By Tanise Edwards, M.D.
Traveling is often an adventure, sometimes a treat and occasionally a hassle. But, it doesn’t have to be a pain.
When you’re heading out on a trip — whether by plane, car, bus or train — keep this body-friendly advice in mind to stay healthy, energized and ache-free.
1. You’ve got to move it, move it
Sitting for long stretches of time can lead to travel aches and pains. It may also slightly increase the risk of blood clots forming in the legs.*
So, as much as possible, take regular breaks to move around. When you’re a passenger and need to stay seated, try stretching in your seat. Extend your legs — and flex your ankles. Or, pull one knee toward your chest. Hold it there for about 15 seconds. Switch legs. Repeat about 10 times.
Or, maybe you have a long layover. To make the most of your time, explore the terminal. Some airports even have designated walking routes.
2. Build your own snack pack
Plan ahead — and have some added fuel on hand. Put healthy snacks into single-serving baggies. And, on the road, use ice packs for items that need to be chilled.
Here are a few ideas for take-along munchies:
- Fresh or dried fruit with single servings of peanut butter for dipping
- Sliced veggies with hummus
- Unsalted nuts
- Low-fat string cheese
- Air-popped popcorn or whole-grain cereal, pretzels or crackers
3. Take H2O to go
Staying hydrated is important — especially if you’re flying. The air in planes tends to be dry. So, drink enough water. It’ll help you avoid dehydration and keep your energy up.
A budget-friendly tip: Carry an empty water bottle with you. You can fill it after you go through security.
4. Dodge jet lag drag
Crossing time zones can throw your body clock out of sync. If possible, get plenty of sleep before you set out. And, try to switch to local mealtimes and bedtimes during your stay.
More wise-traveler tips
Keep any medications you need with you and in their original packaging. See “Have medicine, will travel.” And, if you have a health condition, ask your doctor if you need to take any additional steps for safe travel.
Also, check your benefits plan to find out how to get health care if you’re sick or hurt when you’re away from home. And, make sure you carry your health plan ID card with you.