Does your health suffer when you go on a road trip?
For many of us, the answer is “yes.” When you’re on the road, logging long hours and sleeping little, convenience oftentimes outweighs our health goals, and we’ll settle for fast food and a soda at every opportunity.
But it doesn’t have to be like that! Road trips rarely happen on a whim, so you have plenty of time to prepare for the journey and to make sure you have everything you need, including the tools to stay healthy along the way!
Before you embark upon your next vacation or business trip, consider these tips.
1. Pack your food and drinks
This first tip is obvious and essential, yet we overlook it more times than not before hitting the road. After packing clothes, shoes, toiletries, electronics, etc., loading up food and drinks might seem like a hassle, but it’s a hassle worth enduring.
By packing water and healthy snacks–like nuts and fresh fruits and veggies–you can bypass the fast-food restaurants along the way, saving your health, your time, and your wallet in the process. On top of that, if you get hungry, you don’t have to wait until the next service plaza to satisfy your craving. Just crunch on some celery and walnuts and continue toward your destination!
2. Get some sleep!
On any road trip, it can be tempting to “power through” to the next stop. This, however, is bad for your health, and it compromises your driving skills, putting you and your trip mates at risk.
Sleep is an essential component to the Habits of Health, and just a few nights of poor sleep can kick off a recurring theme of sleeplessness.
This can cause complications on its own, but when you add in the fact that a bad night’s sleep can make you grouchy and lethargic the following day, the impact really stretches beyond just the one night itself.
Sometimes you might want to suck it up and drive forward, but if you’re feeling too tired, you should rotate drivers and take a quick nap. If nobody is feeling up to the task, get a room for the night, get some replenishing sleep, and enjoy the rest of your trip!
3. Get up and move
Think about how much you move during a road trip. It’s probably not very much! You’re either planted to your car seat or walking to the bathroom, and that’s not ideal.
When you make a bathroom or fuel stop, pull into the parking lot, stretch a little, and take 10 to 15 minutes for a brisk walk around the premises. If you have a dog, this will be beneficial for both of you, but even if you don’t, take a few minutes to walk with a family member or a friend and just enjoy their company while getting the blood flowing and the muscles moving.
This might not seem like much, but when you’re making one or two stops a day for several consecutive days, you can actually stay right on track with your walking goals!