Summer is full of vacations, parties, and barbeques, making it hard to keep health and fitness in mind on a regular basis. Like many other Americans, summer road trips are an annual tradition in my family — and I’m facing an 18-hour drive to California in just a few days.
Studies continue to arise calling sitting “The Silent Killer.” According to Dr. James Levine, a Mayo Clinic researcher, and his research partner Dr. Michael Jensen, people who move around more are less likely to be overweight or obese.
And what do we do on long road trips? Sit, sleep, and wait.
Aside from returning to the gym and healthy eating after the trip, there are several small tips and tricks you can work on to keep your metabolism working on a long road trip, plane ride, or whatever other method of travel you are using.
- Avoid the fast food fix.
Making an effort to pack more healthful foods on your trip may take more time to plan, but your body will thank you for it in the end. Coolers are easy to pack for car rides and can hold everything you need for a moderate distance car trip.
Try packing fresh fruits and veggies, string cheese, peanut and other nut butters, water and seltzers (avoid the soda and sugary gas station drinks), and homemade sandwiches can do wonders for the more substantial cravings.
My personal favorite is to prepare smoothies ahead of time, freeze them, and use them as the ice packs in my cooler (think savory peanut butter banana, cocoa powder sweetened desert smoothies, etc.). Don’t forget to pack wet wipes or napkins on the trip!
- Get out of the car and MOVE.
It’s easy to just wait in the car for a quick pit stop, especially if you’ve been napping or are comfortable waiting. Instead, get out of the car every chance you have, jog in place a few minutes, stretch your legs, consider a few jumping jacks, and basically get whatever movements in that you can before you get back into the car.
- Consider a workout at the local gym or hotel gym, when possible.
Sitting can be oddly exhausting, but keeping up on workout routines will actually help with overall energy levels.
Hotel gyms can be notoriously understocked, underused, and just plain uncomfortable, but even 30 minutes on the treadmill will help you boost your metabolism and sleep better. Don’t forget to bring tennis shoes on the trip — if you make a commitment to use them, you will.
- Stay active on your trip!
Staying active doesn’t mean taking a five mile jog every morning or hitting the gym every day. It does mean: go hiking with the family, swim a few laps at the pool, go snorkeling or water skiing or tubing or kayaking, walk to the nearby destinations, and keep moving!
Toasting next to the pool is definitely worth it, but don’t forget to do something active each and every day.
Vacation doesn’t have to be a setback from your health and wellness goals. However, in the end, Raintree will still be here when you get back from your vacation!
By: Mariah Wenzel