It’s vacation season, and for many, that means visiting far away friends, exploring new places and possibly even crossing some things off the old bucket list.
Unfortunately, traveling often also means lots of sitting, interrupted sleep patterns due to time zone changes, unhealthy eating, and workout routines that are sporadic, if not nonexistent.
According to Carrolton physical therapist Nisha Mathews, however, travel does not have to be synonymous with unhealthy habits and a lack of exercise.
“Vacations are a time to reboot mentally while reconnecting with friends and family, but this doesn’t have to happen at the expense of your health,” said Mathews, clinic director of Elevate Physical Therapy and Vista Rehat Partners, a partnership of 20 physical therapy clinics in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. “With just a little forethought and planning, you can stay active and healthy throughout your trip, whether it lasts a few days or a few weeks.”
Keeping your fitness route on track while traveling
So, for the purpose of planning, Mathews offers the following tips for staying fit and healthy while traveling:
Plan Around an Activity: Don’t just plan your vacation around a place. Consider making one or a series of activities central to your agenda. For instance, plan to go on some hiking tours, try snorkeling for the first time, or make the vacation a family camping trip.
Keep Moving En Route: Whether you’re flying or driving, you’re going to likely do a lot of sitting and waiting during the front and back ends of your trip. So, capitalize on breaks in your trip to go for short walks, do some stretching, or warm the body through some dynamic exercises (i.e., lunges, light jogging, arm/leg swings, etc.)
Explore on Foot/Bike: Once you’re at your new destination, resolve to explore the area on foot, either by jogging a new route each morning or taking regular walking tours of the area. Or, see the sites from the seat of a rented bike.
Strength Train Using Body Weight: Even though you’re likely to be in an unfamiliar place with little to no gym access, don’t let that keep you from strength training. Whether in your hotel room or at a local park, your body weight provides ideal resistance while doing lunges, dips, push-ups, planks, and so on.
Stay Hydrated: When you’re out of your element and distracted by new people and places, hydration habits can go awry. Carry a reusable water bottle with you at all times as a reminder to hydrate continually throughout the day, and consume sugary and/or alcoholic drinks in moderation.