Life on the road and in between grocery stores can present challenges when it comes to maintaining good health. With minimal time to stretch your legs, let alone get a workout in, the commuter lifestyle also allows little flexibility in preparing healthy meals. Fortunately, a little planning ahead can make a big and positive impact on your health.
What’s in Your Bag?
Whether you’re on your annual vacation or flying out-of-state on business every week, the items you pack can determine how healthy you’ll be during your trip. First, consider what kind of bag to use. Make sure you have a versatile, comfortable bag that can hold a wide variety of products.
A seasoned traveler knows the importance of packing some snacks and beverages. Don’t rely on airport or gas station provisions. Instead, pack nutritious meals and snacks in sandwich bags or to-go containers for easy access during your journey (more on what to bring momentarily!). Also be sure to bring plenty of water to stay hydrated and refreshed without consuming empty calories or unnecessary chemicals. A great water bottle makes for an excellent travel item, and this one from Lifefactory is both durable and BPA-free.
A few key toiletry items will also help you look and feel your best while simultaneously being environmentally friendly. Pack your favorite shampoo, soap, lotion, sunscreen, etc in small travel-sized containers, so that you don’t have to settle for whatever’s available at your hotel.
Last but not least, staying productive, rested, and energized is key for your health! For sound sleep, try these awesome earplugs, this particular eye mask, and a Therm-a-Rest neck pillow (for the flight). Lavender essential oil and a wearable Inner Balance sensor from HeartMath can help you to relax and let frustrations from crowds or delays melt away. And don’t forget to pick up an external battery charger so your devices can stay powered up too!
A Little Planning Goes a Long Way
Chances are that at some point in your travels you’ll find yourself exhausted, with a rumbling stomach, and staring off into the distant neon lights of a Cinnabon menu. Though it might seem easy enough, that processed, sugar and fat-filled snack is only going to send your attitude or your energy levels into a nosedive. Avoid the temptation by taking a little time to plan your snacks before you leave.
Whether you stay gluten-free or you’re eating primal, planning ahead gives you the freedom to cater to your tastes and needs. Organic fruits and veggies, hummus spread on a gluten-free tortilla, rice cakes with nut butter (Justin’s Nut Butter is a great option), Medjool dates and nut butter, hard boiled eggs, and avocados with sea salt and pepper are just the beginning of many healthy options! Almonds, protein powder, and natural beef jerky are also great, and nothing hits the spot like a tasty trail mix made of gluten-free oats with coconut flakes, dried cranberries, and walnuts.
In a time-crunch or a place where finding these options is a little tricky? Before you leave, get online and plan where you’ll stop for meals so that you can choose healthy options. An app called iExit will help you in this endeavor, pinpointing great restaurant options all along your route.
If you absolutely have to eat fast food (and you really don’t), opt for the grilled chicken or salad option. Remember that even Walmart sells organic whole foods, and Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods both carry many ready-to-eat, healthy options.
Supplements for the Road
Even with the best snacks, it can still be hard to maintain a balance of vitamins and minerals. If necessary, add some supplements to your travel diet.
A quality multivitamin covers all your nutrient bases, and vitamin D3 will protect you from travel germs, helping to fight off infection and strengthening your immune system. If you’re having trouble getting in your veggies, you can try a green powder to supplement those nutrients. Finally, herbs like echinacea, elderberry, and oregano boost your immune system.
Quick and Simple Road Workouts
No matter how well you eat while traveling, you still need some exercise to maintain fitness and to avoid stiff, tense muscles. For a workout in your hotel room, download the Sworkit app, which will guide you through a series of body-weight workouts that require no equipment whatsoever! If you’re looking to switch it up on the go, try any of these workouts for optimal fitness and mobility:
The Gas Station Workout: A pit stop is a great time to get your heart pumping too. Perform the following exercises for one minute each and feel free to repeat the list for a bonus round!
- Jumping Jacks or Jump Rope
- Walking Lunges
- Body Weight Squats
The Rest Stop Yoga Routine: Bust any built-up stress, realign your spine from the cramped car seat, and take some deep breaths of fresh air with this quick and effective practice.
- Stretch and Reach for the Sky
- Downward Dog
- Lunge into Warrior
- Repeat on Opposite Side
- Downward Dog
- Lunge into Triangle
- Repeat on Opposite Side
- Chaturanga (Pushup Position)
- Downward Dog
In addition to these quick workouts, get an extra exercise boost by checking out your hotel gym, doing some chair squats, and walking as much as possible. Taking care of your body includes taking care of your back, so be sure to keep your shoulder tension in check and your spine happy by sitting or driving with good posture!
Staying healthy while traveling may not be easy, but it’s more than doable. Taking the time to plan ahead in all aspects of travel will help you feel more organized and confident in your health while on the road. No matter how much traveling is in your schedule, you’ll be glad you put in the work to maintain your healthy habits.