20 Jul 2013 Healthy Habits on the Road
Backpacking around the globe is a tough job but someone’s gotta do it.
On a slightly more serious note however, I find it is super easy to fall into bad habits while travelling, especially if you’re on a tight budget. Staying in a small hostel in the middle of say, Bangkok, is not very conducive to getting some exercise. It’s possible of course, but I’m more of a motivationally challenged individual so I have to be more disciplined about the whole thing.
It just so happened that when I was in Koh Samui last year, a big hotel chain was organising an annual charity run around a part of the island. It was a perfect opportunity to get the running shoes out and while taking part in an event in blistering heat and sunshine is probably not the best idea I’ve ever had, it was totally worth doing. Especially going for the deep tissue massage afterwards!
The unexpected benefit was actually interacting with the local people also taking part. Therefore one thing I always advise friends or family who are going off backpacking or for an extended holiday is to research local events. It’s a great opportunity to both mix with locals and get some nice exercise in.
Which leads me to, drum roll……………………………..
5 Tips for Healthy Habits While Travelling
1. Don’t neglect exercise! It’s so easy to do but it is totally worth the effort of asking around for local running routes or parks and beaches etc. Even hotel gyms can do a job in a tight spot. I prefer the outside as you get sightseeing AND exercise at the same time – bargain. Travelling around with an enormous backpack is exercise in itself but the extra exercise is worth the trouble.
2. Eat regularly – obvious right? I mean, you’ll shrivel up and die if you don’t. Tsk, I meant eat at regular times – it’s easy to get out of sync and start eating at random times to fit around your sightseeing schedule. Or sometimes I’ll skip a meal if the temperature is too hot. A regular pattern will help you feel better and more energised. FunFact – a regular eating pattern also helps to prevent jetlag!
3. Take advantage of the cheaper medical services IF they are of sufficient quality. Medical tourism is booming but at the same time don’t go getting $10 laser eye surgery just because you can. Compare the benefits to back home. One example, there are loads of dentists in Thailand but do check around for the quality ones. Else you’ll be better off doing your teeth whitening in London!
4. Be adventurous, order a vegetarian dish from time to time and load up on those greens. I know in Thailand there’s a few good dishes for vegetarians. If you’re in India, you’re in heaven. But just make sure your food is good to eat. Delhi belly is neither fun nor healthy. The point is obviously to load up on those vital vitamins and minerals that might be lacking if you’re eating non-stop pad thai.
5. Water, water, water. A no brainer and probably doesn’t need to be said but here it is anyway. Make sure dehydration doesn’t hit and ensure you’re getting enough fluids to keep you going around all the sights. If you’re hitting developing countries, bottled water is the only way to go. Luckily it is usually cheap as chips which is great, because you’ll be buying a lot of it!
How do you keep healthy on the road? Share your tips and comments below!