ESTABLISHING HEALTHY HABITS ON THE ROAD
R. Fedin, The Wellness Concierge®
Lay the Foundation for Change
Road Rules for Healthy Eating
Excuse-Proof Strategies for Staying Fit
think your demanding schedule makes it impossible for you to stay
healthy and fit? Do you think stress, fatigue, poor health, and reduced
fitness levels are the inevitable byproducts of frequent travel?
If so, it's time to get real. How you feel on the road is more
directly related to your lifestyle choices than to the challenges
imposed by constant travel. Feel bad? The culprit is likely to be
your unhealthy off-the-road habits that accompany you on the road.
Want to feel better? Commit to healthy living—consciously choose to eat
well and exercise regularly and you'll have the ammunition you need to
weather any itinerary.
Here are some expert strategies to jump-start a healthier lifestyle.
LAY THE FOUNDATION FOR CHANGE
Make one change in your eating or exercise habits at a time. There's no
such thing as a quick fix, so don't sabotage yourself by trying to do
everything at once.
Change is not a one-size-fits-all venture. Consult a nutritionist,
certified fitness instructor, or other health professional to help
identify obstacles and target specific advice for your needs.
Capitalize on your behavioral style. "Behavior drives habits,"
notes The Fitness Co.'s president, Deby Harper, a certified
fitness instructor and wellness consultant. Her firm's PFS (Personal
Fitness System), which includes an Interactive Wellness Survey,
analyzes individual behavior to create specific eating and exercise
recommendations for long-term changes. (Telephone: 480-443-9611,
stress as it occurs. Stress weakens your immune system, lowering
your resistance to infection and making you more susceptible to illness.
Worse, a stressed-out body negatively influences what you eat, wreaks
havoc on your metabolism, and undermines your exercise regimen. And it
can exacerbate chronic conditions such as heart trouble or diabetes.
You can't avoid stress but you can identify your stressors, and either
avoid or disarm them as they arise. Use meditation, yoga, deep
breathing, and relaxation or visualization techniques during the day to
slow down breathing, improve respiration, and relax.
Defusing stress helps you make better food choices and reap the maximum
benefits of physical activity. It also makes you a more amenable fellow
traveler and someone who is less likely to respond to the daily
annoyances of life on the road.
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ROAD RULES FOR HEALTHY EATING
"Make eating a priority," advises
Robyn Landis, health
advocate and author of
BodyFueling, which explains how to use food to maintain
stamina and health. "Food is your body's fuel... your body needs it
to work properly," Landis notes. Here are some expert tips for
getting on track:
► Don't skip a
meal (especially breakfast). Eating provides needed energy,
ensures peak performance, curbs junk-food cravings, and improves overall
Can't fit in three square meals? Opt for six mini-meals or snack as
needed. Your body needs food every four or five hours; even
less-than-healthy options are better than nothing. The pocket-size
Fast Food Facts by Marion J. Franz includes healthful menu items
in fast-food outlets and you won’t need to be a diabetic to benefit from
the savvy advice in
The American Diabetes Association Guide to Healthy Restaurant Eating
by Hope S. Warshaw.
Conversely, eat only when you're hungry and not because you're
stressed, bored, tired, or angry. (Yes, I know, that it’s a
challenge but you can always pop a few sugar-free mints or chew gum as a
distraction. And if you drink water instead of chewing on starchy carbs
or sugar-filled goodies, you’ll fill up without the benefit of added
calories. Most of all, you can save room for something you really want.)
► Opt for
Choosing the right foods can help you sleep better, counter fatigue and
jet lag, reduce stress, and increase your mental acuity and physical
Avoid sugar-, fat-,
caffeine- and calorie-laden foods and beverages.
foods and snacks.
Eat fresh fruit
instead of prepackaged and processed foods.
Go easy on (or
eliminate) alcoholic beverages.
Limit your intake of
sodas, coffee and tea—and don't ingest them as food substitutes.
Drink more water (a
minimum of an eight-ounce glass every two hours).
Pack and snack. There's no excuse for being hungry or thirsty
if you tote your own emergency refueling kit. Given today’s travel
landscape, it’s even more important to tote your own
Your road kit might include: bottled water, fruit juice, graham
crackers, rice cakes, fresh or dried fruit, nuts, low-sodium instant
soups, mini-boxes of whole-grain cereal, instant oatmeal packets, energy
bars (check the labels and avoid the high-calorie, high-sugar types),
nonfat yogurt, raw veggies, snack-size cans/packets of water-packed
EXCUSE-PROOF STRATEGIES FOR STAYING FIT
No time. No energy. No equipment. No facilities. The litany of excuses
for why you don't work out is the same, on or off the road. Here are
some strategies for integrating exercise into any trip:
your routine. Can't find 45 minutes for a full-scale workout?
Use small chunks of time during the day for physical activity: run
up stairs, take a brisk walk, jump rope, do some pushups or crunches.
Even short bursts of strenuous activity are proven fitness boosters.
Whether it's simple stretching exercises, yoga postures or deep
breathing—it all adds up and doing something is better than nothing.
► Don't get
locked into an unworkable routine. The demands of travel may
interfere with your at-home regimen. Stay flexible as to when, where,
and how you exercise.
► Know what
works for you. Do you like using equipment? Pack
powerful-but-portable items such as lightweight exercise bands, a jump
rope, and inflatable weights. Or book a hotel that offers in-room
equipment or has a fitness center. Don't like to work out alone? Make an
appointment to exercise with a coworker, client, or a trainer. Or take a
class at the hotel’s (or a local) fitness center.
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