It can be difficult to stay healthy while travelling constantly.
You’re likely adjusting to a new time zone, being exposed to new environments, different schedules and eating most meals out.
I think the biggest thing to understand is that – while you’re travelling, it’s still very much real life and everything you do (or don’t do) is still quantified towards your current and long-term health.
Leading a healthier lifestyle doesn’t mean constantly restricting yourself.
I think it’s important to keep good health, but it’s also important you take the time to enjoy it while you have it too.
I love experiencing the culture and cuisine when I travel to new places, and enjoying each unique experience to the fullest will always be a top priority for me. If you don’t have Nonna’s pasta in Italy, were you even in Italy?
Leading a healthier lifestyle is about consistently making smarter choices and upgrading your nutrition when possible.
Eating a salad is not going to make you healthy, if you’re consistently eating poorly.
This also means that indulging in a less healthy meal isn’t going to make you unhealthy if you’re consistently eating well.
Consistent actions will create consistent results.
I often get asked how I stick to eating clean or how I get motivated to go to the gym, but for me it isn’t about sticking to a diet or keeping myself motivated – it is just part of my routine.
Once you make it a habit of eating well and getting movement in (and realizing how amazing you can actually feel), you won’t need motivation – it will just be the way you are.
It’s a really simple concept, you just need to actually put forth the effort in changing your habits.
Let’s start with a little airport/airplane conduct –
Instead of sitting and waiting by your gate for your flight to board, take a few laps around the airport, do some people watching (it’s actually one of the best places for it) and get some movement in (you’re likely going to be sitting for a while during flight).
Poor blood circulation during air travel is super common and is mainly caused by remaining in a stagnant position for an extended period of time. Women who take hormonal birth control are also at higher risk for blood clots/poor circulation during air travel).
On board – Don’t cross your legs or stay in the same seated position for extended periods. Flex your ankles frequently, do some seated calf raises and try to get up to walk to the restroom when permitted.
Drink plenty of water slowly to decrease water retention and avoid things that can dehydrate you (like alcohol).
I personally buy a large bottle of spring water and a small bottle of coconut water (it’s high in potassium, which helps flush sodium out of the body) for my flight.
I also recommend using fasting as a tool.
By fasting during flight, not only will you reduce the amount of stress put on your body (remember that sitting for long periods of time, the dramatic change of pressure or crossing multiple time zones are all considered stress) – but it can drastically reduce jet lag symptoms as well. Not only will you reduce physical stress – but you can have an easier time syncing both internal/external clocks (which will help regulate your hormones, digestion, blood pressure etc) by simply just waiting to eat shortly after landing based on local time.
So once you’ve landed, you’re probably hungry.
There’s nothing worse than travelling hungry with limited options and having to resort to food you would never eat on a regular basis.
Luckily it’s almost 2019 – the internet makes planning ahead really easy.
Do a little research about your destination beforehand and find out what’s available.
You didn’t have time to do research before?
Open up your map application on your iPhone or open up the Yelp app and research some healthy spots close to you. My go-to google search is always “best healthy restaurants in ___________”
No healthy restaurants around?
Trust me when I say, it’s totally possible to eat out and still remain healthy.
You just need to order smarter.
It’s choosing water and keeping yourself hydrated instead of consuming empty calories from sugary beverages (and choosing soda water as a mix with alcohol vs pop).
It’s choosing to ask for dressings and sauce on the side (so you can gauge how much you actually want vs. consuming unnecessary calories).
It’s choosing a side salad over fries.
It’s choosing grilled or baked options over fried.
It’s choosing to go with the starter bread or dessert to finish – not both.
It’s choosing to be consistent with choosing better options.
Travelling on a budget? Consider booking an AirBnB or a hotel with a kitchen so you can cook your own food.
No kitchen? Bring snacks. Protein bars, nuts, dried jerky are all great healthy options.
Supplement where necessary.
Travelling can put a lot of added stress on your body, which is why I never travel without:
Jet lag, digestive distress and inflammation can all be accumulated from flight. Among its many benefits, like improving mood, they are great for reducing inflammation.
While traveling, your immune system tends to be a little compromised (and you are likely to be exposed to unfamiliar bacteria), probiotics can help boost your immune system with good bacteria.
Travelling usually means being off of your normal routine and eating different foods. I take a greens supplement with water to ensure I meet my nutrient requirements daily.
Make sure you are getting adequate rest.
Lack of sleep can have a major impact on your brain, hormones and immune system.
With hectic travel schedules, sometimes you won’t have control over the number of hours you’ll get to sleep – but if you can control the quality, I highly recommend doing so.
Create an ideal sleeping environment (dark, quiet and a cool temperature).
Travel with a sleep mask and ear plugs.
Avoid caffeine at least 4 hours before your bed time, as caffeine is a stimulant and can affect the quality of your sleep.
Experiencing jet lag symptoms?
Jet lag occurs when you travel quickly across time zones, resulting in a misalignment of circadian rhythms.
I don’t recommend taking Melatonin on a regular basis to manage your sleep cycle, as it’s basically hormone therapy and it can result in a hypothalamus-pituitary imbalance (which can lead to an array of other hormone imbalances)
It’s important to know that Melatonin is not a sleeping pill, but it works with your biological clock to regulate sleep.
We naturally produce melatonin within our bodies and release it according to the amount of light that is outside. Melatonin basically acts as a “darkness signal”, which is another reason why staring at the light on your cellphone before bed probably isn’t doing you any good.
If you are trying to reset your body clock to a later time due to flying east, you can take melatonin at the local bedtime (30 minutes prior to sleep) until you have become adapted to local time. Melatonin won’t be needed for westward travel.
Find time to get movement in daily.
I recommend exercising in the morning! Getting your body moving in the morning will release mood-boosting hormones, as well as result in a higher cortisol output. Cortisol should be naturally high in the morning and go down throughout the day. Not only can you correct your cortisol rhythm, but you can also promote a more restful sleep at night.
There’s not really a good excuse not to get movement in daily.
No gym at your hotel? You can always do a quick body weight workout.
Working out isn’t your thing? Instead of taking an uber or a cab, walk.
Take home message: Set yourself some non-negotiable standards and make your health a priority to ensure your travel is as enjoyable as possible.