5 Things to Pack to Stay Fit While Traveling
By NICK HILDEN
If you only travel occasionally, maintaining your health and fitness routine over the course of each jaunt probably isn’t such a big deal. A few days off now and again never hurt anybody, and besides, sometimes a vacation needs to be just that -- a vacation.
But if you’re like me and travel on a regular basis, squeezing in good eating habits and exercise is essential, not only for your physical fitness, but for your mental health as well. Traveling can be stressful and there's no better solution to stress than exercise.
Here are some key items to pack to inject a bit of health and fitness into your travel itinerary:
1. Healthy Snacks
When you’re on the go, it can be impossible to find healthy food. Vending machines become your kitchen, and your healthiest option ends up being a $14 salad from an airport restaurant.
Instead of scrounging around for something vaguely healthy, pack healthy snacks like nuts, trail mix, fruit or protein bars. Feeling bold? Think bigger than a snack and prepare a full meal the night before you set off on your trip.
2. Jump Rope
I discovered the benefits of a jump rope while I was living in Spain. Not only is a jump rope a highly portable piece of workout equipment, but it can be used practically anywhere. Summer in Spain can easily hit 115 degrees, making even walking outside less than attractive, so 20 minutes of jumping rope in an air-conditioned hotel room did the trick for me.
Stuck waiting for a plane, train or automobile? Instead of twiddling your thumbs, bust out your jump rope and get your heart pumping. Here are some jump-rope exercises to get you started:
3. Reusable Water Bottle
It's easy to become dehydrated while traveling. You’re lugging around bags and working up a sweat (which is actually good exercise -- carry your bag instead of dragging or rolling it) or you’re too busy hurrying to your gate to find a water fountain and airport security just confiscated your half-full plastic bottle.
By bringing along a metal or plastic water bottle, you control your water supply. Empty it out before going through security, then take a moment to refill it at a fountain once you’re through.
4. Comfortable Walking/Running Shoes
A lot of the times when people are traveling solely for business purposes, they bring only the essentials they need for their business, which generally means dress shoes.
Bring along a pair of shoes that you can either use for running, or that you’ll at least feel comfortable walking around in for an extended period of time. Even if you can’t work in a run, build in opportunities for long walks. Not only does walking burn a lot of calories, it also provides you with a chance to see the location you’re visiting. Taking the time to get some air, relax your mind and take in the sights is definitely good for your mental health.
It sounds kind of silly, but a Frisbee actually makes for a pretty good piece of travel fitness equipment. It’s flat and can easily fit into a suitcase; all you need to do is find another person and pretty soon, you’re running around, working out your core and upper body and getting your blood pumping in general.
A Frisbee makes for a great way to get in some exercise and pass the time with your travel companions, and if you're traveling solo, it's a great way to break the ice with new acquaintances.
Each of these five items take up very little space, but will go a long way in keeping you healthy and fit when you're on the road.
Readers - Do you exercise and eat healthy on the road, or do you take a break from both while you travel? Do you pack workout clothes or equipment like resistance bands or a jump rope? What do you do on the road to stay fit? Leave a comment below and let us know.
Nick Hilden is a writer and all-around adventure enthusiast. Nick is known for his easygoing nature and irreverent dedication to strange living. Travel, health and fitness, food and drink, art, music and literature rank among his foremost passions. His turn-ons include the great outdoors and poetry of dubious meaning. His turnoffs include angry drivers and boastful winners.