Tips to Stay Healthy while Traveling

Traveling can be exciting, but sitting for long periods and changing daily routines can also cause physical discomfort. This can take the fun right out of the trip, so utilize these simple tips and yoga poses whether you’re taking a plane ride or a road trip.

1. THREAD THE NEEDLE POSE

The hips and lower back get super tight while sitting for long periods, causing discomfort and even contributing to poor digestion. This reclining  pose is ideal to counteract the effects of travel.

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet hip width apart.

  • Cross your left ankle In front of your right knee.

  • Lift your right foot up and hold the back of your right thigh or shin. Use a strap if your hands don’t easily reach, or if you have to keep your head off the floor.

  • Hold for 5 - 10 deep breaths and repeat on the second side.

  • You can even do this pose in bed!

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2. HYDRATE

Wherever you go, and on whatever mode of transport, hydration is essential to staying healthy while on the road.

When I was in India 12 years ago, one of our guides was an nurse. On the first day, she emphasized the importance of hydration. She said she never wanted us to refrain from drinking in order to avoid a bathroom break (and stopping the bus or holding up our group). It was more important to hydrate than the inconvenience of stopping. I’ll never forget that reminder.

Hydration Tips for travel :

  • Begin drinking extra water the day before.

  • Bring your own refillable bottles.

  • Aim to drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces, more if you are exercising or sweating heavily.

  • Start the day with fresh lemon water, (before coffee)!

  • Stick to room temperature water, rather than iced water, which disrupts digestion.

  • Avoid large amounts of water with meals. Instead, hydrate well in between meals, before meals, and only take sips of water when eating. Wait 20-30 minutes after a meal to drink water. Tea is ok to sip after meals.

3. GET MOVING

After a long time seated, whether on a plane , train  or bus, or driving in a car, it’s essential to move your body when you get to your destination.

  • Whenever possible, take a walk outdoors. No matter the weather, natural light will help your body’s sync to its natural rhythm, supporting healthy sleep patterns.

  • Moving helps relieve stiffness after being sedentary for hours.

  • In advance of your trip, research and map out some walking routes so you can put down your bags and get moving.

4. PRACTICE BREATHING AND MINDFULNESS

Use the (inevitable) down time waiting and while traveling, to practice breathing and mindfulness to help you manage the many stresses of travel.

  • Take several deep breaths. Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth with a big sigh, letting go. You can even do this while driving.

  • While waiting, or as a passenger, close your eyes and take a few minutes to simply watch the breath as it moves in and out of your body.

5. After sitting for long periods, the neck and upper back can get stiff and uncomfortable. Place your hands on a wall (or the top of your car!) to get out the kinks in your shoulders, neck and upper back. Take 5 - 10 deep breaths. Release and repeat a couple of times.

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Marjorie Nass