It’s not uncommon for people to travel long distances for work. Unfortunately, one of the pitfalls of this lifestyle is the diet and lack of an exercise routine travelers might maintain while away from home. For people spending weeks or even months abroad, this becomes critical. Without putting in the time and effort to keep healthy while traveling, your fitness can deteriorate and underlying medical conditions could worsen.
It’s essential to know what’s best to eat while traveling and what exercise routine will work best for your body.
Eating While Abroad
When it comes to eating well while traveling, there are a few things to consider. First and foremost, don’t fall into the “but I’m on vacation” trap. Second, though it’s generally the easiest option for a meal, fast food consumption should be kept to a minimum
Moreover, fast food consumption in the United States has shown that its ingredients can wreak havoc on our bodies and general health, from high blood pressure and cholesterol to blood sugar spikes to weight gain.
There are several things you can do to help yourself keep up with your healthy eating habits, such as:
Always Start With a Big Breakfast
Often, the first step towards healthy eating is a nutritious breakfast. What you choose to eat for the first thing can influence your energy for the remainder of the day.
If you don’t eat in the morning, you might be overly hungry by lunch, and may make poor choices about your meal. Eating a healthy breakfast helps keep your body from being excessively hungry throughout the day and you’ll be less likely to go off-track with what’s good for you.
When you don’t have time in the morning, try a protein shake or fruit smoothie. Bring them along anywhere you go so they’re readily available.
Greek yogurt is full of probiotics that aid in boosting your immune system and decreasing stomach issues. When traveling, having a healthy digestive system and supporting your immune system are essential. Adding yogurt into your diet is a great way to do so.
For people who struggle with digestive issues such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), yogurt low in fat is generally safe to eat. However, whole-fat yogurt can be more difficult to digest. There are several causes of GERD, so you should trust your body when eating yogurt and how it feels after consuming it. This is the best indication of whether it’s okay for you to add to your daily diet.
Buy Groceries Instead of Eating Out
Instead of eating out at restaurants, buy whole foods from the grocery store when you’re away. Not only can doing so help save you money, but it can also help you maintain your healthy diet plan.
Choose Healthier Menu Items
When eating at restaurants, make nutritious choices. For instance, a salad will often offer more nutrients and vitamins than other menu items or fast food options. Other healthy food options at restaurants include seafood and poultry. However, there are plenty of other fun and healthy options for every type of restaurant.
Know What You’re Eating
Often, the easiest way to figure out what you’re eating and how foods have been prepared is to ask the server about it. You may want to buy your food from a local market, since fresh fruit or vegetables can make a difference, even for a short business trip.
Drink Plenty of Water
Having water on-hand is especially important when traveling. Staying properly hydrated can help boost your metabolism and help get rid of extra sodium.
Since what you drink is important, opt for pure water. Adding fruit or vegetables can sweeten the flavor without adding many of the sugars typically included in sodas or other sugary drinks.
Exercising While Abroad
Not only will exercising help you feel healthier, but it can help reduce stress, enhance sleep quality and quantity, and boost energy levels. Although exercising while abroad may seem difficult, there are plenty of ways to remain active:
Walk or Run to the Office
If you find yourself in a city or town where it’s safe to do so, use the local trails and paths to get some activity in on your way to work. It’s an excellent way to get some exercise while also enjoying what the area offers.
Don’t forget to keep a change of clothes in your bag if what you’re wearing isn’t what you want to wear at work, or you are worried that what you have on may get dirty.
Take the Stairs
Even though you might be cooped up in an office most of the day, don’t let that stop you from working out. There are plenty of ideas on how to get exercise at work including taking the stairs.
Stairs can provide a high-intensity workout, which will help burn more calories while also working additional muscles. Consider taking them halfway, and the elevator for the remainder, if your floor is especially high up.
Explore the Local Landscape
Explore the local downtown area or countryside. If what you’re doing while abroad includes downtime, use that time to get outside. Not only can it give your mind a break from what’s going on at work, but it provides exercise. If your hotel is near trails or paths that are safe enough to walk or jog on, take advantage of them.
Participate in Local Activities
When you get the chance, participate in activities within the local community. It can be as simple as finding a yoga group or, if you’re in a ski town during the winter, try out skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoeing. Whatever it is, make sure it’s getting you up and active.
Use the Hotel Gym
Visit the hotel gym and exercise using what they have there, such as free weights, treadmills, or stationary bikes. Create a simple but productive routine of workouts to help keep you on track.
Choose a plan that works for you. Schedule days to work out your upper body, lower body, and core if you’re going to be gone for a long time. This helps you stay on track and ensures that you exercise all parts of your body.
Get in Some Exercise Everyday
Be sure to get in some exercise every day. Even if what you can do is as simple as walking around the block, it’s better than not doing anything at all. Of course, you don’t have to get in a full workout every day either; even 30 minutes of activity throughout your day will help keep your body healthy.
By getting some exercise while traveling for work, you’ll feel fantastic physically and mentally. You’ll also be able to enjoy what the area has to offer without worrying about how you look or feel because your body is healthy and ready for what comes next.
Don’t Get Lost in the “But I’m on Vacation” Trap
Don’t get lost in the “but I’m on vacation trap” where what you know about eating healthy and exercising flies out the window. This is something that can happen easily if you’re not careful, so how do you balance wanting to try all the local cuisine and desserts while also making smart choices?
One way is trying out the 80/20 diet, where 80% of the time you eat clean and healthy, and the other 20% you try whatever treats you desire. This helps you get what’s best both in terms of eating healthy but also indulging.
However, this diet may not be the right method for everyone, especially those who struggle with acid reflux or have specific dietary restrictions and routines. In this case, focus on what you can eat without triggering your symptoms. For instance, stay away from spicy foods, fatty or fried food, alcohol, and coffee. Alternatively, there are several food options you can try. Some of the best foods for controlling reflux include:
- Green vegetables;
- Low-acid fruits;
- Lean protein;
- Healthy fats;
- Complex carbs.
It’s also a smart idea to identify what foods to limit or avoid so that you don’t cause a flare-up of symptoms. These can include foods with dairy, spice, caffeine, and alcohol.
Ultimately, the best way to stay on track with your fitness goals while traveling is by planning. Trying new things and experiencing new cultures are all part of the adventure, but it’s important not to let travel get in the way of your health.