healthy travel

Top five tips to keep fit and healthy while you travel

I’ve recently embarked on a journey of wellness and wellbeing. If you follow my blog, you will have seen various blog posts about travelling for sports and adventure, training for a half marathon, juicing and top tips for losing weight before/after the holidays, the growth of sports tourism in Dubai and yoga and travel, however I’ve never really been too concerned with my health while actually travelling – normally more interested in experiencing the sights, sounds and tastes of a place than consciously managing my behaviour!

However as I prepare for another trip away, I am keen not to let my new regime suffer and all my hard work go to waste, and whilst I’m no expert, I thought I’d share some top tips from those who are, including my favourite trainers Jon Ashwood and Waly Kone. Just bear in mind that these are not weight loss tips, and are more focussed on maintaining a good general wellbeing:

1. Keep moving
Whether it’s trekking through the countryside or pounding the pavements sightseeing, make sure you clock up those steps, get a map of the local area and see how much you can cover by foot – you’ll experience much more of the place that way too!

2. Make the most of the facilities
Try to book a hotel that has a gym and aim to do even half an hour in the morning before breakfast. If your hotel has a pool, challenge yourself to half an hour of swimming laps to break up the sun worshipping throughout the day.

If neither of these options are available at your hotel, take your trainers anyway and use apps like Endomondo to head out for a run – it’s a great way to see the local area and make yourself feel good! If you don’t have the time for a run, pack a lightweight skipping rope and do 15 minutes of skipping outside in the morning.

2. Keep hydrated
As a general rule you should be drinking a minimum of 1.5 litres of water per day on a day-to-day basis. However bear in mind that if you are exercising, walking a lot, drinking alcohol, or if it’s a hot day (most, if not all, very common holiday conditions) then this needs to be increased. Buy a small bottle of water that can easily be carried around in a day bag/hand bag and top it up every time you stop to ensure you keep fluid levels high whilst on the move.

3. Juice when you can
As part of my new regime I have been making two vegetable juices fresh everyday at home, including an amazing nutrient-rich green juice. Knowing how hectic my trips can be, I was originally concerned about how I could continue with this. The juices make me feel amazing, and I didn’t want to lose that, so I bought a nutribullet (the magic bullet’s little cousin) and can easily squeeze it into my suitcase, so that all I need to do when travelling is buy some fresh fruit from the market (a bunch of bananas and a punnet of strawberries for example) and I can easily blend myself a healthy breakfast. I also take a pack of mixed flaxseed to mix into it, and a pot of mixed grass supplement, to ensure at least one nutritious meal per day.

4. Watch what you eat
I am the first one to advocate immersing yourself in the culture of the areas you visit, and as food is a key part of any culture, I would never suggest you follow a strict diet or avoid local cuisine because of a calorie or carb count. However I do now exercise a little more restraint and use some common sense. I try to avoid dairy and processed foods in my day-to-day life, so I try to do the same when I travel. If there are local foods that are processed or dairy, I try to take smaller taster amounts or share with friends, and I keep my portions smaller, but I would never rule anything out. I also take my own healthy snacks of dried fruits, nuts and raw vegetable bars wherever I go, just in case I need a sugar hit or have long journeys where I may be tempted to snack on less healthy options.

5. Get plenty of sleep/rest
This is another one that I really struggle with, I am guilty of always trying to do too much and it’s normally at the expense of my own rest time, and unfortunately holidays are no exception – there’s always so much I want to see and do! However as I have gotten older, I find that I feel less pressured to go out late and paint the town red when I travel, preferring to enjoy a nice dinner and drinks and get up feeling fresh in the morning, ready for another day’s exploring.

Rest assured that I am no angel, I do like to go out and enjoy myself with the best of them, and whilst I appreciate that this list does make me sound like a spoil sport, I do still get to do everything I used to and I really notice the difference in how much I enjoy the trip (and how quickly I recover!) when I’m looking after myself. So I guess my real advise is to listen to your body, enjoy yourself and the holiday indulgences – just don’t make them daily and try to be good to yourself when you can!

To make sure you’re ready, check out my essential packing list to keep healthy:

– Nutri Bullet (a lightweight, easily-cleanable blender, related to the Magic Bullet)
– Lightweight skipping rope
– Ipad/Iphone (loaded with Paprika recipe manager to help create easy smoothies and meals on the go, as well as several of my personal training programmes, Endomondo to track my runs, and a good selection of music for motivation or relaxation)
– Superfood grass supplements to take everyday, and a pack of flaxseed
– Big bags of nuts and fruits and vegetable bars
– Inspirational reading (whether fitness magazines or motivational books)
– Trainers and gym gear (at least 2 sets) and some hand wash in case I am motivated to do more!

If you have any more suggestions I can add to my list, please do share as I’m keen to build on this!