Prime Time Living - Page 16 - Five tips to stay fit and healthy on the road

Prime Time Living
- Page 16
Five tips to stay fit and healthy on the road
Even in hotels and airports, there are ways to stay active

By Margit B. Weisgal, Contributing Writer

For those of us who spend lots of time traveling, one challenge we face is staying healthy and fit when our schedules are filled with too many meetings or events, too little sleep, too much food, too much drink, all while sleeping in an unfamiliar space. Non-travelers always assume traveling a dozen or more times a year is fun, that it was akin to a series of mini-vacations, because we stayed in hotels and ate at nice restaurants.

Not true. I spent many years in the exhibition industry, so when someone commented on how nice it was to travel, the response was, “I see airports, hotels, convention centers and the view from the Uber or taxi window.” Fourteen-hour days were the norm. Meals were grabbed at odd times, if at all, or consisted of eating candies (chocolate!) displayed by other exhibitors. Sleep was disturbed by the sounds of ice machines making new cubes, elevator bells announcing car arrivals or loud revelers returning late.

Those who were successful at staying healthy and fit had routines they stuck to no matter where they were. And, desperate to return to our rooms, it’s not always easy to fend off well-wishers or colleagues who “just want to grab a drink” or “I only need five minutes.”

These six tips come from travelers Dave, Mike, Jan, Larry and Becca. Their trips range from a few days to a few weeks. Dave, for instance, had just returned home after two back-to-back trips, one to Portland, Oregon, the other to Belgium.

Lots of time zones traversed. Jan and Larry, Californians, were about to set off on a 10-day cruise and were then visiting family on the east coast two weeks after their return. Becca, a Baltimorean, did the opposite of Dave, visiting her sister in California, home for a couple days, then off to Israel for a wedding. More time zones.

So, whether you’re traveling for business or for fun, you can do this. Stay strong.

1. Drink lots and lots of water. When asked for recommendations, this was the first response from all our experts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( www.cdc.gov ) enumerates the benefits. It says water helps your body maintain a normal temperature, lubricates and cushions your joints, protects your spinal cord, and helps you stay regular. If you’re in a hot climate, or a place where you’re physically active, water refreshes you.

And if weight is an issue, think about this: Substituting water for one 20-ounce sugar sweetened soda will save you about 240 calories. It’ll also save you money if you have water with your meals. You may have noticed that more venues and locations have fountains to refill water bottles. Good to know.

Harvard Health Publishing, from the Harvard Medical School ( www.health.harvard.edu ), adds even more good reasons: it can normalize your blood pressure and stabilize your heartbeat, aids digestion and carries nutrients and oxygen to your cells. With age, staying hydrated takes on new meaning.

2. Always start with a big breakfast. Whether or not you know what the day will bring, a good breakfast will provide your body with fuel and energy for whatever is to come. For lunch and dinner, try starters instead of an entrée. You can always order another dish, and this way you get to try different foods without overdoing it.

3. Snack on fruit. Larry used to carry granola bars, but, he says, they usually have too much sugar. Fruit provides fiber and good carbs. It lowers the risk of disease, adds water (yes, more water), has antioxidants and gives you more energy. Don’t substitute orange juice for an orange. It has more calories and no fiber. Becca stocks up on nuts for flights, another healthy snack. She prepares small bags and reaches for them one at a time.

4. Walk as much as possible (And, when you can, take the stairs.) This was another consensus. Even if you can’t find time to exercise, walking is still one of the best ways to keep your body healthy. It’s just important to keep moving, but there are times when going to a hotel gym just doesn’t make sense. Much touted by the American Heart Association ( www.heart.org ), it says you’ll think better, feel better and sleep better. Other benefits to walking:

•Reduces your risk of serious diseases like heart disease, stroke, diabetes and several types of cancer.

•Improves your blood pressure, blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels.

•Increases your energy and stamina.

•Improves your mental and emotional well-

Healthy, continued on page 26