This is a guest post by Marc Winitz who is devoted to helping women with health and wellness issues over at beforliving.com
Whether you travel for short or long periods, business or pleasure it’s very easy to lose sight of your health and wellness while on the road. The single biggest challenge travelers experience is missing their regular workout routine while in unfamiliar surroundings. This trap is easy to fall into when you have minimal time or lack the equipment you need to actually get a workout in.
Having logged over 2 million miles to 35 countries, I’ve experienced the ups, downs and negative impacts that travel can have on overall wellness. Being out of your element and your normal routine makes it easy to miss exercise. Here are five excuses you may tell yourself, and what you can do about them to keep yourself healthy.
1. “I am used to working out at my own gym”
This is a convenient excuse but it really masks the larger point. The number one thing you can do to maintain your health while traveling is to keep your fitness routine going regardless of the facilities you may lack access to. Scheduling a brief exercise period every few days keeps your commitment to exercise going which is a key factor for long term wellness. An excellent strategy to follow is to schedule a short period of time (15 to 30 minutes) for every two or three days on the road.
This doesn’t need to be an exact replacement of what you normally do at home either. It just needs to be enough to get you moving and break a sweat. A simple workout, such as running on a treadmill, taking a swim, or doing a basic yoga or calisthenics routine is enough to keep the momentum going for your longer term fitness plans. If you are a business traveler, these are all things you can do at your hotel.
Another great tip is to carry elastic workout bands to do isometric exercises. They are inexpensive, lightweight and take up little space. You can do a workout in 10-15 minutes and since the equipment is with you, there really is no excuse to avoid doing exercise.
2. “I’m not motivated”
To get around this excuse, set small but achievable goals for yourself while on the road. It also helps to set reminders that come up on in your calendar schedule. Even if you blow off a workout period the subtle periodic workout reminder puts the emphasis on working out in the back of your mind. Another good tip is to keep a journal of your workout activity and to set a reminder to “update your journal”. I keep a simple journal in the notes application of my iPhone along and set reminder notifications in my calendar to update my progress.
3. “I’m too tired to work out”
To paraphrase the famous Nike slogan “Just Do Something”. We can’t all be Michael Jordan or Serena Williams on the road. If you have the motivation and time for 90 minutes workouts that great, but most people don’t or won’t. However, getting in some form of exercise, even if just briefly will help rejuvenate and energize your mind and body. If you can get to a gym or go to a class, take a walk or do some stretches. Just the simple act of getting yourself moving will re-energize and re-juvenate your mind and body and that’s a step in the right direction.
4. “I usually go to a class or club for exercise”
One of the best ways to keep your exercise and fitness going on the road is to “get local”. Do some quick research and find groups or clubs in the place you are visiting that offer what you do at home. If you practice yoga (as I do) for example, research possible yoga studios, contacting them in advance to see if you can join a class while you are in town. You can also check with local YMCA’s, fitness clubs or gyms to see if they have either exercise classes or ongoing pickup games you can drop in on. This is great way to meet new people, and they will be likely treat you as their guest when they learn you are from out of town.
Another creative way to get exercise in while traveling is to explore new locations on foot. Do some sightseeing by taking a walk around a new city or neighborhood you are visiting. You’ll get a sense for the place you are visiting while getting in some easy exercise at the same time. I have found that both of these strategies work well for extended stays while on travel although you can certainly also do this for briefer periods of time.
5. “I order and eat food like I am on vacation”
So much of health and wellness is nutrition based and this is something you have the most control over. You need to actively choose a small and healthy meal for breakfast or lunch working in whole foods (fruits and vegetables) as much as possible. Dinner can be the death knell for business travelers, especially those with expense accounts. If you order food that is rich or fattening, only eat part of your meal instead of the devouring the whole plate.
For some travelers there is also a tendency to skip meals. This only leads to temporarily starving yourself so that by the time you do sit down for a meal you over order and overeat.
For personal or leisure travel this is more complicated because food often plays a part in the enjoyment of travel. I typically eat a small breakfast, and then choose between lunch OR dinner to do something more extravagant. That means the remaining meal is healthier in terms of what I order and the portion size. I also try to share what I order with others I am traveling which makes the experience more enjoyable.
It’s Your Health, So Stop Making Excuses
It’s easy to make excuses and not look after your own health, especially while traveling. Taking these simple steps keeps your commitment to exercise going. It also keeps your mind focused on making better nutritional choices as well – something that can go right out the window when you stop exercising on the road. You are the keeper of your own health so don’t sabotage it. Follow the right steps and you can keep your mind, body and spirit healthier and energized while traveling and over the long term.
Senior technology executive, 4th degree black belt and personal development and food blogger Marc Winitz believes Eastern traditions and approaches in daily living have a direct correlation to successful long term health and wellness. A long time teacher of traditional Japanese karate, and a practitioner of yoga he also writes several blogs. As a serial world traveler, Marc has visited 35 countries across 5 continents. His latest project is www.beforliving.com and is devoted to helping women with health and wellness issues.