Stay on track, but still enjoy your time away, with a bit of planning. Follow these simple tips to help you incorporate exercising and maintain a healthy diet while traveling.
Heading out of town for the holidays? Enjoy!
Whether taking a road trip, flying home for a long, holiday weekend, or just spending the night at a relative's home, travel can definitely throw a wrench in your health and fitness routine.
Traveling this time of the year can be extremely stressful; flights are booked, roads are busy, and the weather is uncertain. Along with the stress of travel, the holiday season presents it's own challenges for your healthy eating and exercise program, and it becomes even more challenging when you are away from home.
A little planning will go a long way in helping you enjoy your trip and celebration while maintaining a healthy routine. You may have to modify and adjust but you can still stay on track. Simplifying your exercise and meal plan by focusing on the basics will keep you on track yet give you plenty of time to enjoy your adventure.
Here are some suggestions that have worked for me:
Pack healthy snacks - nuts, dried fruit, peanut butter on whole grain bread, apples, and oranges all travel well. And, yes, you can bring your own food through security at the airport. Just make sure they are wrapped, non-liquid, and items such as hummus and peanut butter will need to be under the 3.4 ounce restriction. Check with your airline for more details.
Driving offers more options - pack your cooler with easy-to-eat road food. A turkey wrap, cut up veggies, string cheese, and fruit cups are simple to snack on, are better choices than drive-thru, and will keep you energized for your trip.
Those healthy snacks can come in handy not only during travel, but also while visiting. If dinner is taking longer than planned or your appetizer selection consists of only high-calorie, high-fat foods, an apple and a few almonds can get you through without damage.
Bring bottled water - this is easy to do if you are driving, but you won't get a bottle of water through security at the airport. However, you can bring your own empty water bottle and fill it up once you get through security. Many airports have water stations to let you fill up with filtered water. You will stay hydrated and avoid having to buy the overpriced, and environmentally damaging, single-use bottles.
When driving, buy a few gallons of filtered water and bring along a reusable bottle to fill up along the way. If you want to avoid too many pit stops, drink your water about 30 minutes prior to stopping for gas or reaching your destination.
Getting a good night's rest is not always easy in a hotel or someone else's bed. The pillows are never quite right, the room temperature may be different than what you are used to, and you might hear noises from the room next to you or from others who might have a different sleep schedule. Bring your own pillow if possible, as well as a pair of ear plugs if you are concerned about the noise. I like to pack a small baggie with cotton balls that have been doused with lavender essential oil. I stick one under my pillow and the calming scent relaxes me and helps me drift to sleep.
Sticking with an exercise routine while away from home is not always easy, but it is definitely doable. Many hotels have some type of fitness area available to guests. Some are simply equipped with a treadmill and an elliptical, and others offer more. Thirty minutes on a treadmill will burn some calories and get you moving without taking up too much of your time. Though it may not be your preferred workout, consistency is key for maintaining your fitness level and healthy routine.
Body weight workouts that include basic, but effective, exercises such as push ups, planks, squats, and lunges are efficient and require little space and no equipment. A simple 30 minute circuit-style body weight workout is a great way to squeeze in a workout when you are short on time and space.
Of course, walking is probably the easiest way to get in some exercise. Grab your family members and head outdoors together for a brisk walk and some catching up. Find a trail, walk through a neighborhood, or check out the downtown area on foot. Not only do you get some exercise, but it's also a great opportunity to explore the area you are visiting.
Holidays, traveling, and days packed with gatherings, shopping, and visiting can be quite stressful. If holiday traffic, a noisy hotel, or too much time with that annoying relative leaves you feeling a bit agitated (or even more than a bit!), try to remember the reason you are there. The holidays are a special time and whether you are celebrating with friends, family, or on your own take the time to be grateful, find joy, and truly appreciate the moment.
Certainly traffic is going to be bad - count on it. But rather than spending your time on the road angry and frustrated, think about how lucky you are to have somewhere to go and the opportunity to go there. Turn on your favorite music and enjoy the ride - no matter how slow it is. You will get there, and it's better to arrive late and thankful than on time and pissed off.
If you become overwhelmed and agitated by all of the added commotion, take some time for yourself. Find a quite area to read, reflect, or just relax for a bit. Sometimes all it takes is 20 minutes to destress and recharge. Just be sure to use that time doing something positive - deep breathing, a short nap, or a quick walk outdoors will be energizing. Hiding away in the basement to think about what a jerk your uncle is will only add to the stress. Remember, you cannot control all situations, but you CAN control your reactions to them.
The holiday season is a time of joy and gratitude. It is easy, however to get caught up in the busyness and forget about your own health and wellbeing. You skip the workout, grab a doughnut at the mall, and stay up late making the appetizer you need to bring to work tomorrow and then wonder why you are exhausted and irritated.
Schedule in some time each day to take care of you. Get in a quick workout, prepare a healthy lunch, drink some water, or just take a break to recharge. Rather than feeling guilty about taking some "Me Time", realize this will give you energy and elevate your mood so you can fully enjoy and celebrate this special season.
May your holiday season be blessed, beautiful, and bountiful!
Thank you for reading.
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