Yoga Digest article (May/June 2015 Edition) -
Three tips on how to stay healthy when traveling.
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Do the stresses of travel sometimes deter you from seeing some of the amazing places on this planet? I have several friends that love to travel, but their fears and anxieties get the better of them and they decide to stay home rather than deal with the hassles of travel.
It’s no surprise that traveling today can be quite stressful in a variety of ways: getting through the airport, dehydration, keeping up with exercise, what to eat, etc. And, as security has increased at airports, it becomes just a little more challenging. As a traditional Naturopath and longtime international traveler, I get questions all the time from people that travel about how they can stay healthy, and even more, thrive on the road. I have been practicing yoga since 2003, and do my best to apply the balanced principles of yoga to my everyday life, especially when traveling.
A big part of staying healthy begins with the preparation of what to bring with you balanced with not taking too much stuff. It’s great to be a minimalist when traveling, and many people are very successful at it, but I would rather have my “just in case” items, as they have served me very well over my many years of travel. Here are 3 major items that I think are really important, and they appear many times throughout my book:
If you are getting on an airplane and flying at high altitudes, water is your best friend! The high altitude, proximity to others, compressed air in the cabin, and extra stress on the body cause you to need more water. The tricky part can be getting the right type at the right time. You’ll want to make sure that you are drinking filtered water wherever possible, which requires some planning. When you begin your journey, you can purchase a bottle of filtered (Reverse Osmosis or Spring) water after you get through security. I recommend that you bring this bottle on the plane and ask the flight attendant to refill it with filtered water. Sometimes they can’t or won’t do this, so just ask for two glasses of water with no ice and you can keep it filled yourself. Just make sure that the flight attendant is pouring the water from a plastic bottle, and not a metal pitcher (which is most likely not filtered).
Once you arrive at your hotel, you’ll want to find a good source of water (and the tap is usually not your best idea). I recommend that you ask the front desk if there is a store nearby and purchase some water there. You can also bring the bottle that you purchased to the workout room in most hotels and use the large filtered water that is available to refill your bottle.
This is one area people find most challenging because we usually don’t have a lot of time to go to the exercise room in the hotel (if they have one). Opportunities abound for exercise when traveling, you just have to look for them. For example, I typically only use the elevator to get to my hotel room on check-in and check-out, and take the stairs at all other times. You can walk to dinner instead of taking a cab. And, many hotels now offer yoga mats and videos so that you can do yoga in your hotel room if you’d like. Look for opportunities to walk as much as you can. I make an agreement with myself to exercise a little more the week or so before and after my trip to make up for not being able to get in my routine while on the road.
I’m not sure if you’ve ever experienced the challenge of getting sick while traveling, but there’s little worse than feeling the beginning of the flu on day three of your two week trip to China! Here are a couple of tips to remember if you start to feel sick:
- 1. You must absolutely avoid eating sugar, dairy and wheat. These three things really hamper the immune system’s ability to fight off infection.
- 2. Drink as much purified water as you can. The lymphatic system needs this to help clear any pathogens (bacteria, viruses, fungi….) from the body.
- 3. Get rest if you can. This is not the time to exercise, as your body needs that extra energy to fight off the infection.
We are so blessed to be able to travel half way around the world in a day, but it comes with challenges. I hope that you’ll take on these challenges and enjoy this amazing planet where we get to live. Enjoy your journey.
John is a Naturopath, Speaker and Author and has been researching mind/body/spirit topics since 1976. His book Travel Balance, gives you some great tips to help you make natural/healthy choices while traveling. He worked in sales for IBM for 27 years, but began having health issues that could not be addressed by the traditional Western medical model. This led him on an amazing journey back to health…and to his true passion. www.johnayo.com
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