This is one entry in a series of blog posts written by Priority Club Connect members. Learn more about ewhamond the author of this post.
How I Manage to Stay (Mostly) Healthy While Travelling
I love to travel -- a lot. This year, I -- along with my intrepid travel partner, my husband – will be flying over 150,000 air miles, touching down on 4 continents, and before it’s over will have logged about 80 hotel nights – and that’s just based on our currently booked reservations. We tend to throw in a lot of “last minute” local travel when we are scheduled to be home, doing “staycations” at hotels in nearby cities. This amount of mileage and/or hotel nights is likely nothing to the road warriors among you, but our travel is all personal. I only wish I could get paid to do it professionally!
That being said, my husband and I do try to maintain a healthy lifestyle, even when we travel. That can be a challenge depending upon where we go, and what kind of willpower wars we encounter, but we’ve come up with some strategies that work for us so I thought I’d share them. We’ve found the key for us is to maintain a balance between having a routine and (mostly) sticking to it, while still allowing for some wiggle room (a decadent dessert; skipping a morning workout for a morning lazing on the beach; etc.).
Make “Being Healthy” A Priority – and Take Advantage of What is Available
Our number one rule: we don’t throw away all the hard work we do at home exercising and eating right just because we are on vacation. This was actually a hard lesson to learn, as so often we want to treat travel like it is a reward – and all rules go out the window because of it. But it is important to maintain a reasonable exercise regimen while traveling (and yes, the time out sightseeing counts; however, so do the extra calories you are consuming sampling the local fare!).
Try to keep some semblance of an exercise regimen while you’re away; don’t make travel an excuse to slack. Most hotels today have at least a passable exercise room that you can take advantage of; many of the InterContinental brands actually have beautiful workout facilities. Or maybe your hotel has a gorgeous pool that you can do laps in. Take advantage of what is on offer! You’re paying for it, after all. Research this before booking so you know what to expect once you get there. Most of my exercise at home is gotten by walking or running outside, so I find it a real treat to be able to run on a springy treadmill in an air-conditioned workout room, complete with plush towels at hand to blot away the first signs of sweat on my brow and unlimited quantities of ice cold water at the ready. I am ecstatic when we stay at the odd hotel that has cable-ready TVs on their workout equipment. You’d be surprised at how quickly time can fly by when you watch some trashy daytime TV while you sweat! To me, these amenities are part of the treat of being on vacation.
If the amenities on offer at your hotel aren’t up to par, or maybe there isn’t any equipment at all on-site, you still have options. Many hotels will also partner with local gyms to offer guests discounted day passes; ask the front desk when checking in what your options are. Maybe there are trails nearby or reasonable roads to go for a walk or jog on. Check out sites like mapmyrun.com before you leave home, looking for routes posted by others in the vicinity you will be staying in.
You might even look into purchasing a small set of resistance bands explicitly to use on the road. These are relatively light, pack up quite small, and can be used in the privacy of your hotel room. This way, you always have a backup plan and a way to get your exercise in – no excuses!
Back Away from the Cinnamon Rolls
Look, I love sugary, carbohydrate-laden breakfast foods as much as the next gal – maybe more! –and I am certainly not knocking the lovely Holiday Inn Express cinnamon rolls specifically (OK, maybe just a little bit…), BUT…being on vacation is not a license to completely forgo your healthy eating habits at a buffet breakfast just because it’s “there”, it’s “free”, or because you’re “on vacation”. Try to make sure you have a reasonably healthy breakfast that will keep you going until lunch (or beyond). If you are able to look beyond the myriad temptations that are laid out in front of you (mmm, Frosted Flakes!), most hotel breakfast spreads include healthier options too such as yogurt, whole grain breads, eggs, oatmeal, and fresh fruits. In addition to being better for you, these items will keep you satiated longer than the not-so-healthy options – which mean you’re less likely to make bad choices at your next meal as a result.
Be Realistic – and Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Even if your typical routine at home means you’re running 10 miles a day at home four times a week, don’t expect that you’ll really be able (or want!) to keep that up while you’re on the road – especially if the environment you’ll be in just doesn’t make that a realistic goal (think: business meetings 12 hours a day, or a lesser-equipped hotel in the middle of Asia during monsoon season). You are on vacation, after all, and you should be putting a good amount of time into relaxation, site seeing, and experiencing the local culture. Plan ahead, know your limitations, and give yourself realistic, achievable goals. And, don’t get too down on yourself if you crack and have to eat a cinnamon roll one breakfast. I’ve been known to, myself – though if I do slip, I do try to make up for it by maybe doing an extra run on the treadmill in the exercise room. Not too hard a task since I find being able to work out in one a treat to begin with!
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