Health Advice for Regular Air Travelers

January 12, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

If you fly often, you might feel yourself starting to get run down after a busy week of travel. It’s a lot harder to take care of yourself when you’re on the road…you don’t have all the familiar trappings of home: your bed, your kitchen, your gym.

But there are ways to stay active and healthy when you’re traveling. I should know — I’ve struggled with a lot of the same health concerns other frequent business travelers do: exercise and diet. Here are a few tips to help you live healthier on the go as a business traveler:

Exercise

I’m not talking about doing jumping jacks in the aisles or crunches in the lavatory. But there are plenty of ways to keep active during a busy day of travel beyond running from one delayed flight to another.

The security line is a great place to start: Do little stretches or neck rolls while you’re waiting to get through TSA. And before your flight, instead of sitting at the gate checking your BlackBerry, take a quick walk around the terminal if you have time.

Deep-vein thrombosis, also called “economy class syndrome,” can cause deadly blood clots in travelers on long flights. Keeping moving as much as possible — even in those cramped quarters of the airplane — will help you avoid things like this. When the captain turns off the “Fasten Seat Belts” light, use that freedom to move about the cabin. Even getting up to grab something from the overhead compartment or walking back to the lavatory makes an important difference.

Common culinary fruits.

You don’t have to eat all this stuff, but one or two pieces on the way to the airport would help. (Image via Wikipedia)

Diet

If you’re in a morning rush at the airport, even if the bulk of your meal is a Danish or huge cup of coffee, sneak in an apple, orange or banana at breakfast when you can — these are fairly easy to find in most airports. Same goes for salads at lunch. Adding in healthier options like fruits, vegetables and whole grains is more important than completely overhauling the way you eat when you travel. Nobody’s perfect!

If you find yourself hitting the airport convenience store on a regular basis for chips or candy bars, consider saving a little extra money and cutting unnecessary calories by keeping a little stock of granola bars, energy bars, fruit bars, or other healthy on-the-go snacks when a craving hits.

One final note: Planes are notoriously dry — with a humidity level of 10 to 20 percent, much lower than typical indoor humidity of 30 to 65 percent — and staying hydrated is so important. You may not be able to bring full bottles of water through security anymore, but there are ways around this. Bring an empty refillable bottle in your carry-on. Buy a bottle at the convenience store or terminal Starbucks. Ask for water instead of coffee or soda during your flight’s beverage service.

Tips For Traveling Healthy

December 17, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The last thing you want to do while traveling is get sick. Unfortunately, it’s easy to overexert yourself on the road, depleting your body’s natural defenses.

Plus, when you’re focused on the sights and sounds of a new destination, you often forego healthy practices such as getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, staying hydrated and maintaining a balanced diet.

Fear not, brave traveler. Here are some tips for staying healthy away from home:

Keep Your Hands Clean: Wash your hands often. And not only before eating, but after you’ve touched common items (like laptops, phones, iPods, etc.) which are breeding grounds for germs and viruses. Also use hand sanitizer and wet wipes regularly, especially if you’re unsure of the quality of the water.

Stay Hydrated: You not only expend more energy (which is dehydrating) when traveling, the airline’s pressurized cabins dry you out. Therefore, it’s critical that you drink enough water (bottled preferably) to replace the fluids your body is losing. Also, go easy on both alcohol and caffeinated drinks, which are diuretics and make you put out more than you take in.

Get Enough Rest: Despite the adrenaline rush, don’t ignore you body’s need to replenish itself with sleep. This can be difficult early in your trip due to jet lag (when you travel across multiple time zones, your body’s internal clock is not in sync with the destination time zone, making it difficult to sleep). Adapt to the local schedule immediately by eating meals and going to bed at the appropriate times.

Eat Properly: With the number of calories you burn while traveling, it’s important to get enough nutrients. But, be selective about what you consume, especially when traveling overseas.  Though the food you eat abroad isn’t necessarily unsafe, your body isn’t accustomed to it. This gastric unfamiliarity combined with the use of natural fertilizers abroad can lead to digestive difficulties.

Research your destination’s most popular restaurants through Trip Advisor, making sure to study the reader reviews closely. If praise for a given eatery is universal, chances are that international travelers aren’t getting sick from the entrees.

To minimize your risk of contracting any food-borne illnesses, be sure to:

  • Drink only bottled water, and avoid ice, unpasteurized milk, cheese and yogurt
  • Don’t eat raw or unpeeled foods. The foreign traveler’s rule of thumb is “Cook it, wash it, peel it, or forget it.”
  • Only eat condiments that come in sealed packages.
  • Order entrees “well done”, and send them back if they’re not served hot.
  • Use caution when ordering seafood, and steer clear of clams, mussels and oysters.

Don’t leave common sense at home when you travel. Your health depends on it.

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