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Take it on the Road

By Meghan Vivo

Travel season is around the corner, bringing ample opportunity to eat out, sleep in and completely disregard your daily diet and fitness regimens. This summer, don't leave good health at home - take it on the road.

It's the night before your big adventure. Your hard work has paid off, and you're ready to refresh and renew with a relaxing summer vacation. You expect to see the sights, lounge by the pool, and let's not forget - sample the local cuisine!

A man and woman cruising along a scenic road in their convertible. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark You are certainly entitled to do these things, but too much overindulgence can ruin all your pre-vacation efforts toward better health. On your next vacation, bring along this travelogue of tips for making healthy decisions that won't ruin the fun.

The Voyage Begins

Day 1 Graphic - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Transitioning into vacation mode requires the right mindset. According to one study, middle-aged men who skipped vacation for five consecutive years increased their risk of a heart attack by 30 percent. Vacation is a healthy and often necessary part of life, so commit to making the most of your time off.

Day one of vacation is usually spent traveling to your destination. If you are flying, there are a number of precautions you should take to minimize poor health choices:

  • A luggage tag. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Refrain from eating large meals prior to and during your flight. You won't be moving much, and your body will have difficulty processing all that food.
  • Reduce your sodium intake. This will help prevent you from retaining water and becoming dehydrated.
  • Remember to get up and move around periodically to stretch and get your blood circulating.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol prior to and during your flight; load up on water instead. Aircraft cabin relative humidity is usually below 20 percent, which makes for a very dry environment.

If you are taking a road trip, many of the same principles apply. Pack a variety of healthy snacks, drink plenty of water and take a rest stop every couple of hours to stretch. If you are fortunate enough to be traveling internationally, be sure you are up-to-date with immunizations, passports and visas. Check the Web site of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov) for health alerts and travel warnings.

A pile of poloroid pictures and a passport. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark When you arrive at your destination, try to adjust to local time as quickly as possible to minimize the effects of jet lag. This means going to bed and waking up at appropriate times for the new time zone. Give yourself one day to adjust, and be sure to schedule outdoor, physical activities during your first day of vacation.

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