Many people need to travel during the holiday season in order to spend time with their families and friends. But the holiday season is also the flu season. So, how do you avoid spending your vacation sick in bed? Here are eight tips to support your health while traveling this holiday season.
The Holiday Season Is Quickly Approaching: Best Ways To Stay Healthy
Whether you’ll be traveling by car, bus, or plane during the holidays, these tips will serve you well. Staying healthy while traveling involves self care because a healthier body is better able to fight off any lurking bacteria or viruses.
1. Get Plenty Of Sleep
Try to get a good night’s sleep the night before you leave on your trip, and catch some extra zzz’s during your travel if you can. Travel can be exhausting, especially if you’re crossing time zones.
Continue reading for some tips to giving your body the best chance it has against harboring any illness during your travels.
2. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
As you know, water is essential for survival and all bodily functions, therefore it’s extremely important to stay hydrated. One of the many ways our body uses water is to support proper function of the immune system and more specifically, the lymph fluids. Lymph fluids carry the white blood cells that fight bacteria.1
Dehydration can make you feel tired because your body isn’t able to perform its functions properly. Research shows that a dehydration level of as little as 1 percent may negatively affect your mood and focus.2
It’s can be easy to become dehydrated while traveling. You might forget to drink water entirely, or you might not have ready access to water. It’s a good idea to carry a reusable water bottle that you can refill and sip as you go.
Herbal teas can also count toward your water intake (for the best benefit avoid adding any sugar).
3. Consider A Probiotic
Probiotics are good bacteria that can have beneficial effects on health and well-being. Taking probiotics might also help to support healthy immune function. Ask your doctor if taking a probiotic is right for you.
4. Choose the right seat
Public transportation can be filthy. You just don’t know what germs are lurking through the air or on every surface. It’s a risk you can’t exactly avoid while traveling, however choosing the right seat on a plane might help.
Data shows a person sitting in an aisle seat has an 80 percent chance of getting sick if there’s an ill passenger in the aisle seat directly across from them. By sitting by the window you might reduce your chances of catching an illness from the people next to you.3
Having a window seat might also make it easier for you to get some rest during the flight as you can rest your head against the window. As mentioned, a lack of sleep might make you more susceptible to catching a cold.
5. Don’t Overindulge
Work has been stressful, and you’re finally on vacation. It’s time to kick back and relax with a few airplane cocktails and your favorite snack. But play it smart. While it’s fine to treat yourself every once in a while, the calories in alcohol and processed foods may enhance jet lag and leave you feeling heavy and more fatigued.4
Most processed foods don’t contain the nutrients that your body needs to function at its best. By eating a well-balanced diet, you can support your immune health and possibly lower your chances of catching a cold.5
If you must indulge, remember that moderation is key, and avoid drinking before flights or on planes if possible.
6. Carry A DIY Health Kit
There’s nothing worse than feeling under the weather and then having to find somewhere to stock up on health supplies – especially if you’re in a new town or city. So why risk it?
Create a little travel health kit that might include things like vitamins, probiotics, and any medications you might need in the unfortunate case of catching an illness. And of course, include any prescription medications that you need to take as well.
7. Eat Plenty Of Fiber
The last thing you’re probably thinking about when traveling is dietary fiber, but travel constipation is common. Things that may contribute to traveler’s constipation include:
- Time zone changes
- Change in routine
- Change in diet (and calories)6
Be sure you’re eating a high-fiber breakfast before you set off on your travels. Also, pack some healthy, high-fiber snacks to take with you, like breakfast bars. Fresh fruits are a good option.
You should also focus on eating a high-fiber breakfast each day – especially if you know that lunch and dinner will be festive and full of calories.
8. Stay Calm And Manage Stress
The holiday season can be stressful at times– whether from travel or from interactions with your family once you reach your destination. And, stress can weaken your immunity.7
So try to stay calm, no matter the situation that arises. Getting stressed out actually won’t make things better. Turn to breathing exercises (or mediation if that’s your thing) to calm your frayed nerves.
Here’s a simple breathing exercise that you can discreetly do anywhere for stress levels:
- Take a deep breath in for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, and exhale for 4 counts.
- Repeat, focusing only on counting your breath.
The Importance Of Moving Your Body During The Holidays
Let’s face it, physical activity usually takes a backseat during the holidays while decadent foods often take high priority.
But exercise, even just a little bit, can support your cardiovascular health and may help you to burn off some of those extra holiday calories.
This doesn’t mean you have to go out and find a gym. Wherever you’re staying, just pop outside for some fresh air each day, incorporating some kind of fitness to stretch those muscles and accelerate that heart rate. Enjoy an after-lunch stroll with the family or a run around the block.
A Healthy Lifestyle Wherever You Go
Yes, travel can come with the risk of getting sick during the cooler months. But keeping some of these handy tips to stay healthy in mind – like staying hydrated, carrying hand sanitizer, and getting plenty of sleep and exercise, may help.
It’s also important to live a healthy lifestyle in the lead-up to your vacation, as this can also play a big part in your immunity. Focus on eating a balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables, manage your weight effectively, and get plenty of sleep.
You’ll want to feel at your very best – so you can truly enjoy the holidays.
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