How to Stay on Track with Your Diet and Exercise while Travelling
Travelling can pretty easily throw you off your health and fitness regime, but don't worry - we've got you covered!
In times of budget airlines, active encouragement of mobility at university and work, fast-growing general curiosity about the world, and constant desire for adventures, we travel more than ever. Late night flights, staying at low-budget B&Bs and hostels, being in a never-ending hustle to see and experience as much as possible - it can all pretty easily throw us off our health and fitness regime. Who has the time to go to the gym and prepare a nutritious, well-balanced meal when there is a museum to visit, a concert to attend, and a local restaurant with deliciously unhealthy treats to try out? How to make sure that you stay on track with your health and fitness routine and not miss out on any of the fun? We’ve got you covered.
Plan your meals.
It will for sure take some planning, a little bit of imagination, and ability to adapt. If you know that you are going to be out of your accommodation for the entire day, you need to think about your food options in advance. Check for local, healthy restaurants - their prices and rating. If there is nothing interesting on your route, you might consider stopping by a market and grabbing a fresh, ready-to-eat salad (make sure to view the ingredients and the nutrient value first!) or, better yet – prepare a tasty lunch at home and take it with you. It might be especially useful when you are going to be travelling all day - who wants to eat overpriced, poor quality airport food when you can have a nice salad or a sandwich you made at home instead? Don’t worry – it doesn’t mean that you won’t get to enjoy any of the local cuisines! Try to pick healthier dishes, but don’t feel bad for treating yourself to an original French pastry, Spanish churros or deliciously greasy British fish and chips. Just as long as you don’t do it ALL. THE. TIME.
Try “accidental exercise”.
What hides under this mysterious name are all the ways you can get your heart pumping and muscles working, without stepping a foot in the gym! Travelling and working out don’t necessarily go together, but there are plenty of ways to stay on track with your weekly exercises; all it takes is a little bit of flexibility. When sightseeing always opts for walking or biking – there is nothing more tiring than 20km walks around Barcelona or an all-day climb along picturesque Upper-Austrian hills. Another useful tip is trying out local attractions to stay active throughout your holidays – anything from horse riding to beach volleyball or water sports will do. Such a change in your regular exercise routine might prove extremely effective and leave your muscles sore for days! Whatever you decide to do, remember to have fun with it!
This might be the hard one. Travelling can easily disturb your sleep pattern, and sleep is one of the most crucial aspects of a healthy and balanced lifestyle. You can’t work out effectively if you are exhausted. There are time-zone changes, connecting flights, and overnight bus rides that will get in the way of your rest. Not everyone is able to fall asleep on a plane, bus or train. If you are one of those people, you might find it helpful to just keep your eyes closed and try to relax. Even if you don’t manage to fall asleep, your organism will wind down a bit not leaving you feeling exhausted at the end of your journey. Changing a time zone is a pretty obvious sleep disruptor, and there are multiple articles with advice on how to deal with that (this one, for example). However, you might also find it hard on your body when you travel within the same time zone. Staying in a new place, a different climate, and overall excitement – all of those can leave you wide awake in the middle of the night. The key is to try not to compensate for the lack of sleep throughout the day. Too much napping will most likely result in you not being tired enough in the evening and thus not able to fall asleep, again.
Good support is the key!
It is very important to have support and understanding of your travel companions. Even if they decide not to follow the same regime, you should make sure that they are aware of your customs and that they will accept them instead of nagging you every time you buy vegetables on a local market or look for a bike to rent instead of hopping on a bus. Talk to your friends and state your priorities. If you focus on eating healthily and staying active, you will always find the means to do so. It doesn’t mean you are giving up on other things – you are simply choosing different options. In the end, it is all about your health and well-being, and who knows - maybe you will even manage to convince someone else to lead a healthier lifestyle?