A long airport layover is perfect for some good
people-watching. For me, a recent business trip and a long day of traveling
gave me a chance to spy on food choices at an airport food court.
I spend my days teaching people about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle,
so I should not have been surprised by the choices I saw travelers making.
I was also overdue for grub, and walked by each food venue, scoping at
my healthy options. I decided in the airport that there must
be a hidden ingredient in the heavenly scent that magically allows the
Cinnabons to call my name, whispering buy me buy me.
Its difficult to walk past and not purchase. Temptation is tough
enough when you are in the comfort of your own home, office and daily
routine. I traditionally try to make smart choices at home and while logging
Yes, many times I have hit the drive-thru for a fast-food sandwich in
my car while traveling. I also hang my head in shame to admit that I HAVE
consumed an entire Cinnabon (just once). Please note, that 80 percent
of the time while traveling, I snack on trail mix, choose soy milk in
my skinny-latte and still try to faithfully follow my 80-20 rule.
When I finally arrived, exhausted, at my hotel after a full day of traveling,
I realized that I would not even attempt a midnight workout. As a frequent
traveler, I started thinking about how difficult it can be to squeeze
in exercise and make healthy dietary choices while going from point A
to destination B.
Traveling in general simply brings changes to our routine. When out of
town for more than a day, you might miss one, or an entire weeks
worth of regularly scheduled workouts.
There is nothing wrong with taking a break from your exercise routine.
But there is also nothing wrong with planning exercise opportunities while
traveling. Your legs will be grateful for movement after sitting for long
stretches in the car or the plane.
A justification for physical activity while traveling is due to the changes
we experience in our eating habits. A quick day trip by car might bring
additional fast food stops or mindless snacking. A short business trip
could bring airport food or missed meals. A fun family vacation could
mean meals centered on multiple restaurant trips.
Dont get me wrong there is nothing wrong with trying
new cuisine while traveling, or splurging for something special. The problem
comes with multiple, sedentary 3,000 calorie days.
Your priority list for a beach vacation might include sleeping until 10
a.m. and working on your tan line. You dont have to stop the car
to do 100 jumping jacks, but consider packing a good pair of walking shoes.
When you reach your destination, consider seeing the sights, by foot,
as much as possible.
Many popular tourist spots even rent bicycles for the day, which is a
great way to burn calories while sight-seeing. Another great tip is to
seek the stairs. Your only opportunity for physical activity might be
to avoid the escalators and elevators and climb a few flights. (Even hotels
have stairwells. You just have to look for them).
Not every hotel workout room is as nice as the Biggest Loser ranch, but
you can surely find a pair of dumb bells or a cardio machine if you make
the effort. Smart phone apps offer quick easy to follow workout routines
that require no equipment at all. As a runner, I have a perfect exercise
outlet when I travel. My running shoes are never left behind.
I will admit that my husband and I travel for extreme hiking adventures,
and a fun family vacation for me is hitting the slopes and skiing all
day. As a group fitness instructor, I welcome the opportunity when I travel
to find local health clubs and enjoy being a student by taking a group
Yes, vacation can mean time to take a break. For me, it allows me more
time to do what I love, which traditionally includes physical activity.
Even if you desire to veg-out on vaca, consider squeezing
in some form of exercise the next time you travel.
When it comes to food choices, dont ditch the diet completely
when traveling. Im not a fan of the dreaded four-letter word diet
but completely letting go and eating whatever, whenever on a vacation,
is simply not smart. Gaining five pounds in a week while traveling will
only create a huge setback when reality hits upon returning home.
A helpful, healthy travel tip that can be a calorie and cost saver is
to use a cooler. A day at the zoo or amusement park might help you accumulate
miles on the shoes but can also drain the wallet when it comes to meal,
snacks and beverage expenses. If facilities allow, pack a picnic lunch
with healthier options instead of filling up on foot-long Coney dogs,
funnel cakes or $3 sodas. International travelers will warn you that soda
oversees is considerably more expensive than water or even wine. Travel
with a water bottle. There is a great likelihood for dehydration when
traveling, which gives reason to increase your water intake and save a
few dollars for that special souvenir.
Another nutrition travel tip is to hit up the grocery store when possible.
Even if you plan to dine out on fine cuisine, consider grabbing staples
such as skim milk, a box of healthy cereal and fresh fruit for breakfast.
Pack healthy snacks, like quality granola bars, for the car, plane or
Having a healthy snack bag might keep you from grabbing a king-size Snickers.
Snacking will also help to avoid skipping meals, which can lower metabolism
and increase likelihood of splurging at the all-you-can-eat buffet (by
the way, another healthy tip is to simply avoid all-you-can eat meals).
With effort, its possible to find a good balance of smart healthy
choices and treating yourself (on occasion) while traveling. Keep these
tips in mind next time you hit the highway.
Heather Foy is a 20-year coach and group exercise instructor
in Madison, Ind., who has been in the Wellness field for nearly 20 years. Email
her at firstname.lastname@example.org.