There’s nothing like the freedom of the open road. But that freedom can often lend itself to unhealthy decision-making. Lots of sitting and fast food restaurants will often have a negative impact, but it doesn’t have to be that way. So how do you make your next road trip a little healthier?
You don’t need to abandon all your positive habits when you head out on the highway. By getting a bit creative and exercising common sense, you can stay healthy even when you spend time on the road.
Follow these seven tips to learn how.
1. Bring Water
Sure, you can find bottled water at nearly any convenience store, but you won’t do the planet any favours. More than 60 million plastic bottles end up in landfills every single day. Plus, it’s much more tempting to yield to the temptation for a sugary energy drink when you have to stop, anyway.
That said, dehydration can leave your skin dull and ashy. Worse, you could risk getting into an accident, particularly if you’re traveling through hot, humid climates. A study by the Georgia Institute of Technology shows that functions such as complex problem-solving and attention suffered after only a few short hours of activity in the heat without rehydrating.
Even if you don’t drive into a ditch while distracted, you could struggle to follow the directions your GPS feeds you. Bring a reusable water bottle and ample ice to refill it.
2. Meal Prep
Hitting the drive-thru for every meal during your road trip can pack on unwanted pounds. Plus, it can lead to overconsumption of processed meats and additives like salt, neither of which benefit your heart. Before you depart, shop for foods that stay fresh in a fridge, or a cooler, for a few days.
Even if you pack healthy snacks, there are only so many carrot sticks you can eat before you crave a real meal. Follow these tips for eating on the road.
Take the veggie option – Instead of ordering fries as a side, opt for a salad or sautéed vegetables. Stopping at a sandwich shop? Have them prep you a wrap of roasted peppers and other greens instead of choosing lunchmeat.
Mind the prep methods – Much fast food relies on frying. Opt for mom-and-pop diners instead, and look for roasted, baked or grilled entrees instead.
Eat local – Food begins losing its nutrients shortly after harvest. Do some research on likely stops before you leave and locate restaurants that advertise locally-sourced foods.
3. Wear Sunscreen
Talk to nearly any aesthetician, and they’ll tell you they treat scores of patients with more considerable sun damage on one side of their face. You might think your windows block the sun, but even tinted windows only stop approximately 50% of UVA rays.
Slather on your sunscreen to reduce your risk of skin cancer. Plus, you’ll stave off wrinkles all down your right side – or left, if you ride shotgun.
4. Protect Your Eyes
Spending hours at the wheel can put a significant strain on your eyes. If you use corrective lenses, it’s a wise idea to wear your glasses, as contacts can exacerbate dryness. Try to blink more often, too.
This action increases tear production, which stops soreness and redness. Remember, the sun can damage your retina, so invest in sunglasses that offer UVA and UVB protection.
5. Take Frequent Rest Stops
When it comes to your health, sitting is the new smoking and you’ll be doing a lot of that on a road trip! Yes, you want to reach your destination, but driving for hours at a stretch can leave you achy and stiff.
If you have chronic pain conditions, like degenerative disk disease, you could end up feeling like you belong in traction. Try to pull over every 30 minutes to get out and stretch. Jog in place or take a brisk walk if you can find a greenbelt. Perform a few yoga poses to loosen up tight joints and increase the flow of synovial fluid.
6. Squeeze In Fitness
Yes, you’re on holiday, so you want to give yourself a break from your routine. However, don’t abandon fitness entirely. You can take lightweight resistance bands in your luggage to work out in your hotel.
You can also stream numerous workouts on YouTube for free. If you’re not feeling like the usual exercise rut, research in advance to locate gyms with group fitness classes along your route. Try something new, like aerial yoga or Pound.
7. Allow The Occasional Indulgence
Hey, you’re on vacation. You don’t want to completely let yourself go, but you do want to indulge yourself a bit. Are you driving through Kansas City? Treat yourself to some authentic barbecue.
Follow a twist on the Pareto principle. This guideline states that 80% of the consequences you reap result from 20% of your actions. In terms of health, it means striving to make the right choices 80% of the time. The other 20% of the time? Spoil yourself!
Keep Healthy on Your Next Road Trip
You can stay healthy while on the road. Enjoy your break while protecting your wellbeing!