Whether you are traveling behind the wheel or being the back seat driver, long periods of time stuck in a car can cramp anyones style (and health). I've had to figure out ways to make never ending 8 hour drives without a radio manageable but also how to feel like I haven't been hit by a truck by the time I have arrived to my destination.
Do you ever get that feeling when you have been in a position for far too long and you try to get out of that position? Your body is stiff and awkward at moving like you're learning to crawl all over again. I am raising my hand and waiving it all around because your girl here has definitely had this before from driving!
When I started implementing these habits in my commutes or visits to home my body started to THANK ME! I no longer feel like I have wasted a whole day traveling but I can feel like I have not fallen off my health wagon into a firery pit.
My biggest advice for traveling are the following:
1. HYDRATE - Hydration is key in any situation, let's be honest! In fact you should be hydrating yourself everyday regardless of the situation but even more so with traveling. Staying hydrated while you travel can help fight off any illnesses you may be unwillingly contracting, keep you alert, improve your circulation (especially since blood flow is altered when sitting) and overall it's just good for you to do!
2. NUTRIENT DENSE FOOD - Having nutrient dense food can help curb those cravings, keep you fuller longer, and keep you on track with healthier food choices. The only thing that you need to pay attention to is how much of these nutrient dense food items you have. Nuts and seeds are great for this category but one can easily get carried away with the serving sizes. So just be mindful and enjoy the delishousness. Packing a lunch will help save some $$$ and this will help decrease the stress & headache for finding foods that you can eat if you have any kind of food allergies/sensitivies like me.
3. TAKE FREQUENT STOPS/BREAKS - If you are hydrating like you should be (drinking 1/2
your body weight in ounces per day minimum) then you will be needing to use the restroom often. Yes this may feel like it puts a damper in your travel plans but the frequent stops are extremely helpful for your body! Being able to get up and stretch allows our muscles to wake up from their siestas, get that blood circulating, as well as avoiding muscular tightness in particular areas like the hip flexors. The rule for sitting and stretching is that for every 20 minutes you sit, you should be stretching your hip flexors out for one minute. Granted you cant get out on the side of the freeway to do your stretches every 20 mins but every hour to two hours would be helpful enough!
4. EXERCISE - Wait are you reading this right? Yes, I want you to exercise while you travel! It doesn't take much to accomplish this one. Honestly and heres how! On one of your breaks (imagine the half way point) you take a little bit longer to go for a walk. Rest stops are great for this because the parking lot is usually large enough to do laps around.
My favorite rest stop has been on the way to visit my brother in Oregon. Along the way we were able to see a snow covered Mount Shasta as displayed here. There were these historic information booths that we were able to stretch out and read at the same time. Plus they had these fun Q & A's printed in the sidewalk! You might come across a gem like this that will make the stop fun and educational.
If a walk doesn't work for you then at least do some stretches or exercises like squats, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, push ups, lunges, the list goes on. Doing body weight exercises can help break up the day but also prevent your body from stiffening up. If you crank out a high intense session, your blood will be pumping making you more alert and helping with circulation.
Plus, get the workout done while you're traveling because one you get to your location you'll want to spend it doing hugs and catching up making the likelihood of getting a workout in then will decrease. Here's a solution! Invite your family and friends to catch up while going on a walk outside! It will help everyone out and keep your body feeling happy after a long travel session.
Well there you have it, my four tips are 1. hydrate, 2. eat nutrient dense food, 3. frequent stops, and 4. exercise ! Now you are well prepared for your holiday travels and your body will thank you. I'm curious, where are you heading on this long travel of yours? Tell me your final destination spot by commenting below!