How to Stay Healthy on Holiday

Jul 21, 2015 | Health

We love holidays.

But “who doesn’t!” we hear you cry! Well, occasionally, our bodies don’t always enjoy holidays as much as we think they might do. Whether it’s the sudden surge in sugar and alcohol consumption, long journeys in uncomfortable seats or just the general absence of our usual health and wellbeing rituals, sometimes holidays can leave us feeling lethargic, burnt out and nutritionally depleted.

Never fear though, help is at hand! We’ve rounded up a useful list of pointers from the likes of Live Strong, Jillian Michaels and Adventure Yogi on how to stay healthy on holiday.

Plan Ahead // Before traveling, read up on the local area on websites such as Tripadvisor. Check out restaurants around the area, and find out whether your hotel has a gym to stay active. If not, bring along a light yoga mat and visit YouTube on your laptop for quick workouts to get your heart pumping.

Start Before you Get There // Traveling often involves sitting still for hours on long flights. You can keep your circulation moving by taking short walks in the aisle, says trainer Skuli Palmason. If you can’t walk, do seat exercises — flex your toes, roll your ankles, squeeze your glutes, do calf raises — every hour. Not only does exercise reduce the risk of getting blood clots, but it also keeps you revitalized, hinders stiffness and keeps mental acuity high.

Keep Healthy Snacks at Hand // Stock your hotel mini fridge with healthy snacks like apples, bananas, dried fruit mix, water, organic oats, and yogurt. Take some healthy bars with you on the go (Nakd, 9 Bar, Clif) are all delicious and won’t do too much damage with the sugar content!

Eat Locally // One of the best cultural experiences is eating local delicacies or visiting a farmers market while on vacation. You’ll be supporting local growers and learning more about the destination. Don’t be afraid to try something new. “When I was traveling in the South, I bought okra at a farmers market,” says Christine Fenner. Trainer Skuli Palmason says when he travels, he always eats what the locals eat. “It’s much cheaper, much better food, and often healthier than [what you find in] the touristy restaurants,” Palmason notes. “I’ve never gotten sick from eating street food.”

Explore the Area on Foot // Instead of taking a cab or bus, go for a nice walk! That way you get some exercise, and help burn off the excess calories from last nights creamy pasta and chocolate brownie ice-cream dessert.

Get Active with your Family // A vacation is a perfect opportunity for everyone in your family to try something new and get out of their comfort zone a bit. Yes, I still want you to fit in your 45-to-60-minute workout, but if you can find a fun, physical activity for the rest of the family to join in too — even better! Bring a football to toss around the beach or set up a volleyball net, go snorkeling, or kayaking.

Reward Yourself with Wellness // You’ve taken care to eat well and stay active, so give yourself a reward that’s not only fun, but also can improve your well-being. Visit a day spa and get a massage, pedicure or facial. Or if your destination has it, travel to the local hot springs for a relaxing natural dip that will leave you feeling recharged and give you a new outlook. Research online message boards dedicated to visiting lesser-known hot springs around the world. Many cities also have websites that feature special offers or group deals for services such as massages that only locals know about.

Meditate // Eating right and exercising are important elements of a healthy vacation, but so is maintaining your spiritual and mental well-being, says Christine Fenner. She always brings her iPod on vacation, filled with soothing music and meditations. “You’ll always experience stress while traveling, whether it’s a bumpy airplane ride or just a bad day in general,” Fenner observes. Set aside time to breathe and relax, she advises.

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