Staying Healthy on Summer Getaways

HealthySummerJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

Travel enthusiasts know that Memorial Day weekend heralds the beginning of summer, which means vacation planning is on the horizon. Research shows the top three motivators for taking a summer vacation include spending time with family and friends, relaxing and rejuvenating, and taking a break from every day responsibilities. Other reasons include romantic getaways, family reunions, and celebrations, such as weddings, anniversaries, and graduations. Boomers, who are more likely to take a cruise, stay in a hotel, or visit with family or friends, cite fulfilling their bucket list as a top travel motivator. Millennials, who are likely to choose experiences over destinations, are more open to adventure travel or road trips, and prefer staying in a bed and breakfast or renting a private home or apartment.

While any reason may be a good reason for a getaway, it pays to eat well, get sufficient sleep and stay physically active while traveling to avoid what some term “leisure sickness.” Frequent business travelers know that food-borne illness, sleep interruption, and lack of exercise, as well as unhealthy eating and drinking, are common side effects of being on the road. Ideally, we should return from vacation feeling healthy, relaxed and invigorated. However, it’s not unusual for aches, pains, fatigue, and flu-like symptoms to occur a few days into the trip. While some blame illness on unhealthy cabin air on flights or exposure to a virus, it may actually be the result of overstressed lifestyles. Constant stress results in high adrenalin levels that don’t automatically reset when our vacation begins. Energy imbalances can leave the immune system temporarily weakened, resulting in a vulnerability to aches, pains, fatigue and infections.

Proper hand hygiene is one of the best ways to remove germs and bacteria to avoid getting sick. Regular handwashing prevents illness and the spread of infections to others. The CDC recommends five specific and effective handwashing steps; wet hands under running water, lather front back and between fingers, scrub for a least 20 seconds, rinse well and dry. If soap and water are unavailable, use hand sanitizer that contains a minimum of 60% alcohol. While hand sanitizer won’t eliminate all types of germs, it can quickly reduce their number. When using hand sanitizer, rub the product over all surfaces of the hands and fingers until dry.

Staying on a healthy track is more challenging when traveling. These stay well travel tips may help:

Tack on a day or two to acclimate: Taking a day off before a trip helps one to relax and ease into vacation mode, while an extra day after the trip gives one time to gradually ramp back up for daily life.

De-stress in advance of travel: Traveling in general can be stressful and subject one to jet lag and dehydration, as well as increased risk of illness. Be sure not to miss your workouts when you are looking forward to a vacation, as exercise helps the body to de-stress before the trip begins.

Maintain some heathy eating habits: If you’ll have access to a kitchen, make your first stop the grocery store and stock up on healthy breakfast options, such as fruit, yogurt, oatmeal, eggs, or cut up vegetables and hummus. When dining out, opt for protein, high fiber salads and extra veggies. Considering carrying healthy snacks such as nuts, protein bars, dried veggies or fresh fruit, to prevent hunger and keep blood sugar stable while on the go. Be cautious about what you consume. When in doubt, skip the ice, tap water, and salad and opt for bottled water, thick-skinned peeled fruit and well cooked foods.

Hydrate: When taking a flight, remember to hydrate. To help keep the immune system at its best, limit or avoid alcohol while traveling to your destination. Carry bottled water at all times and sip regularly to ensure sufficient hydration.

Carry disinfecting wipes: During air travel, try not to touch surfaces likely to be contaminated, including the tray tables, arm rests, and seat-back pockets on planes. Carry easily accessible disinfecting wipes to clean surfaces before use. Be sure to wipe down the air vents and turn them to low or medium pressure to create enough current to keep germs away. Directing air in front of your face, can also help relieve nausea for those who fall victim to air sickness.

Don’t overdo: Traveling can be hard on the body, so rest is extremely important. Crossing time zones, walking all day, and toting luggage may all take a toll. Listen to your body, rest when needed and be sure to get plenty of sleep. Many tend to overdo when sightseeing. Be active but pace yourself to avoid fatigue.

Breath and balance: Whether you plan an active or leisure vacation, take a few minutes to center yourself with some stress-relieving deep breathing exercises that can be performed anywhere and anytime. When traveling for pleasure, soak up the local culture and have fun.  Take some leeway to enjoy things you don’t normally see, eat or do. If you overdo one day, take a breather the next. Just remember to keep balance in mind.

Supplements make good travel companions:

  • A daily multivitamin provides essential nutrients, especially helpful when eating unhealthy or unbalanced meals.
  • A multi-strain, shelf-stable probiotic can support immune health and help keep digestive issues at bay.
  • Triple duty magnesium not only helps the body relax, it relieves cramps and tired muscles, and keeps the digestive tract regular, not always an easy task while traveling.
  • Ashwagandha is known for its ability to help the body adapt to stress and has been shown to reduce blood levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
  • Rhodiola, a traditional botanical, supports energy and endurance and assists recovery after a strenuous day.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other fine quality products for your healthy travel needs:

Ayur-Ashwaganda 300...Ayur-Ashwanganda 300 mg by Douglas Laboratories®: Traditionally utilized to assist energy production and mental and physical performance, the natural active constituents of ashwagandha are believed to have calming properties that support the body during times of emotional and physical stress. Free of gluten, wheat, soy, dairy, sugar, yeast and artificial ingredients.

RhodiolaRhodiola by Integrative Therapeutics®: Used traditionally to combat fatigue, increase physical strength and enhance mental stamina, this clinically studied standardized extract is shown to improve the body’s ability to cope with internal and external stress. Gluten, dairy, soy, wheat, yeast, sugar and artificial ingredient free, vegetarian formulation.

Magnesium ChelateMagnesium Chelate by Designs for Health®: This highly absorbable, bioavailable and very stable form of chelated magnesium supports hundreds of biochemical bodily processes without causing intestinal distress associated with other forms of magnesium. Gluten free, Non-GMO formulation.

Multi-Probiotic 15...Multi-Probiotic 15 Billion by Douglas Laboratories®: Highly recommended for travelers, this multi-strain pre- and probiotic supports intestinal and immune health with potent amounts of live beneficial organisms and discourages unfavorable organisms as well. Free of gluten, wheat, soy, and artificial ingredients.

O.N.E. MultivitaminO.N.E.™ Multivitamin by Pure Encapsulations: Suitable for men and women, this once-daily multi provides vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, sustained release CoQ10 and other essential nutrients in highly bioavailable forms. Gluten free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.

Just How Bad Is Business Travel for Your Health? Here’s the Data.
‘Leisure Sickness’ Is Real: How to Stay Healthy on Vacation.
Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives.
Travel Essentials: Must-Pack Vitamins.