Anyone keen on keeping fit or losing weight will recognize the challenge that trips away from home pose. Not only do vacations and holidays cause disruption to carefully considered exercise and weight-loss routines, but they often dangle endless temptations in the face of a traveler. In addition to taking all or most of your meals in restaurants or on the go, you’re also, more often than not, presented with a parade of enticing local delicacies. Business travelers, meanwhile, face the prospect of entertaining and being entertained by clients. Travelers in search of relaxation, for their part, can’t help but give in to the temptation of poolside drinks or nights on the town. All in all, traveling and keeping fit can be difficult to reconcile. But this doesn’t have to be the case.
When you’re away from home and your usual routine, food and drink are all too often the real killers. During travel especially, it’s difficult to spurn treats and stick to healthy eating. Who can resist the snacks on a plane? Or a fast food break during an airport layover. Or treats in the car to help pass the time during a long drive? If you know you’re going to be traveling for a long period, you may want to consider taking along your own healthy snacks. A piece of fruit or some nuts, for example, can help you avoid the temptation to snack on less healthy foods. Jet lag, in particular, can cause you to want to snack between meals, as your body may think it’s time to eat even though it isn’t. Until your body has adjusted to your new schedule, consider keeping small, healthy snacks on hand to tide you over to the next regular meal.
Once you’ve arrive at your destination, don’t be tempted to taste every local delicacy. Rather, choose one or two items which sound particularly good and spurn the rest. After all, at home those local treats are just that, treats, not something you eat everyday. Meanwhile, if you know that you’re going to be indulging in a particular treat during the day, why not try cutting back during the day’s other meals? Visiting local food markets is an excellent way to sample the local culture and cuisine. An added bonus, is that the food tends to be healthier than many other options and is generally served in smaller portions.
If you’re staying at a hotel with breakfast included, load up during that meal and then skip lunch. The early dinner which follows will be a much healthier option than a later meal which your body will have less time to digest before sleep. Remember too that you don’t have to take every meal in a restaurant. Substitute the occasional meal out with a store-bought salad, for example. Or if you do find yourself eating out for every meal, occasionally opt for a lighter course, or skip the starter or dessert. If you have the option, you could also consider staying in places which provide kitchen facilities. That way you can cook your own healthier meals and avoid the need to eat out for every meal.
On holiday, especially watch your alcohol intake. Whether out on the town or beside the pool, try to alternate alcoholic drinks with bottles of water or soft drinks. Remember also that tropical drinks can contain lots of sugar. Consider them a treat rather than a way to quench your thirst in the sun and try to stop at only one or two.
In addition to its effects on your diet, traveling can also play havoc with an exercise routine. But being away from home doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t stay fit. If your hotel is equipped with a gym or a pool, make sure that you take advantage of these. Try visiting the facilities early in the morning, that way you can ensure that you get some exercise before the fatigue of a day spent in business meetings or touring the sights sets in. Morning exercise is also a good way to help overcome any jet lag you may be experiencing. Remember too, if there are no workout facilities where you’re staying, you can always do bodyweight exercises in your room or, at the very least, make a point of taking the stairs rather than elevator.
If you regularly run at home, why not take your gear along with you and take to the streets of your destination? You’ll not only be keeping fit, but you’ll also be seeing the sights while you run. Likewise walk rather than take taxis or public transport when you’re out and about, if at all possible. Or why not go on a bicycle or walking tour? If you’re staying at the beach and don’t fancy a swim, remember that jogging on the sand is also excellent exercise and, if you’ve forgotten your running shoes, can be done barefoot. If you’re a keen yoga enthusiast at home, meanwhile, a beach makes an ideal setting for a session. Wherever you find yourself, why not make a point of trying out some new exercise activity? Examples could include hiking, kayaking, cycling or rock climbing. You’ll be getting in some exercise while also partaking in a fun activity which will help make for a memorable trip.
The most important thing is not to give in completely to the “I’m on holiday” mentality. Yes, enjoy your time away from your normal routine, and by all means partake of the good food and drinks on offer. But remember, refraining from overindulging and finding a way to squeeze some exercise into your travels, will mean that excess pounds are one souvenir you won’t be bringing back home.