Health Hacks for Travel
This week, I attended a conference in San Francisco. Following the event, instead of spending a full day traveling back home, I hopped on the red-eye back home. In just one week, I'll be back on the road to Austin, TX for another annual conference I attend. Usually, when I travel like this, I inevitably get sick during, or immediately following, my second trip. Changing time zones, sleep schedules, being out of my eating routine, and surrounding myself with other humans really throws off my game. But, over the years of traveling like this, I've found some travel hacks to help keep you healthy during your travels.
Eat Well, but Eat Right
If you're like me, any trip is an excuse to try the local cuisine and eat your way around the city. The reality for any regular traveler is food adds up. One vacation per year where you pig out is probably fine. If you're on the road 6, 10, or even 12 weeks per year, it's not wise to look at trips as a reason to eat any and everything. Unfortunately, so many amazing experiences and events center around food, so it's challenging to eat well and enjoy yourself while also eating right. I am not a nutritionist, so I'm not here to tell you what to eat, but make sure you make healthy choices that align with your body type, your goals, and your medical history and/or conditions.
Vitamins & Supplements
Some people hate supplements and vitamins. Others swear by them. When you take the right combinations in the best concentrations throughout the day, vitamins help your body maintain peak performance. Without getting into all the various combinations of supplements I take, without fail, I double up my vitamin C and vitamin D when I travel. Airports, people, recycled air on airplanes… it’s just too much risk to be miserable on a trip. Even if you’re not a vitamin taker, it pays to up these two supplements leading up to and during your trip. And while Emergen-C is fine in a pinch, it’s best to go for the high quality capsules. Lastly, don’t forget the Vitamin D as it helps with the vitamin C absorption. The key is to have both.
Well, it sucks, but we apparently have to exercise to stay healthy. However, yes, it’s true that exercise can be fun. You don’t have to run on the treadmill or move aimlessly on an elliptical. Get your best playlist and dance around for 30 minutes. Try lifting weights for a little bit. You’ll be a little bit tired, but you’ll feel amazing, strong, and powerful. You can walk around your favorite mall or if you like running, run somewhere. Regardless of what gets you moving, make sure you get about 30 minutes of exercise each day to help you sleep better.
During sleep, your body repairs it self, does science, and you wake up feeling refreshed, energized, and ready to take on the day. If you’re not waking up like that, it’s time to analyze what’s going on to keep you from getting enough hours of sleep. Do you need a new mattress (I do)? Do you have cats sleeping and walking all over you? I do. Do you love staying up late to watch one more episode or read one more chapter and you have a 9:00 AM meeting? Yeah, me too.
Sleep is elusive for most of us. We’ve got jobs, hobbies, kids, Netflix, superhero movies, and friends to fit into our waking hours. Sleep is the first thing to fall by the wayside. I am here to tell you that you must sleep. Yes, you can google all the reasons you need 8 hours of sleep each night because, science. Personally, I can tell you if I don’t get 8 hours of sleep, I don’t function at 100%. Frankly, if I start pushing the 6.5 or 6 hour range of sleep, I’m heavily reliant on caffeine just to have me act like a normal human being. Anything less than 5 hours and I am merely a warm body with little function or capacity to be helpful in any way. The absolute number one thing you can do to ward off any illness is to get enough sleep.
Leading up to your trip, you help your body by taking care of it. Generally, this is simply creating a good and positive routine for yourself. Eating well, getting enough sleep, exercising - all the usual things you're told to do to stay healthy. Recently, I've been taking steps to ensure I stay healthy as much as possible. During your trip, make sure you get as much sleep as possible and eat reasonably well. Try not to shock your body by treating it so differently from your usual routine. Your body is a finely tuned machine and the more out of tune it gets, the more likely it is to crash on you. As long as you can avoid the crash, you can often times avoid getting sick.
Stay healthy and happy traveling!