Do you find that when you travel for an extended length of time, you end up feeling a little weaker or even gaining weight? Yes, traveling is great, but the experience can take its toll on your body if you don’t take good care of yourself. In this article, I will help you with 7 habits to stay healthy and fit while traveling long term and enjoy your adventure to the fullest.
When traveling for a long time, because of meals, environmental changes and lifestyle, staying healthy and fit can be a challenge. Take note, these tips also apply to everyday life, even if you don’t travel.
When I travel, I find the essential point is to stick to the (good) habits I already have, especially in these 3 key areas: food, sleep, and exercise. None of them should be underestimated. Keep reading if you want to know how to take care of yourself during your wanderings around the world.
7 HABITS TO STAY HEALTHY AND FIT
1- Eat breakfast like a King
Depending on the destination, it is not always possible to have for breakfast what you feel like or what you are used to. I have experienced it; I remember that in Xian the food, besides being very spicy, was of the same kind for breakfast, lunch and dinner (vegetables, rice, chicken, extra spicy sauce …) and maybe at 7 a.m. it’s not the most appealing.
Still, it’s worth doing our best to adapt and start the day with a nutritious breakfast to give us the energy we need for all the adventures that await us.
The ideal basic breakfast should contain at least: a fresh fruit, a portion of slow-digesting carbohydrates (nuts, cereals), some protein (a boiled or scrambled egg) and complete it with milk or yogurt, if available in the country (in many Asian countries, for example, adults do not drink milk).
2 – Drink water
Ideally, we should drink at least 2 liters of water daily to be hydrated, so the easiest solution is to bring your own reusable bottle, and refill it with drinkable water wherever you have this option available.
For those who dislike to drink water, herbal teas are a great alternative.
Another water-related issue, which you should consider in order not to get sick during your trip, is whether the water is drinkable. Here, you should not only avoid drinking tap water but also avoid everything containing untreated water: ice, fruits, vegetables and also find out if you can brush your teeth with tap water…
3 – Eat rich and healthy
Whenever you stay several days in the same accommodation, to help you eat healthier than the usual choices, book a place with the option to cook your own meals. So you can prepare from time to time your meals with local ingredients, fruits, vegetables and try products you get in the supermarket.
As you know, a country’s culinary culture is not only present in the local stalls, markets and restaurants but also in supermarkets. If you have the chance, just shop in them because it is a way to eat healthier and get to know new products that you might want to bring back to your country.
I always look for something new and then integrate it into my diet. In Ethiopia, for example, I learned about teff flakes, loved them, and added them to my daily breakfast routine.
Other related advices:
So as not to get too hungry at lunchtime and gobble up anything, keeping a few nuts, a cereal bar or cut and peeled fruit (because of the water) on hand and eating it when you get hungry is a great option.
If you do not have the chance to cook your own food, when it comes to choosing the healthiest meals in restaurants, the ideal is to choose vegetables, grilled fish and meat, legumes, and avoid fried foods, battered foods and sauces (mayonnaise, or others) as much as possible.
4 – Health through exercise
Depending on the destination, you may not always be able to find a gym (in case it’s your thing); although as a tourist, you probably walk a lot, and you already have this part covered. If not, you know, 10,000 steps a day is the minimum necessary to keep you in shape.
In the same fashion, among the habits recommended to staying fit, the best approach is to exercise the entire body. Not only will you tone your body, but you will also gain strength and even sleep better.
When you decide to work out, focus on specific workouts that work the body’s main muscle groups. For this, a 10-minute session will do the job. However, to maximize its effect, make sure it includes planks, abs, squats, and arms.
To get a fitness workout plan/routine for your own, you can get inspired by the workouts of Cassey Ho (Blogilates) or Kayla Itsines for example. I really like the training that both girls do because of their optimism and friendliness. Also, you have a free option, you can download them from the app and they include workouts for all levels. Come on, you have no excuse…
Bonus: If within the training you include 1 minute of high-intensity workout (HIIT), you will get results as if you had run for 45 minutes. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
5 – Making sleep a priority
As you know, getting a good night’s sleep is essential. In fact, it is crucial for the body in order to rest and recover. That is to say, our physical and psychological well-being depends on it.
Keep in mind the keys to sleep hygiene, such as airing the room and resting on a quality mattress daily.
When I book accommodation, I usually pay close attention to the quality of the bed, the cleanliness of the room and whether it is quiet. For one night’s sleep it may not matter, but for several days in a row it makes a world of difference.
6 – Take extra care in the sun
Apply sunscreen ALWAYS, no matter if it’s summer or winter. By now, we already know that the cumulative damage that UV rays have on our skin is terrible, so don’t skimp on sunscreen.
It’s recommended to always use SPF 30 or higher and that the cream protects against ultraviolet rays B and A. And, for extra safety, wear a hat or cap to avoid getting a sunburn.
During your adventures, whether it’s a boat trip, hopping Island in Coron (Philippines) or trekking to see the Bromo volcano (Indonesia), you are in significant risk of scalding your skin without even noticing it.
I always apply PFS50+ sunscreen and reapply it constantly, it’s the only way not to damage the skin.
7 – Prevent insect bites
No te confíes, aunque lleves ya tiempo de viaje, si en el destino hay insectos, siempre estás expuesto a sus picaduras.
Lo más probable es que lo puedas comprar en el país de destino, pero para que sea efectivo debe contar con un 30% de DEET. Una opción más natural es el repelente a base de citronella y que también puedes llevar en pulseras.
When it comes to insects, never let your guard down. Even if you have been traveling for some time, if there are insects at your destination, you are always exposed to their bites.
Chances are you can buy an insect repellent locally, but you know, for it to be effective it must contain 30% DEET. Another more natural option is a repellent based on citronella, which you can also wear in bracelets.
For the repellent to protect, besides spraying it on yourself, also spray it on your clothes.
What I usually do is apply it only on my clothes (I wear long sleeves and long pants) and as an extra care I wear citronella bracelets.
7 habits to keep healthy, Wrap up
Have you tried these 7 habits to stay healthy and fit while traveling? Anyway, the most important thing is to enjoy yourself wherever you are, with whatever indulgences you consider. Above all, enjoy your adventure!.
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