We all know travelling is amazing for mental health and expanding the mind, but the rest of our body requires a little more active consideration while on the road. There’s a lot of sitting down and waiting around required to travel, whatever kind of trip it is. Planes, trains, buses, boats - you literally have to sit down to get anywhere long distance. Staying fit and healthy while you travel doesn’t have to take getting a gym pass or quitting drinking altogether, there are plenty of small, easy things you can do to keep your body happy while still making the most of every moment of your trip. These are our realistic ways every kind of traveller can stay fit and healthy on the road.
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Walk where you can
Get outside and breathe in fresh air while getting your heart pumping. Make the most of walking being absolutely free, and save some pennies to spend on more experiences later on. When in a new city or place, walking is even better than public transport anyway - you’ll see far more of the place on foot than from a bus window and you can take your time with it, too. A big tip to get yourself walking is to not encourage or tempt yourself with public transport by buying a daily travel pass. Only buy single tickets if and when you really need to and your body will thank you for it!
Aim for 10,000 steps a day
To expand on the walking point, 10,000 steps is the daily recommendation for a healthy cardiovascular system. This is actually pretty easy when you’re travelling - especially in cities - as the steps creep up on you by the end of the day! Getting from city to city or country to country requires hours of sitting down, so making sure you hit that 10,000 step daily goal as regularly as you can is even more important when you’re on the road.
Cycle longer distances
The walk may be that bit too far, so hop on a bike instead! Cycling is a great form of exercise that doesn’t really feel like exercise (well, unless you hit a hill), and it’s also a super fun way to see a city. Bike hire doesn’t cost much for a day, just be sure to check the local cycle laws before you set off and get a surprise fine.
Pack a big water bottle
A reusable water bottle is a travel essential. Get yourself a large 750ml or 1 litre one to really try and encourage yourself to drink as much as possible throughout the day. Two litres a day is recommended to keep hydrated, help maintain your cardiovascular system and keep your joints and muscles working to name just a few benefits. When you’re walking a lot throughout the day (especially on hot days), you have to keep hydrated.
Get some tupperware
Help yourself save a bit of money and eat healthier by bringing a tupperware lunch box with you on your travels. Head to a local supermarket to make yourself a fresh and tasty lunch that you can whip up easily in your hostel kitchen. Whether it’s packing leftovers from your dinner, making up a filling salad or packing a load of snacks to keep you going, your tupperware will stop you from being tempted by delicious but unhealthy lunch options when you’re out and about.
Aim for 8 hours sleep
We all need sleep. Along with exercise and eating a healthy, balanced diet, it’s one of the most important things for good health. Sleeping well while you’re on the road can be more difficult due to things like jet lag, sleeping in a bed you’re not used to, naps during the day (travelling between destinations is exhausting) and even the feeling of excitement can keep you awake. When you can, go to bed a little earlier, read a book and wind down for a good 7 to 8 hour sleep. If you can do this most days then that’s great! You’ll feel more energised, more sociable and ready to maximise your day.
This might be going slightly against our previous point, but you really can’t totally restrict yourself when you’re on an incredible adventure like backpacking. No, of course drinking will not have a positive impact on your body, but dancing the night away doesn’t hurt! One of the greatest things about travelling is meeting new people and creating memories that last forever. Going on a night out with your new friends and burning calories on the dancefloor doesn’t require any extra effort other than wanting to go out and have a great time. Just remember to drink in moderation!
Pack healthy travel snacks
For the times when you’re sitting down getting from A to B whether it’s by bus, plane or train, be sure to remember to pack some snacks for the road. It’s easy to forget to bring anything to eat when you’re in a rush to make your transfer, but you’ll always regret it when you get to two hours into your journey. Head to a supermarket in advance of your trip and buy some healthy yet filling snacks to get you through a long ride. Veggies and hummus, breakfast bars, popcorn, a homemade wrap, there are plenty of things you can easily pack and take along for when the hunger pangs kick in.
Give your mind a little rest from the digital world of Instagram and Whatsapp and put your electronics down every now and then. Try leaving your phone and laptop locked away in the hostel for a day here and there. You’ll probably find it a welcome break, both physically and mentally, spending less time staring at a screen and more time soaking up what’s going on around you in the real world.
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