5 Ways to Stay Healthy When Traveling

5 Ways to Stay Healthy When Traveling

by Megan, selected from Experience Life

I don’t care what that old cliché says. Ask  anyone who travels on a regular  basis  and they’ll tell you: Getting there is  most definitely not half  the fun. At least  not if you’re a health-conscious person. Traveling, whether  for business  or pleasure, can wreak havoc on everything from  your meticulous  workout routine to your measured-down-to-the-last-carb          eating plan. The  result is a potential double whammy.  Not only do you feel less than your best   self while on your trip, you may also find that, upon  returning, you’ve lost  the motivation and momentum to return to your  healthy habits.

While keeping in shape and eating well on the road can be challenging,  it’s  far from impossible. Particularly if you’ve been more or less on  the straight  and narrow while at home. “If you’re already exercising,  eating right and  sleeping decently, you’ll have a solid foundation to  stay healthy and deal with  the stress you confront when traveling,” says  Alisa Cohn, an executive coach in  Brookline, Mass. So before you add  another mile to your frequent-flier tally,  heed the  following healthy-travel tips, which take you from pre-takeoff to   post-touchdown and everything in between.

Arrive in Good Shape Whether you’re going by plane,  train or automobile, you can usually  count on one thing: encountering some  surprises and setbacks. In terms  of logistics, it might be a delayed train, a  massive traffic jam or a  lost suitcase. In terms of your  personal regimen, it  might be a missed meal or an especially  uncomfortable hotel room. That’s no  reason to stay home, of course; you  just need to adjust your  everything-will-be- flawless expectations.

“Before you head out the door, accept that obstacles will pop up, and  have a  strategy to deal with them,” says Cohn. Long lines at the  airport? Bring  reading or listening materials (books on tape are ideal)  to pass the time. A  two-hour stop on the tarmac before you even take  off? Engage in a series of  deep breaths to center yourself, then pull  out a notebook and start writing  some of those long-put-off letters to  dear old friends.

Even if your trip is a best-case scenario, you need to be especially  mindful  of your physical health. If you’re flying, staying hydrated is  your No. 1  priority. Most plane cabins have between 10 and 20 percent  humidity, which puts  them on  a par with most of the world’s deserts. To counteract the  aridness,  which can sap your energy, squelch your immune system and slow  your blood flow,  drink half an ounce of water for every pound you  weigh, per day. (This formula  applies once you touch ground, too – the  more hydrated you are, the better your  body and mind will function.)

It might also be wise to bring your own supply of H2O; a recent study  from  the Environmental Protection Agency found that one in eight  airplanes – or  nearly 13 percent of the domestic and international  airline fleet – has water  that fails to meet U.S. safety standards.

Skip caffeine and alcohol, as they further dehydrate you. Instead, when  the  beverage cart comes around, ask for cranberry or orange juice.  “Cranberry juice  is full of antioxidants and is a quick boost to your  immune system,” says  Philip Goglia, founder of Performance Fitness  Concepts, a nutrition and fitness  clinic in Los Angeles. (It’s also full  of sugar, though, so don’t overdo it.)  An 8-ounce glass of orange juice  contains a solid dose of vitamin C (good for  immunity, which can suffer  during travel), plus 400 to 500 milligrams (mg) of  valuable potassium.  The body excretes excessive amounts  of potassium and  sodium during long flights, according to Johnson Space  Center researchers,  which can lead to decreased muscle strength and  diminished physical and mental  reflexes.

Or consider another good, low-cal drink option with a vitamin and  mineral  boost: Stow a few packets of Emer’-gen-C drink mix in your  carry-on. Pour a  packet in a big bottle of water before you take off and  you’ll have your  beverage needs handled for the entire flight.

Nowadays, the food on planes is as scarce as it is scary, so be sure to   bring along enough wholesome food and snacks to hold you over (pack some  snacks  for the airport, too, so those hubcap-size cinnamon buns or  king-size bags of  Fritos won’t tempt you). Strive for lighter and more  nutritious foods that can  handle a few hours without refrigeration, like  raisins, string cheese, trail  mix, individual packets of applesauce or a  pita filled with spinach and goat  cheese.

Because traveling requires long bouts of sitting, periodically standing  up,  walking around and stretching are vital to keeping your blood  flowing freely  and your body functioning optimally. On an airplane, you  should get up and move  around at least once an hour and, in a car, stop  at least every two hours for a  stretch break. If you’re stuck in your  seat, try to move your legs regularly.  Flex and point your toes, do  circles with your ankles, extend your legs at the  knees. For another  good seated stretch, place your left hand on the  middle of  your right thigh and twist your head, neck and back until you  feel a good  stretch in your back. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the  opposite side. Stay  active on the ground too: While waiting for your  flight, walk around the  concourse. You’ll have plenty of sitting time on  the plane.

Make Time to Sweat Once you reach your destination, you  might feel tired or  jet-lagged, but keep in mind that when you’re on the road,   exercise is the best way to keep your energy levels high and stress at bay, says  Suzanne Schlosberg, author of Fitness for Travelers: The Ultimate Workout  Guide for the Road (Houghton Mifflin, 2002). Also, when your days are  filled with  dawn-to-dusk business meetings or other activities, your exercise  time  might be the only peaceful moments you have to yourself.

To reap the benefits of exercise, though, you have to make it a priority  and  schedule it into your daily itinerary. “Doing it first thing in the  morning is  the best way to guarantee you’ll get a workout in,” says  Gregory Florez, a  personal trainer and spokesperson for the American  Council on Exercise.

  • If possible, book a hotel with at least a basic gym. No dice?  Use your  room. Bring along exercise bands, which can double as dumbbells  for weight  training, a Pilates ring, a yoga video or DVD (call ahead to  see if rooms have  VCRs or DVD players) or a jump rope.
  • Not into  packing your own equipment? Ask the front desk for a map of the  area  and recommendations for walking and running routes.
  • Bad weather? Hit the hotel stairs or do a strength routine in your room using just your body weight. Schlosberg recommends a circuit of pushups, triceps dips, back extensions, crunches (both regular and twisting, to work your obliques), lunges and heel raises. Do eight to 20 repetitions of each move.
  • Pack your fitness essentials: running or cross-training  shoes, socks, a  sweat- wicking shirt, shorts and, for women, a sports  bra. If you’ll be  exercising outside, depending on the temperature, you  might need sweatpants,  running tights, a windbreaker or heavier jacket, a  hat and a pair of gloves.  Don’t forget your heart-rate monitor. (OK, so  you may have to pack an extra  bag, but it will be worth it.)
  • If  you’re a dedicated exerciser who follows a tried-and-true routine,   reset your expectations for workouts on the road. An all-or-nothing  attitude is  nothing but trouble when time is tight and so many factors  are out of your  control. “Aim to maintain – not improve – your fitness  level,” advises  Florez.
  • If you have only 30  minutes, and you’re used to an hourlong workout, dial  up the intensity by adding intervals to cardio sessions.
  • One  last tip: Schedule a quick workout as soon as you arrive. It will help   you lose that restless, groggy feeling you get from sitting too long,  and it  will also improve your chances of sleeping well that night. Try  to arrive early  enough so you can check into your room, drop your  luggage and don your workout  wear. It doesn’t have to be a long workout –  even 15 minutes will make a huge  difference. “But doing it right away  is critical,” says Florez, “otherwise,  your chances of exercising  dissipate dramatically. Once you begin to check  email, switch on the TV  or start making arrangements with friends or   colleagues, it’s all over.”

Eat Right and Often With a Burger King beckoning at  every freeway exit and  airport concourse, and executive-dining establishments  serving up giant  portions of heavy food, traveling can set you up for weight  gain. The  key here is to be strategic, and to use the support systems at your   disposal.

The cardinal rule: Don’t wait to eat until you’re really hungry. “If you  do,  it’s a guarantee you’ll overeat when you get the chance,” says  nutritionist  Goglia. In the morning, don’t leave your hotel without  eating an energizing,  healthy breakfast. Goglia advises setting up a  standing room-service delivery  of oatmeal or eggs and fresh fruit. On  your day of arrival, ask that it be  delivered at a specific time every  morning, so you don’t have to think of it  the night before. If you know  that stopping for lunch might not be possible,  request a box lunch –  like a grilled chicken sandwich, fresh fruit and an  oatmeal cookie – to  be delivered when your breakfast arrives.

When you head out for the day, bring along a few  nutritious snacks – such as  raw almonds, raisins, apples, bananas or  oranges – and munch on them throughout  the day to fend off hunger  attacks. Room service not an option? Hit the local  grocery store and  load up on bananas, apples, trail mix, whole-grain crackers,  bottled  water and other nonperishables to keep in your room. Don’t be afraid to  offload some of the stuff in your minibar to make space for your  self-supplied  yogurt, juice or hardboiled eggs.

At dinner, the trick is to avoid getting stuffed with oversized servings   that can exacerbate jet lag and other digestive woes. Begin with a  broth-based  soup, salad or veggie-based appetizer, advises Chris  Filardo, MS, RD, of the  Produce for Better Health Foundation in  Wilmington, Del.

“Studies have shown that you eat about the same volume of food every  day,”  she says, “but the caloric content can vary greatly based on the  choices you  make, so fill up with low-density salad and soup before  diving into your more  substantial entrée.”

If you’re not particularly hungry, consider ordering two appetizers in  place  of an entrée (of course, if all they have is popcorn shrimp and  buffalo wings,  don’t bother). If you’re up for both dinner and dessert,  play a game of  if/then: If you’re craving a huge steak, order one – but  then choose berries or  similar fruit for dessert. If you’re drooling  over a slab of chocolate cake,  have it – but go with grilled fish and  steamed veggies for your entrée.

Catch Some Z’s Sleep is as vital to your health as  proper exercise and nutrition, but  it’s a much less tangible goal when  traveling. “You can’t will yourself  to go to sleep if you’re not tired,” says  B. T. Westerfield, MD,  president of the Kentucky Sleep Society. You can,  however, lower the  barriers to a good night’s slumber, which include, among  other things,  jet lag, an uncomfortable pillow and external noise.

When it comes to jet lag, realize that for every time zone you travel   through, it generally takes your body a day to adjust. Going from  Chicago to  Minneapolis won’t throw you out of whack, but flying from  Philadelphia to  Seattle will. If it’s possible, plan on arriving a day  or two before any big  meetings so you can adjust, advises Westerfield.  There are also some measures  you can take to minimize jet lag.

  • About  a week before your trip, adjust your schedule at home to slowly   integrate the new time zone. If you’re flying from the East Coast to the  West  Coast, for instance, stay up an hour later than normal. (If you’re  flying in  the opposite direction, get up an hour earlier than usual.)
  • On  travel day, try to schedule your flight so you arrive in the early   evening and then stay up until 10 p.m. If that’s not possible, and you  arrive  in the morning or afternoon and need a nap, take one no longer  than two hours,  and no closer than five hours before bedtime. You might  also try an  anti-jet-lag homeopathic remedy ( www.nojetlag.com) or anti-jet-lag diet ( www.antijetlagdiet.com) for additional support.
  • If  you have trouble sleeping that first night or two, you can opt for a   natural sleep aid like melatonin. Take 3 mg to 5 mg about three hours  before  you wish to sleep,  suggests Westerfield. Several studies have found that  melatonin can be  effective for preventing or reducing jet lag, particularly for  crossing  five or more time zones and when traveling east, according to the   National Sleep Foundation.
  • Exercise before you travel and right  when you arrive, according to a  University of Toronto study. Also soak  up some sun as soon as you land. Natural  sunlight is the best way to  reset your internal clock.
  • At night, follow your usual bedtime  routine, says Eileen McGill, the sleep  concierge at New York City’s  Benjamin Hotel. “If you always read or shower  before bed, do the same  thing on the road,” she says. And bring some  personal  items from home to re-create your regular environment. If  you’re attached to a  pillow from home, pack it. Bring a favorite,  soothing bedside picture and some  lavender essential oil to freshen a  stale-smelling room and scent your linens  before bed.
  • If you’re a  sensitive sleeper, consider accessories like an eye mask to  block out  light and a sound machine to  provide a soothing background of “white  noise.” Foam earplugs have saved  many a traveler located too close to a noisy  ice machine, elevator or  intersection.
  • If you’re tense, take a warm bath to work out the kinks. Finally, ask for an  extra blanket and then set the  thermostat to a sleep-enhancing mid-60s, advises  McGill. A too-hot room will have you tossing all night.

Aim for a Righteous Reentry You’ve successfully survived  your trip and are on the way home. But  don’t make the mistake of thinking that  your trip ends when you walk  through the door and plunk your luggage down. You  need to make a smooth  transition into your regular life, and that requires some  forethought.

Try to allow yourself a day for reentry into the real world before  returning  to work. For example, if you have to work on Monday, then come  home on  Saturday. If you are returning  to a significant other or small children, stop  thinking about work on  the trip home from the airport and focus on the people  who will greet  you. “If your kids or your spouse tumble out of the house to  meet you,  and you’re still working in your head, that’ll just cause unneeded   aggravation,” says Libby Mills, a Philadelphia-based lifestyle coach.

If you’ll be coming home to an empty house, straighten it up before you   leave (being greeted by chaos and dirty dishes is a huge energy drain).  Have  some kind of quick, healthy meal available, like an organic frozen  dinner or  pasta with steamed vegetables, so you’re not tempted to call  Domino’s. Drink a  big glass of water to rehydrate and go for a 20- to  40-minute brisk walk to  clear your head.

If you’ve traveled long or far, give yourself a break when it comes to   diving back into your regular fitness routine, advises personal trainer  Florez.  You may be unmotivated or jet-lagged for the first few days, and  pushing  yourself too hard could backfire, sapping your energy and  lowering your  immunity. “On your first day back, aim for half your  normal workout and  remember to devote a good amount of time to  stretching,” says Florez.  “Stretching helps work out muscle tension and  the accumulated physical and  mental stress that come with travel.”

For the next two to three days, strive for 10 to 15 percent less intensity  than your usual routine, then resume your  regular sessions at full strength.  “However, if you’re feeling unusual fatigue or muscle soreness, dial it back  again for  at least two more days,” Florez says. Otherwise, you risk  both  additional fatigue and an injury, which could set you back significantly.

The last step: Take stock of what went well on your  trip, and what could  have gone better. Were there specific  things you wished you had brought along  or planned for? Keep a running  pack-and-plan travel list on your  computer,  then adjust it following each voyage. Tape the list to your  carry-on so you’ll  have it on hand when you prepare to go again.

Prepare well, harvest your own insight, heed your own advice and, before  long, you’ll have healthy travel down to a science.

Dimity McDowell is a freelance writer who specializes in sports and  fitness.

And Father’s Day This Month – Father’s Day gift ideas for grown-ups

What to give to Dad when you’ve moved beyond the construction paper stage of your life.

By Stephanie Rogers
 
Thanking Dad for all he’s done for you doesn’t have to stop at a greeting card and a gift-wrapped tie. But coming up with fresh, unique ideas for Father’s Day gifts can be hard, especially when you’ve outgrown homemade construction paper cards. Instead of focusing on expensive material gifts or worrying about how to outdo your siblings, think about fun ways that you can surprise your father or spend time with him, even if you don’t live close enough for a visit. Here are 10 fun Father’s Day activitiesand gift ideas for grown children.

 
1. Treat him to his favorite things. If you live near your Dad and can spend the day with him, taking him out to enjoy his favorite activity is hands-down the best way to spend Father’s Day. Whether you just tag along on a fishing trip or organize an all-day outing of picnics and paintball, having you there with him will make it more special.
 
2. Give him a new experience. Maybe your father has always wanted to go to a music festival or a wine-tasting tour. Perhaps he’s been harboring a secret desire to learn how to paint or to visit a nearby town. Talk to him before Father’s Day arrives and try to glean some inside info that will help you craft a plan of action. We tend to focus on childhood memories when we think of our parents, but we should never stop making new ones.
 
3. Take a spa day. A gift certificate to a spa is traditionally more of a Mother’s Day gift, but who says men don’t want to be pampered? There’s nothing quite like a massage for sore muscles, or a nice soak in a mineral tub. He could even get an old-fashioned professional shave. Group relaxation time is great for bonding, too.
 
4. Do all of his chores. If your father is too busy to take the day off and spend time with you or to relax at home, help him eliminate some of his chores. Arrange to have the lawn mowed, or to have somebody else take care of his errands. Swing by and do all of the things around the house that take up the most of his time. At the very least, he’ll be able to kick back for a day — and that can be priceless.
 
5. Send him a video card. Live too far away to visit? Record a video greeting. This is especially fun if you can get together with your siblings, or if you have children who’d like to participate. Recount a funny story from your childhood, or just send a sincere message of love and gratitude.
 
6. Organize a video chat. If you can’t get home and a telephone call just isn’t enough, plan to meet via Apple FaceTime, Skype or video conferencing software. Few Father’s Day activities are as rewarding as a simple chat, and it’s nice to see each other’s faces.
 
7. Create a custom photo album. If you’ve got the time, going through old photographs to choose your favorite memories of your father and put them in a special album can be very rewarding. If you want to keep the originals, scan them and them use an online photo service like Shutterfly.com to design and print a custom photo book.
 
8. Create a montage of home videos. Many of us have drawers full of old VHS tapes or even film reels taken when we were kids. Among all of the long, boring clips of dance recitals and Christmas mornings are bound to be some funny and touching gems. If you’re tech-literate, you can likely learn how to transfer these moments onto a DVD or digital medium, or you can take it all to a video editing company.
 
9. Put together a personalized basket of goodies. Does Dad really need another generic gift basket full of stale crackers and salted meats? Give the standard Father’s Day gift basket a little more thought. Purchase an empty basket and fill it with things your Dad likes — specific foods, wine, movies, gift cards and small objects that will make him smile.
 
10. Try your hand at something creative. So maybe you’re not an artist, and you’re long beyond the age when a clay handprint is an acceptable Father’s Day gift. But something made with your own hands is just as meaningful now as it was when you were 10. Doodle, paint, sculpt or sew. If it results in a horrific mess, all the better — it will get a laugh.
 

 

Hey There World! How Ya’ Doing?

Hello people! How’s it going today? Me? Don’t ask. But I will tell you anyway, lol! I am sorry there are no horoscopes and dailys today. I got up this morning as usual at the crack of dawn. When I was getting ready to go feed the critters, my husband wanted to know if I wanted to go to town. If you don’t go to town with him, he will spend every penny he has and looking to me for more. Needless to say, we have separate checking and savings accounts. So I told him to give me a little bit and I would go too. Don’t tell anyone but I took my time feeding the critters. When I got to the cute adorable little baby wildcats, I couldn’t help myself. I had to stop and play with them.  Two of them will crawl all over me, the third is starting to come around. It is hilarious how I am getting him to come around too. You know the hissing noise they make at you. Well I got so tired of hearing that from him, I started hissing back at him. Everytime he looks at me, I hiss. He doesn’t know what to think. But he is coming closer and closer with each visit. I heard some bellowing my name, it was my husband tracking me down. My daughter told me if anything every happened to me, daddy would go crazy. I am beginning to think she is right. So I started toward the house and met up with him. He informed me I had taken longer than what I said I was going too. I apologized and got ready to go to town.

He wanted to know if I wanted to drive or him. He had a real bad car wreck and he really doesn’t want to drive anymore. The fool that hit him was going so fast that he hit my Explorer twice and almost folded it up. The factory hinges that hold the seat beat and the door were ripped out of the metal. Hubby was throwed about 100 yards down a concrete road. This all happened when both of them were going to work. Since then he is not sure of himself driving. He doesn’t remember any of the wreck (which is probably a good thing). But I always push him to drive and he does a good job of it. So now we are off to town…….I can sit back and enjoy the scenery. We ran a couple of errands and then all of a sudden hubby had to go to Lowe’s.  I thought perhaps he needed something for the deck. Boy did I get fooled. He bought an electric air compressor. Suprise! Suprise! Suprise! Ok, he has his air compressor, my turn, WRONG! We had a bad storm come through here and it torn down my umbrella clothes line. Well since then I have been aiming to get a new one. I asked the clerk if they had them and he told me, yes and even gave me the aisle number. I started heading for the aisle with his compressor in the cart. He walked up to me and told me, “we had to go because he thought he had to go to the little boy’s room.” He had been fine up to the time I wanted to find my item. Then all of a sudden we got to go. I flew to the checkout and he knew he had pissed me off. All the way home I didn’t say a word to him, except “Turn here, I need some catfood.” We were stopping at the new Dollar Store they built and payback is a bitch, lol! I told him I would be just a minute. I was going to run in and get cat food and run right back out. I walked in the store, got a cart and enjoyed the A/C. It’s in the 90’s today. Hot! I strolled down every isle.. This Dollar Store is like a super Dollar Store.  It is nice big and has everything you could imagine. I love it. I think I was in there about 30 minutes. I figured that he would come in the store to see what had happened to me but he didn’t. I checked out and had a cart full of stuff. He wanted to know where I was going to put everything. I told him I hadn’t thought about that, I guess he will just have to walk home.

Thank the Goddess we finally made it home. We unloaded the truck and got everything inside. It was about 3:30 then. I figure you didn’t need to read a horoscopes because what has happened has happened. Please accept my apologizes for no dailys. I will get back to normal tomorrow, I promise! Later on I am going to add a new God page and put some other info on, to make up for me being bad, lol! I hope you have and had a wonderful day! Love to you all!