Wellness and traveling go hand in hand. Keeping your body in good immune shape is paramount to both protecting your body from disease and preventing fatigue and jetlag while abroad! Aside from just your average bout of jet lag, our bodies, aren’t used to all of the same bacterias and viruses found in other countries. And, some times, it really doesn’t take much exposure to set something in motion. Thus, keeping our immune systems on the up and up are so important while abroad!
For me personally, I learned this lesson the hard way while contracting the swine flu in India several years ago. Over 250,000 thousand people died that year in India due to the swine flu, and I was told that I was lucky to have survived. By the time I arrived back in the States, I weighed barely 90 lbs and my immune system was shot. I had survived, yes. But, just barely. I was frail and in desperate need of medical care. I saw lots of doctors my first week back in the States and all of them impressed upon me the importance of health while traveling.
In general, that experience taught me a lot. I now put my health first above all other things before, during, and after a trip. I do lots of cleanses and healthy eating in particular weeks before taking a trip. I take in and eat all sorts of strange healthy things like spiralina and echinacea. I drink often times nasty tasting wellness teas and take loads of supplements like vitamin C. Overall, I do what I can to boost my immune system before heading out.
I have also learned to always travel with a significant amount of items like probiotic pills, vitamin C tablets, and harder drugs like amoxicillin. (Read More About my Travel Emergency Kit: here) If I had had those things the first day my symptoms appeared in India, there wouldn’t be such a near death story to tell, but then again, I wouldn’t have learned such a value lesson to pass along to others: "The world is absolutely amazing. Traveling is life changing. Adventure is soul altering, but nothing is worth it if you aren’t around to experience it, so always make your health and wellness a priority."
Here are a few recommendations to stay healthy & FIT while on the go:
1. TAKE SUPPLEMENTS:
When I am home, I take supplements every morning and do what I can to avoid conventional medicine such as advil. When I am traveling, I do my best to do the same thing as well. I am not a health care professional, but I can speak to what has helped me while I am abroad. I always travel with a number of immune boosts and antioxidants like Vitamin C, Turmeric, Echinacea, and Pau d'Arco. Probiotic in pill form also works wonders! I'm no health expert, but I have found these work wonders for me. Essential oils are also great. Check out this article for more on in-flight essential oils.
2. EAT WELL BEFORE BOARDING THE FLIGHT:
I eat loads of veggies and fruit and do what I can on a daily basis to not stuff my body with harmful food. Look, I love Doritos (cool ranch flavor, obvi) and mac and cheese just as much as the next gal. But, living a life on the go means that your immune system has to keep up! So, weeks before a trip, I really kick up the exercise for the lymphatic system and eat loads of healthy foods for the immune system! I focus on eating antioxidant packed foods to try to keep my body on the up and up! For example, these raw bars pack a huge health punch and are great to travel with!
3. BYO WATER BOTTLE:
After my passport, credit card, and phone, a refillable water bottle is the one thing I always pack. Airports usually have a water dispenser meant to refill a water bottle. If not, go to the nearest Starbucks and ask for cups of water, and then refill your bottle yourself. Airplanes are notoriously dehydrating (which messes up your skin and worsens jet lag). Water is hugely important! I swear by the Vapur refillable bottle! Also, once you have landed, only drink from water bottles to maintain a standard of filtration. Even ice can not be trusted... been there, done that... still too soon to talk about (insert face palm).
4. ALWAYS KEEP IT MOVING:
I’m always looking for ways to get my body moving (regular bathroom breaks and aisle stretching help in flight). If my flight’s delayed or there’s a long layover, I’ll speed-walk through terminals to keep my legs moving! Or I find a quiet spot, and I bust out a round of push-ups or crunches (yes, I’m that person). I have been in hundreds of airports and have never run into the same person twice, so go for it girl. Then, once abroad, stay active. Walk when you can instead of taking a taxi. Keeping the body moving helps our lymphatic system which in turn helps rid the body of toxins and boosts the immune system!
5. LET GO OF THE ALL OR NOTHING THINKING:
It’s nearly impossible to keep a good schedule when traveling. Things are always in flux. So, doing your typical morning yoga routine probably won't happen. And, often, it is easy to have an 'all or nothing' mentality. When travleing the idea is to just roll with everything and to do your best to fit in healthy habits. Even 10 mins of yoga is better than no yoga, so whatever you can do, do it! Go for a jog with the locals in the morning or practice a bit of yoga in your hotel room, even just a short exercise is better than no exercise!
6. FIND A LOCAL CLASS:
Wellness in general is booming, so it is usually quite easy to find fitness classes wherever you are in the world. Plus, classes are a great way to interact with locals in their daily lives. Reserach your area and find a work out class nearest to you. I often stick with a practice like yoga that I am familiar with so that if language becomes a barrier, then at least I sort of know what is going on!
7. EAT LOCAL & EAT HEALTHY:
I always try the local foods. I think it is essentially to understanding a culture. But, in general, local foods aren't always healthy as they often involve carbs, sugar, dairy, or fried foods. So, moderation is key here. I often visit local markets to get fresh produce, cook in my hotel or airbnb, and do what I can to eat as healthy as possible while on the go. You would be surprised how many places now have loads of healthy restaurants and cafes. Do research and make sure to stop into those places first before sitting down to fill up on fried fish and chips!
8. EMBRACE BALANCE:
As with anything, balance is key. Recognize the moments that you are just sitting by the pool drinking a margarita and know to incorporate movement, hydration, and healthy foods into the next day's activities. Enjoy yourself and your vacation! Eat the cake and drink the cocktail. Just make a point to include health and wellness when and where you can and find a sense of balance while abroad!