Traveling can be fun, but when you’re going on long road trips or if you’re traveling often for work, it can be taxing on your body. You’re stuck inside your car for hours at a time, there’s little to no movement involved and you end up eating fast food more often than not. Still, there are things you can do to keep healthy and fit even when you’re traveling.
These 10 suggestions can help you stay in shape, even when you’re away from home for extended periods of time.
- Get Out and Move Around – Instead of driving as far as you can without stopping, leave yourself enough time to get out of the car every hour or two to walk around, stretch and just get out of the car. Being cooped up in such a small, cramped space will make your muscles stiff and can cause back pain as well, not to mention it leaves you completely sedentary for hours at a time. The best thing you can do is give yourself a break.
- Eat Your Own Snacks – Rather than chowing down on convenience store snacks that are loaded with fat, calories and additives, consider packing your own snacks for the road. Eating a bit here and there can help to keep your energy up and just pass the time while you’re driving, but it’s much better to nibble on fresh produce than to scarf down a bag of pork rinds. Also, keep a supply of water in your vehicle instead of grabbing a sugary drink at the gas station or rest stop.
- Avoid Fast Food – It may be difficult to do at times, but try to find healthier options than fast food. Or, if fast food is the “best” option at hand, try to eat off of the healthier side of the menu. Nowadays, restaurants are doing more to have options that don’t involve copious amounts of grease and fat. Try a salad or wrap instead of a burger and fries.
- “Exercise” While Driving – While it certainly doesn’t compare to an hour in the gym, there are some exercises you can do while you’re driving to mitigate some loss of tone. Butt clenches, curling your toes and even rolling your ankles will keep the blood flowing. You’ll also want to shift around every once in a while so that your legs don’t fall asleep or get cramps from lack of movement. Keeping hydrated will help keep those cramps away as well.
- Get Enough Sleep – It’s way too easy to push yourself as hard as you can to travel as long as possible each day in order to get more things in or to get to your destination faster. Still, one of the worst things you can do is skimp on the amount of sleep you get each night. Shorting yourself on sleep can be dangerous because it may make you sleepy in the middle of your drive. With the proper amount of sleep, you will be able to make it through your day without an unending feeling of exhaustion. Furthermore, a well-rested body is a healthier body.
- Use the Hotel Gym – Chances are, you are staying in a hotel while you’re on the road. Most hotels have a gym that is available for patrons to use. Take advantage of those facilities when you arrive, or first thing in the morning before you get on the road again. It’ll give you a boost of endorphins, allowing you to better get through your day. It’ll also help work off any extra calories you may have put on with that burger you couldn’t resist.
- Take a Swim – Not all hotels have gym facilities, but you’d be hard pressed to find one that doesn’t at least have a pool. Swimming is an effective cardio workout, and the resistance of the water can help to tone muscles back up that are starting to slack off after days of disuse.
- Use the Stairs – Instead of taking the elevator to your room at the hotel, use the stairs. Your muscles will thank you for it later. In fact, while you’re on the stairs, go up and down them a few times to work off the stagnancy of sitting for so long in the car.
- Stick to a Routine – The closer you hold to a regular routine, the better off you’ll be. Your body doesn’t adjust well to constant change. Eat your meals when you normally would if you were at home, go to bed at a decent hour and sleep for seven or eight hours a night.
- Explore – Whether you’re traveling for work or on a road trip, take time to explore the area. Walk around the city or take a hike through a nearby park. You’ll learn something about the community while keeping fit. If you don’t have time to explore, at least park farther away from the entrances of buildings in safe neighborhoods in order to fit in more walking time.
Look for ways to stay active on your trip in addition to those lifted here. If you can manage your luggage alone, carry it to hotel rooms yourself rather than tipping a hotel employee to do it for you. Fit a few push-ups or sit-ups in on the floor of your room. If you look hard enough, you may be surprised at the number of options available to you during travel time.