There’s no doubt that travel can be great for your mental health. It can take your mind off everyday stresses by enabling you to experience unique cultures or reconnect with nature. But what about your physical health? Planes, trains, and automobiles can definitely take their toll. And lugging or lifting heavy suitcases can wreak havoc on your body, especially as you age. SafetravelRX, an app designed to keep you safe and healthy no matter where you travel, has some tips for taking care of your physical well-being while on the road.
The days of traveling on a plane with plenty of legroom are long gone unless you’re in First Class. When you cannot fully stretch out, it can cause severe cramps and worse. Immobility can increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), sometimes called "economy-class syndrome ."But by flexing your calf muscles frequently, you can increase blood flow to your shins, thighs, and hips. Walking to the back of the plane can also help.
And don't forget to drink plenty of water. It would help if you drank a bottle of water every hour you're in the air. The increased bathroom breaks will also allow you to move around more, although you may not be very popular with your seatmates! Avoid diuretics like coffee or soda, and don’t drink alcohol, as it can make it difficult for you to absorb oxygen and dehydrate your body faster.
Traveling by boat or car means you have more control over staying mobile. If traveling by sea, take frequent walks on the ship or try a light exercise like swimming or yoga. If you’re driving, stop every few hours to stretch your legs.
When you Arrive
Traveling internationally usually means suffering from jet lag until your body adjusts to the time difference. However, some best practices can help. When you arrive at your destination, try to eat and sleep according to the hours of your new time zone. If you arrive in the morning, you’ll probably be tempted to take a nap but try to push through. Drinking plenty of water will keep you hydrated, while a lightly caffeinated beverage may help you stay alert. However, don't consume caffeine too close to bedtime and avoid processed sugars. Try going outdoors in the daylight, which will reduce the release of hormones that make you tired. When it’s time for bed, you may be exhausted but still have trouble sleeping. In that case, consider taking supplemental melatonin, which can help. Also, avoid eating a heavy meal before heading to bed.
You’re on vacation, so you can take some liberties but stay balanced. You want to come back refreshed and energized, not sluggish and 20 pounds heavier. Whether on a beach vacation or visiting a city, you can still enjoy yourself while keeping your body healthy. Try eating lighter during the day and get out and explore as much as possible. If you are visiting a city, take a walking tour which is a great way to learn about the city while also getting exercise. You will be doing your body and your mind a favor. Consider renting a bike to take you to the sights. You can also try a high-intensity workout that doesn't require any special equipment. You save time because they're so short, but you also burn many calories so that you can splurge on that dessert later!
If you enjoy some time closer to nature, take long walks, go hiking, rent a kayak or swim. The bottom line is that you can still find the time to chill out, read that latest book, and balance the relaxation with some physical activity.
It may seem like an oxymoron to suggest eating healthy when dining at restaurants daily, but it is possible. You can learn about a culture through their food, so try their specialties, including fruits and vegetables grown in the region. You can also eat lean proteins like baked fish and chicken flavored with local spices; eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice taste.
Be Prepared in Case of an Emergency
So, you’re doing everything you can to ensure you stay physically healthy, but what do you do if something unexpected occurs? Unfortunately, no matter how much you prepare, you may still have to deal with something you didn't count on. For example, what if you are in a foreign country and broke your arm or realize that you forgot a medication you need every day? Fortunately, there is help for those types of situations. The safetravelRX app has a global emergency call feature which ensures you can get immediate help with the click of a button. The app also enables you to store your medications and health information and find a local vetted doctor or pharmacy if you need one. And it can provide up-to-the-minute destination alerts on situations like a COVID outbreak, a transportation strike, or extreme weather conditions.
In addition to keeping your body healthy, you may keep your mind healthier if you use travel as an opportunity to unplug from technology. Try living in the moment. Take the time to fully decompress and appreciate your surroundings. That experience will probably give you more satisfaction than posting your latest selfie on Instagram. Of course, you can always post it when you return from your trip!
To learn more about the safetravelRX app and how it can help you stay safe and healthy while traveling, click here.
To read more safetravelRX blogs, click here.