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How to stay healthy while traveling

Photo courtesy of: Max Pixel (FreeGreatPicture.com). Labeled for reuse.

Our readers aren’t just culturally mobile; they make up a dominant portion of the more than one billion people who travel internationally each year. Organizations including the International Society of Travel Medicine and the Center for Disease Control report various health risks for frequent travellers. We’ve gathered a few tips from fellow globe traversers to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle while you see the world.

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Research the destination

Nichole Cruz, a lifelong athlete, fitness professional and current flight attendant, revealed her top strategies for staying “healthy and fit on the road.” Her career as a flight attendant has taken her to England, the United States, Sweden, Canada, New Zealand, Brazil, Australia, China and Japan. Cruz likes to know if the destination is “walkable, if there are healthy (vegan) restaurants nearby and/or grocery stores so that I can purchase my own food.” Solely relying on meals from hotels or restaurants can result in less healthy options, according to Cruz. 

Set yourself up for success
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Select a hotel with an on-site fitness center for a convenient way to get your workout in. “It eliminates any excuses for not working out while away from home,” Cruz said. If there is no fitness center at your hotel, Cruz suggested finding “gyms, parks, running trails and other workout options” that keep you active. “My best exploration of New Zealand was during a jog around the city of Auckland,” Cruz remembered. Packing portable equipment such as a jump rope, resistance bands, TRX suspension trainers and core sliders allows for exercise in hotel rooms or small spaces. 

Sleep strategically

Don’t let new time zones mess up your sleep schedule. “If you’re flying a long way with a different time zone, then you should sleep on the plane when it’s night time at your final destination,” Karissa Harris recommended. Harris has lived on six continents as a missionary kid and loves to explore new places with her family. She added, “don’t be afraid to get up and move throughout the flight” to keep your body in motion during long journeys.

Stay hydrated

Don’t let the symptoms of dehydration impact your global travel. “Staying hydrated is critically important for your organs, skin and digestive system,” Cruz noted. She has witnessed many people “pass out, get dizzy and get sick on the airplane due to dehydration.” Despite restrictions on liquids in security and customs, there are many locations within airports to purchase water.

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Preparing food for travel “allows me to eat on a semi-regular schedule, eat food that I know is healthy and agrees with my stomach,” Cruz admitted. Keeping your diet fairly consistent with clean foods will help provide your body with a stable internal environment while travelling. She carries her food in an oversized lunch box that enables her to carry up to three days’ worth of food. Keep in mind any food restrictions while travelling internationally to avoid transporting any banned foods between countries which can result in fines.

Stay motivated

With a highly mobile lifestyle, Cruz is “often jetlagged, exhausted, sore and simply drained from travel” by the time she arrives at her destination. When feeling exhausted, it is easy to skip physical activity, but many forms of exercise can alleviate the physical impacts of travel. “A workout or even just a walk” usually helps Cruz feel better when she is having any digestive issues.

Know your limits

Mika Ahobrechc, a missionary kid who grew up throughout Southeast Asia, stressed acknowledging the physical toll that travelling can have on your body. To avoid overdoing it, Ahobrechc said that it is important to “know your limits” but still “embrace the best parts” of the place you are visiting. Her adventurous spirit can be exhausted when she crams too many activities into one trip or day.

Listen to your body

Cruz said it is essential to listen to your body and respond to what it’s asking for. Letting your body catch up on sleep or recharge is “truly critical to maintaining my fitness routine.” 

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Have fun

Colombian born journalist, writer, author and frequent traveller, Nohemí Molano Lewis, offered her travel tips. Molano Lewis said eating well and getting plenty of rest are at the top of the list, but “most of all have fun!”

Enjoy life

“Part of health is happiness,” Cruz claimed. “The more engaged in life and laughter,” the healthier your mind, body and spirit will be. Travelling provides great opportunities for fun activities that bring excitement and inspiration to life.

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