by Laurel Sterling, MA, RD, CDN
Planes, trains, and automobiles – oh my! Whether you’re traveling for work or vacation, you’ll likely agree that while traveling is fun, it can be incredibly stressful. Travel throws off our schedule, eating habits, and sleeping patterns, which can wreak havoc on our immune system. Here are some tips to help keep you healthy whether you’re pounding the pavement, traveling the roadways, or flying the blue skies.
Eat as healthy as possible. Not eating well can lead to digestive distress, which is no fun while traveling. As a general rule, try to maintain your typical diet, and focus on eating healthy proteins, vegetables, fats, fruits, and vitamin C-rich foods.
Maintain your exercise regime. Many hotels have fitness centers available at no additional charge. Exercise can decrease stress, improve immune function, and raise serotonin levels. As we get older, it becomes increasingly important to get up, move around, and stretch, since our tendons and ligaments tend to shorten and become less pliable.
Get enough sleep. Sleep helps keep our immune system healthy and is the time when our body can rest, detoxify, and repair itself.
Keep stress levels in check. One of best things you can do is deep breathing techniques, which help with relaxation and calming. Deep breathing can be done while driving, waiting in line at a store, or walking in between appointments. Breathing at a pace of 4-7-8 is a relaxation program Dr. Andrew Weil created. Inhale for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds. This can be done two to three times in a row, two to three times per day.
Remember to relax as much as possible and to stick to your daily supplement routine. A multivitamin and mineral formula, omega-3, and probiotic are important. Vitamins A, D, C and zinc will also support immune health while traveling. Although your stress level may be elevated and you may feel a bit “off,” try to maintain consistency with food, sleep, and exercise, so you can feel your best while enjoying your travels.
The Daily Dose blog features health and wellness articles from Senior Nutritionist & Educator Jolie Root, LPN,LNC; Nutritionist & Educator Laurel Sterling, MA, RDN, CDN; and Featured Guest Blogger Karen Roth, MSNC. Other guest bloggers will also join us.