Most of us leave extra space in our baggage when going on vacation, because we plan on bringing back souvenirs. We plan ahead of time for what we’re going to do on vacation. Why don’t we also plan ahead to be healthy on vacation, too?
The thing is, we generally return home with more than the weight of souvenirs. Most of us have put on some extra weight ourselves. Though we try to lose weight before a vacation in order to be “swim suit ready”, we are certainly looking at losing weight after.
On vacation, you are tempted with cuisine and cocktails that you don’t have back home. This is your time to relax, and you become less active. You’re surrounded by people, germs, odd timezones, and a different culture. All of this adds up to weight gain and sluggishness during your vacation.
It doesn’t have to be this way. You can stay healthy during your vacation.
1. MAKE EXERCISE A FUN ACTIVITY
No, you don’t have to run five miles every day, but you can choose activities that are naturally aerobic. A vacation is a good time to hike, walk, wander, swim, and move about. Every destination has its draw. For example, Thailand is a great place to stay active, with a full array of water activities–sailboarding, diving, swimming, boating–to keep you busy, as well as the opportunity to learn Muy Thai boxing. In the evening, you might enjoy dancing at a nightclub!
Choose activities that are fun and active. For many of us, if it feels like exercise, it won’t feel like a vacation.
If you are one of the lucky people who loves a serious workout, make use of the gym and exercise equipment available to you where you are staying. If a morning workout is your routine at home, keep it up during your vacation. You’ll feel better physically, and you’ll also feel better mentally for sticking with your good habit.
Walk whenever possible, find fun activities, and workout if you want to.
2. A VISIT TO THE SPA IS PART OF WELLNESS
A wellness retreat in Thailand is relaxing and enjoyable, and that’s enough of a sell for most of us. But a visit to the spa can also help keep you healthy, so if you were ever needing an excuse to take in the spa on vacation, there it is.
Stress relief (and lower stress hormone levels), along with easing muscle and body aches and pains are top reasons for visiting a spa. If you visit Thailand and don’t visit a spa, a country world-famous for its spas and its own unique massage techniques, it’d be a real shame. Many destinations have their own spa cultures that you’ll want to discover.
Wherever you travel (and possibly in the resort you are staying at), locate a quality spa and treat your body to relaxation and restfulness.
3. ENJOYING THE FOOD WITHOUT ANY GUILT
No one enjoys the travel partner who refuses to try the delicious cuisine of your destination because he or she adheres to a strict diet brought along from back home. While you admire their willpower, traveling without trying the food is missing out on a huge part of the experience and local culture.
Many of us fill up on snacks and food during the day, eating treat after treat, and then find we overeat at dinner. By making healthier choices throughout the day as you take in the sights and sounds, you’ll feel lighter and better. Plus, when evening rolls around, you won’t have eaten up your caloric budget and you’ll be free to sample and try any of the food you want, no guilt. Think of it like this: Each day, 80% of your food should be healthy, made of lean proteins and high fiber. 20% of your food can be a treat!
Don’t eat everything all day long. Plan for your special meal, and eat healthy, light meals so that you are free to experience the real deal later. Make one meal a splurge, the rest healthy. There are some great places to eat in Thailand that shouldn’t be missed.
4. PACK WITH HEALTH IN MIND
Packing for your vacation needs to be about more than the party clothes or swimwear you’ll need. Keep your health in mind, too, and pack things that keep your body going strong.
Bring sunblock and protective clothing to avoid severe sunburn. Consider your destination and whether or not you’ll need insect repellent.
Bring along necessary medications, as well as over-the-counter medications for maladies like headaches, indigestion (you’ll be trying lots of new foods), upset stomach, antihistamines, basic first aid supplies, and antiseptic hand wipes and sanitizer.
Pack what keeps you feeling good and protects you from sickness.
5. BE MINDFUL BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER TRAVEL
When you are traveling to and from destinations, your body takes a beating. You are crossing timezones, changing altitudes, and are around a lot of other people with varying states of health. By understanding that your body struggles a bit during travel, you can stay healthy with a few precautions.
Don’t forget to eat. It’s not uncommon to go long stretches of time without eating when in transit, so carry along a healthy snack and give your body the energy it needs.
Drink plenty of water. Avoid caffeine and alcohol while traveling if you want to avoid dehydration. Dehydration leads to headaches and tiredness. If you feel any of that coming on, drink water right away. Carry ample water with you.
Prepare your digestive and immune systems before you leave. Eat probiotics at least three days before you travel. Be sure you get at least eight hours of sleep each night at least three days before you travel–your immune system needs this done before you begin the wear and tear of travel.
Give yourself a break when you arrive home. There’s always a bit of depression when a great vacation is over, as well as tiredness from the travel and excitement. Rushing back into regular work and life is hard on your body. Give yourself a day break, at least, before going back to work, and allow yourself time to catch up on the laundry and other things you would normally do.
Staying healthy on vacation will not only help you and your family enjoy themselves during the travel experience, but your memories of the trip will be positive, and you won’t dread coming home to bringing your health back to pre-trip standards.