Who doesn’t love the holidays? Decorating the house. Spending time with family and friends. All the delicious foods. And, of course the holiday travel.
Okay, so that last one is actually something we love to hate. Let’s face it, holiday travel is the worst. The crowded airplanes and filthy rest stops are enough to make your stress level shoot through the roof, and your immune system to become overwhelmed.
It’s really no wonder that so many of us end up sick in bed instead of celebrating. But with a little pre-planning you can make this the year you don’t arrive home with the sniffles, or cough your way through that holiday meal. And we’re going to show you exactly how…
Ahead of the Trip
Staying healthy during holiday travel starts before you ever leave home.
1. Check your supply of medications and supplements. Both are key to staying healthy, and they may be difficult to find or refill when you’re on the road. So make sure you have as much as you need – and maybe even a day or two extra – so you’re not worried about running out on vacation.
2. Eat more fiber in the days leading up to your trip. Travel can wreak havoc on your digestive tract, leading to constipation and irregularity. Adding more fiber to your menu starting a few days before heading out will make you far less likely to get blocked up so you don’t end up spending your holiday locked away in the bathroom.
3. Fit in some extra exercise. Chances are you will miss out on a workout or two while you’re traveling. Spending some extra time exercising before you leave town can help you stay fit and healthy while you’re relaxing with family and friends. (Plus it can keep your metabolism firing to help counteract that second serving of pumpkin pie.)
While You’re Traveling
Fight off the germs and stay healthy when you’re on the move.
1. Wash your hands as often as possible. This piece of advice has been around forever because it really is the single most important step you can take to protect your health while traveling – or any other time.
2. We typically advise folks to steer clear of antibacterial wipes whenever possible. But we make a bit of an exception for travel. Just be sure to choose an alcohol-based antibacterial wipe so you don’t contribute to the superbug problem. Use the wipes to clean off any surfaces you will come into contact with. If you’re traveling by airplane be sure to wipe down your seat buckle, tray table and arm rests if they aren’t covered in cloth. In rest areas wipe down all the handles you will be touching in the bathroom.
3. Move your body every 60-90 minutes to keep your blood circulating. In an airplane, this can mean walking up and down the aisle a couple of times. Or standing next to your seat row to do a few toe lifts. If you’re driving find a rest area every hour and a half and walk around for 5 to 10 minutes.
4. Bring along healthy snacks or make healthier choices along the way. Nuts, cheese, fruit, hard boiled eggs and bottled water are all good options.
5. If you’re checking into a hotel, grab the disinfecting wipes again. At a minimum wipe down the TV remote, light switches and the bedside lamp switch.
Once You Arrive
Just because you’ve arrived at your destination it doesn’t mean it’s time to let your defenses down.
1. Make time for exercise. Just like working out keeps you healthy at home, exercise can keep you healthy during holiday travel. Go for a walk, try some yoga, bring along a pair of resistance bands or give our home workout ideas a try.
2. Don’t deprive yourself of ALL the rich and decadent foods, it is the holidays after all! Just follow the 80-20 rule. Make sure that 80 percent of what you put on your plate is healthy like slices of juicy turkey and delicious veggie side dishes such as Brussels sprouts, green beans or whole baked sweet potatoes. The remaining 20 percent of the time go ahead and indulge in the not-so-healthy holiday treats such as candied yams, cookies and pie. This way you don’t feel deprived, and your body doesn’t pay the price.
3. Limit your alcohol. For every cocktail you order, get two additional nonalcoholic drinks. Sip one with your drink and the other before you order your next cocktail.
Follow this simple three step plan and make this the year you finally enjoy your holidays without getting sick.