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6 Steps To Be Healthy When Traveling

6 Steps To Be Healthy When Traveling

I currently travel twice per month for work for two to three days at a time, facilitating leadership development sessions for clients. When I started traveling for work I felt on top of the world. I was able to travel all across the country, do what I love doing, and best of all, it was on the company’s dime. I love visiting different cities, checking out different restaurants, and having a nice dinner with a couple of drinks.

However, it wasn’t very long before I started regretting these decisions and began rethinking what I loved about traveling. My health is my number one priority, and very few of my habits when I traveled aligned with my health goals. I’ve said for a long time that I never wanted to be the fat dude in a suit, and though I wasn’t at that point, some things needed to change.

Whether for work or pleasure, here are six steps to be healthy when traveling!

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1. Know your goals and challenges

When you travel, what are two or three things you really want to accomplish? When I travel, my three things are to be mindful of my eating, work out every day, and get good sleep. While on the road there can be significant challenges to succeeding in all three areas.

When it comes to being mindful of my eating, realistically I am going to be eating out for every one of my meals. That in itself can be a hurdle. I need to pay more attention to where I am eating and the options on the menu. Working out every day can be a challenge as well. I don’t like running outside that much, which can be dictated by the weather, and I really like my gym time. The challenge here is many hotel gyms are hit and miss. Equipment might not be working properly, the layout of the gym might be funky, or options are just very limited. Sure, I could just go run outside and/or do push ups in my room, but I’d rather have a gym. Sleep just comes down to organization of my day and night. I control that.

Take some time to think about what you really want to accomplish and what challenges you need to overcome to be successful.

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2. Get the right tools

Take a moment to think about what you want to accomplish. What do you need to be successful? To accomplish my nutrition goals, I need something to help me be aware of and manage my food information and choices. I use the website Loseit.com. I also downloaded its free app on my smartphone. Lose It! allows me to easily look up food, track my food for each meal, and it provides me with a nice pie chart that shows me the ratios of my protein, carbohydrate, and fat intake. This has allowed me to make smart decisions when I am eating out and finding menu items that align with my health goals.

For my workout goals, I refuse to roll the dice on the gyms at the hotels, so I have a membership to Anytime Fitness that I pay $35 per month for. With so many locations, I have yet to travel somewhere and not find an Anytime in the area. Now, it may not always be as conveniently located as your home gym, but if needed I will drive a little further to reach my goal. I know I’ve only mentioned a few resources here, but that is what works for me. You need to do your homework and figure out what works for you to accomplish your goals.

3. Get to know the area

Once I know where I am traveling to, but prior to booking my hotel, I open up Google Maps and look up the locations of: my client, Staples, my gym, different restaurants, Target, and Walgreen’s. Doing this research allows me to book my hotel in an area that is convenient to everywhere I want to be, making things easier on me, and most importantly reducing potential challenges in reaching my goals. Nothing will screw up your plans worse than thinking you know where you are going, realizing you aren’t going the right way, and spending more time correcting yourself.  At this point, it’s easy to say forget it, and run through the drive through on the way back to your hotel.

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4. Make your plan

If you do steps one through three, making your plan should be a piece of cake. You should already know what you need, what you need to do, and where you need to be. I know that I typically arrive at my destination late afternoon or early evening the day before I have to do training. I take that time to make my round to the places listed above to get my “necessities for success.” Based on my training schedule, I will try to determine if I am going to work out in the morning or evening and what restaurants are in the area that align with my health goals. Before I arrive I have an idea of the flow of my trip and how I am going to accomplish my goals.

5. Prepare prior to and after arrival

You might say that steps one through four fall under “preparation,” and you’re right, but I’m taking it a little further. To prepare fully, prior to leaving I map out the most efficient routes to get everything I need in the shortest period of time and I email myself the link with addresses. I make sure I have my workout clothing packed and ready to go as well. When I arrive and I start getting my necessities; I’ll grab bananas, protein bars, a four-pack of protein drinks, a gallon of water, and other little snacks I might like that align with my health goals. The last thing I want to be is dependent upon the offerings of my hotel. If I get hungry or want a snack, I don’t like my only choices being the junk food or processed food in their little store or the meals in their restaurants. Having healthy snacks and water in my room allow me to have control. Once you do this a couple of times you’ll get in the flow, and the time it takes you to prepare will be minimal.

6. Execute

If you follow steps one through five, you will know your goals and challenges. You will have the right tools and resources. You will know the area and where you are going. You will have a plan to make it all happen and you will have control and confidence because you’ve prepared. There is only one thing left to do: do it! You’ve planned your work, now work your plan!

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I never want to use the excuse of a busy travel schedule for not fulfilling my health goals. You just have to know your goals and have the plan and resources to accomplish them. Once you get in the flow of doing this, you will never stop. It’s too easy and you’ll feel too awesome. Now I fully recognize that what works for me will not work for everyone. However, I feel this can be a good starting point and you can personalize what works for you.

Feel free to share any tips you have for being healthy while traveling in the comment section below. Have fun and be healthy!

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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