Healthy Travel Tips, by Lisa Snow

lisa-snow-2People often wait all year until summer so they (or their kids) can finally have free time to go on vacation.  Here are four ways to make your vacation not just the happiest, but also the healthiest, time of year.

Take advantage of free time at the airport

Since airports make everyone get there extremely early, travelers often find themselves with an hour or three between finishing security and actually boarding the plane.  While most travelers just park themselves on a bench and wait, this time is actually a great opportunity to get some exercise.  The simplest way to do this is just to take a nice stroll through the airport.  An hour or two of easy pace walking adds up to a lot of steps!

For the more adventurous, airports are the perfect place for bodyweight strength training.  The heavy chairs and benches in the waiting area at the gate lend themselves beautifully to exercises like these. Try 30 seconds to a minute each.

  • chair squats (sit and stand up from the chair…great for all ages, from kids to seniors)
  • incline pushups (hands on the chair, feet on the floor…these are actually a lot easier than “normal” pushups with your hands on the floor!)
  • lunges (both feet on the floor) or split squats (just like a lunge, but with the back foot up on the chair, and the front foot on the floor)
  • hamstring stretches (one foot up on the chair, both legs straight)
  • calf stretches (hands on the chair back, heels pressing into the floor)
  • and many more

Yes, one or two people will look at you like you’re crazy.  But if you have headphones on, no one will actually tell you that you’ve lost your marbles.  And if you don’t have headphones on…well, an airport workout can definitely be a conversation starter.

Pack healthy snacks

Choosing organic, nutrient-dense snack foods is a lot easier than it used to be!  Whether you’re flying or driving, you can bring:

Decode food labels on airport snacks

Airports can be treacherous places to shop for food, but it doesn’t have to be that way.  Shops at airports are just beginning to offer a few healthy options, but they’re often hidden amongst all the packaged, processed, “dead” food.  Look for products that DO say organic and/or non-GMO.  When looking at ingredient labels, try to choose food items that DON’T have artificial flavors or colors, sugar, corn syrup, MSG, artificial sweeteners, soy protein isolate, whey protein isolate, and carrageenan.  A shorter list of ingredients is better!  Think reading labels is too frustrating?  At some airports, you can opt for fresh-squeezed orange juice or a fruit cup where (amazingly) the only ingredients are fruits.

Plan an active vacation

Whether your idea of the perfect vacation is lying on the beach or going to plays and visiting museums, you can still squeeze in some physical activity.  Most hotels have beautiful (and extremely underutilized) gyms and/or swimming pools.  But even if your hotel doesn’t, you can still do some simple stretches or yoga poses in the hotel room itself.  Even 5-10 minutes of stretching can take the edge off the stiffness most people feel when getting off a plane or train after hours of sitting.

If you truly love the outdoors, visiting a national park can be very inexpensive and highly memorable vacation.  Even if you do more driving through the park than hiking, you’re bound to do some walking when you get out to snap a few photos or stroll along an easy trail.  You’ll be amazed how much more walking you do in one of the parks than you would at home.

Missed last month’s column? Read it now:

Questions to Ask When Considering Joining a Gym
Easy Steps to Reduce Your Osteoporosis Risk, Part 2
Easy Steps to Reduce Your Osteoporosis Risk
Healthy Eating Made Easy
Choosing the Healthiest Energy Bars in 2014
Have a Home Gym Cheaply and with Little Space, Part 2
Have a Home Gym Cheaply and with Little Space, Part 1
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7 Things You Didn’t Know About Juicing
Getting in Shape…with Takeout Food?
Gliding Discs for Exercise with Arthritis
Top 6 Questions for Choosing the Best Weight Loss Plan for YOU
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3 Tips for Exercising with Multiple Sclerosis
Fitness for People with Parkinson’s
Customized Exercises for People with Back Pain
What Should People Look for When Hiring a Personal Trainer?
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Who Benefits the Most from a Personal Trainer?
Motivate Yourself to Better Health
Three Dimensional Fitness