The holidays are synonymous with travel, but flying the friendly skies and hitting the road can lead to missed workouts, bad food choices, and an overall feeling of anxiety that’s more “bah humbug” than jolly. Here are a few healthy ideas to keep your fitness and eating on track and take the stress out of your trips.
Wear your sneakers.
Yes, untying and retying to get through security will be a little annoying, but once you’re through you can get in a brisk walk before heading to your gate. And if you’re driving to your destination, hoofing it around the parking lot at rest stops will be a no brainer.
Squeeze in some squats.
Take a seat at your gate—but don’t sit down. Find an empty chair, plant your heels, and move like you’re going to sit. Pop up the second your butt touches; repeat 10 times, then run to catch your flight. This move is easy to do on a bench at a rest stop, too.
Seek out healthy snacks.
Terminals and gas stations are pretty much synonymous with fast-food joints these days. But it’s possible to find healthy fare! Stick to whole foods, like fruit and nuts, and look for items that have the potential to spoil, like fresh yogurt—preservatives often lead to bloating and weight gain. Some good snack pairings: Greek yogurt and a banana, a small, low-fat latte and an apple, a small bag of unsalted peanuts and carrot sticks.
Being slightly dehydrated causes low-grade headaches and can have a negative effect on your mood. Plus, stale air on planes can dry out your sinuses, making you more susceptible to cold and flu germs. So drink up! Water flushes out toxins, and it helps curb food cravings since thirst often masks itself as hunger. Aim to sip half your body weight in ounces daily. For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, you’ll want to guzzle 70-ounces of water a day.
Move every hour.
A long cross-country flight can leave you feeling creaky and prone to blood clots; sitting behind the wheel of a car isn’t much better. Counteract the health risk and stiffness by walking around as often as possible. Stand up or pull over to use the bathroom every 45 to 60 minutes. (If you’re constantly sipping water, this shouldn’t be a problem!) Get the blood pumping through your legs by doing walking lunges back to your seat. Don’t worry about looking foolish—you’re not likely to see the people from that rest area ever again, and if you’re on a flight, everyone’s eyes will be glued to those seat-back TVs so they won’t even notice.
Traffic jams, crying babies, a seatmate that hogs the armrest—annoyances tend to add up when you’re traveling, and if you hold onto them they can create muscle tension and put you in a bad mood. Slowly inhale to the full capacity of your lungs, filling your stomach and chest cavities, and then evenly exhale. Continue taking long, slow breaths and begin to notice the space between inhaling and exhaling, where time seems to stand still for a moment. Focus on this space for a few more breaths, pushing out all of the stale air and negative thoughts.