Long term travel can play havoc with our bodies. So, if your health regime has suffered on a long journey, or looks likely to suffer if you’ve just embarked on your travels, you need to know how to stay healthy. When you’re overseas with so much to fit into your day, it’s too easy to let things slide and just grab a milkshake and hot chips or munch on the biscuits served with afternoon tea, rather than eat something healthier. As far as exercise goes, unless you’re on a long trek in the wilderness or lavishing in a health spa, you might be tempted to lessen the time you spend working out or walking. Travelling for long periods can throw your body’s rhythm out of whack, so you tend to gain kilos, and if you think it’s hard to stick to your healthy eating habits and your exercise program at home, it’s near impossible on the road. But it can be done:
Set Up Little Fitness Goals You Can Reach
Have a fitness goal for a day or a week and write it down, because this encourages you to stick to them, or try doing your exercises every second day which lets you laze about for a day if you’ve had a rigorous train ride or been on a bumpy road in a crowded bus. Or you could do yoga on one day and aerobics the next. Watch a Youtube exercise or yoga video for inspiration. If all else fails, just run for 10 minutes on a beach or walk somewhere and see where it takes you. Staying fresh and alert is possible if you get enough rest and relaxation, and can fall asleep easily. Don’t give up on your meditation practice, either. This will help you to relax and sleep.
Get Up Early and Try not to Drink Too Much Alcohol
While it’s probably not an easy thing to do, cutting your alcohol consumption while travelling will help you control those calories and you will feel a lot better overall. Try drinking mineral water or iced tea instead and it will make it so much easier to get up in the morning without a hangover. Get up at six every morning, and go out into the village, city or wherever you find yourself, and explore. Watch the sun come up and see how everything comes alive around you. It can be exhilarating and invigorating as you watch how the culture operates, and you will start to follow it. Go and see how the community functions; find some art classes, or laughing yoga, try dancing – if in Cuba learn to Tango! Go fishing, diving, swimming, Tai Chi, or whatever the locals are doing.
Don’t forget to pack a hand sanitiser for those days when there just isn’t anywhere to give them a wash in hot soapy water. And keeping your hands clean is crucial while travelling so you avoid the many illnesses that you can pick up along the way. While your travel doctor will advise the hot soapy water method, there are times when it isn’t available so the next best thing is an alcohol-based sanitiser as either a liquid or a cloth. Use it before you eat or handle food, before a meal, after using the toilet, handling items in market stalls or after using the ATM. Also, never eat raw salads, boil water or use an effective purifier, and only eat fruit if you can peel it.
Get Your Vaccines Before You Leave
Providing you’ve had all your vaccinations and you start out healthy, there’s no reason for you not to stay that way with a little common sense and care. For instance, if you haven’t had your rabies shot and it’s endemic in the place you’re visiting, don’t touch any animals and know what to do in case of a potential exposure (urgent first aid and treatment needed). No petting dogs, or feeding monkeys, and if you’re in the United States, remember that the rabies virus is found in bats, raccoons, skunks, coyotes, and foxes, so, especially if you see a sick one, stay very clear. Of course, the best prevention is vaccination, so see your travel doctor before you leave and eat healthy meals, exercise and above all have FUN!