Healthy Travel Tips

Whether you’re a frequent business traveller or take your only trip during the hectic holiday season, these 5 tips will help your body maintain 

  1. Hydrate. Years ago, I read somewhere that you should drink 1L of water for every hour you’re in the air. Yes – you read that right – 4 cups for every hour! I tried it once on a flight from Frankfurt to Cape Town and I must say I felt like a rockstar once we landed (and it wasn’t because of all the exercise going from my seat to the washroom over the 11 hour flight)!  Part of the reason you should increase water consumption while flying is because reduced oxygen plus low humidity found in a plane can result in rapid dehydration (almost 1 cup of water lost per hour). Since water is required for every cell in the body to function, the resulting dehydration can disrupt every system in your body.  
    • Since 4 cups per hour is not realistic for most, I recommend aiming for 1-2 cups per hour of air travel.
    • In addition, drink 10-12 glasses per day (try to get 1-2 glasses in before breakfast).
    • If you’re drinking alcohol on a plane (not recommended), I’d aim for at least 1 cup of water for every serving of alcohol consumed. This means that if you’re drinking an alcoholic drink every hour, you need to be drinking at least 2-3 cups of water per hour.
  2. Move for at least 30 minutes everyday. Just because you’re on a holiday or away from home doesn’t mean you get a free pass to skip out on exercise. Why? Because exercise is a means to manage stress-induced blood sugar and keep your lymphatic system pumping so it can help you stay healthy!
    • Important to remember is that all forms of movement count – a brisk walk around the block, 5-10 minutes of strength training exercises done in your hotel room, or 10 minutes of stretching before bed – all of these forms of movement count!
    • Try to get a mix of cardio, strength and flexibility every day, and to keep your muscles limber during travel, be sure to get up and move around the plane/train/ferry or take regular breaks if on a road trip. 
  3. Breathe. Most people suck at breathing. Why? Because instead of breathing outward into their abdominals,  they breathe too much upward into their shoulders/neck. This causes tension in the neck and shoulders but also keeps the 100 trillion cells in the body from getting the maximum amount of oxygen they need. What does this mean? It means people need to learn how to consciously breathe through their diaphragms and abdominals.
    • Personally, one of my favourite places to practice deep breathing is on a plane.
    • Use a guided meditation, do some breathing on your own or use a technique like the 4-7-8 Relaxation Exercise.
    • 5-10 minutes daily and you’ll be that much closer to calming your nervous system, balancing hormones, and effectively dealing with chronic stress.
  4. Order extra veggies. Most people get more than enough protein, fruit, fat, and starchy carbohydrates, but very few consume the required minimum of 5 servings of vegetables each day.  
    • Whether dining in or out, always ask for an extra serving of vegetables. And the more you fall off the healthy wagon (drinking or eating too much) while travelling, the more vegetables you should eat. 
  5. Manage jet lag with melatonin. Referred to as the “Dracula Hormone”, melatonin levels are lowest during midday, but peak at night (when Dracula is up and about). Thus, when travelling, melatonin can help you get into the next zone’s sleep/nighttime schedule quickly. 
    • Generally, melatonin is taken about 20-30 minutes before bed and I’d recommend taking 0.5-1.0 mg to start since taking too much can actually cause the reverse reaction and keep you awake or cause sleep disturbances. 

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