When we’re busy travelling – whether that’s for work or play - it’s sometimes hard to actually take time out to look after our bodies.
We might be reaching for that next cup of coffee to give us a boost to keep going throughout the day (or perhaps to recover from the night before); suffering a lack of sleep due to heat or being in a new place; or simply finding it hard to relax.
So how can we look after our mind and body while travelling? Here are some tips:
Keep active: Travelling from place to place and staying in hotel rooms often means a lack of time or space to exercise. Sitting for long periods of time has been linked with being overweight and obese, Type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, and early death. On plane journeys make sure you get up and walk around regularly – at least once an hour. When you’re sitting, do some simple stretches like rolling your ankles and flexing and relaxing your calf muscles. This can reduce the risk of blood clots or thrombosis. If you’re stuck in a hotel room, there are plenty of exercises you can do without equipment such as jogging on the spot, yoga or Pilates.
Exercise the brain: Researchers have found that keeping the mind active can reduce the chance of developing conditions that affect the brain such as Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia in some people. This means that playing puzzle games such as Sudoku, reading, or doing crosswords while travelling can help promote a healthy mind. Bingo has been found to be one of the most effective ways of keeping the mind in trim. Reports have shown that bingo players are faster and more accurate than non-bingo players in a range of tests measuring mental speed, memory and the ability to pick up information from the environment around them.
Eat well: We all know the importance of eating a healthy, balanced diet but how can we eat well when travelling and dining in hotels where we’re not preparing our own food? It doesn’t have to be too difficult. Go easy on the sugary deserts and if you’re watching your weight swap the chips and fried options for healthy veg, salad and go for grilled fish or lean meat cuts and poultry. If your hotel or accommodation has a buffet, make smart choices and watch your portions.
Keep hydrated: When travelling abroad the advice is to stick to bottle water. In areas of poor sanitation, the tap water will not have been treated. Even where tap water abroad is promoted as safe to drink, the local water quality might not agree with our digestive systems so be on the safe side and buy bottled water. Make sure you drink enough. Fizzy drinks and juices can be quite high in sugar and the caffeine from tea, coffee and sugary energy drinks is dehydrating so bear that in mind. At home we’re advised to drink six to eight glasses of fluid a day but in a hot climate you’ll probably need more than that.
Go easy on the booze: If you’re on holiday with friends or are out socialising it’s tempting to have a drink or two but remember the new advice is to not exceed a maximum of 14 units for both men and women across the whole week and not to save it up and ‘binge.’ One unit is a standard (250ml) glass of beer or a standard (76ml) glass of wine.