of vegetables and select dishes that are low in sugar and fat.
Picking accommodation where you can cook for yourself not only means saving money but also potentially saving calories. Hostels, Airbnb, house sitting, couchsurfing can allow you to cook for yourself, just double check with your host beforehand.
Find out where the local fruit and vegetable markets are so you can pick up some fresh produce. They are often super cool places to check out, with some weird and wonderful exotic options on sale. They also offer a chance to get to meet some local people and find out what they are cooking up at home. There may be culinary classes available nearby where you can also pick up some new recipes. These are really fun ways to experience the culinary highlights of the region.
Bring some extra nutrition with you
One way to boost your health is to bring some super food supplements with you. Stick a couple of packets of vitamin heavy but lightweight additives such as spirulina, cacao or chia seeds in your bag. You can add them to your diet, for example, pop a teaspoon into some yoghurt, which is available in most countries. Alternatively, pack a few nutrition bars into your bag as a healthy snack option.
You must check beforehand that you can bring foodstuffs with you into your destination country, otherwise you may get in serious trouble! Some places, like New Zealand and Australia, are very strict and you can easily pick up these products there anyway so it’s not worth smuggling in your plant based products.
Don’t forget about your mental health
There are always times when being away from family, friends and familiarity can affect your ability to feel on top of the world. Despite everyone at home’s presumption that you must be having a wonderful time, sometimes travelling just doesn’t live up to expectations.
If you feel that you need some professional help, do not be afraid to ask. There are counselling services available on line, or if it is not getting any better, take the next available transport home. I personally find that exercise and meditation can boost my mind’s ability to cope with the downside to travel. Alternatively, a phone or Skype call can also make a real difference.
Planning your adventures should always include scheduling time to stay fit and strong. Make sure your trip recharges your batteries and feeds your soul. Whilst you are away, bear in mind that looking after your mental health and protecting yourself from illness is important. Take your workout to the beach, try a new sport, keep drinking water, eat right and get some quality sleep. Your body and your holiday will thank you!
*These are my own personal recommendations based on my travel experiences. I am not a qualified professional and advise you to seek medical advice before adopting these suggestions. Soulful Travels takes no responsibility for any injury, illness or death caused by using the information above.
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