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Traveling for Business or Pleasure? Tips for Staying Healthy On the Go [By Dr. Nancy D. O’Reilly] More and more people are heading to destinations across the globe. Whether for work or play, people are finding it easier than ever to take that flight to Europe or that road trip to the mountains or that train ride to meet with a client.

This on-the-go lifestyle can leave much to

During the flight, do some stretches

Go to sleep around the same time you

be desired when it comes to health. Often,

and leg lifts in your seat. Try small

normally would to avoid disturbing your

traveling means eating greasy food when

exercises like flexing and extending

body’s natural sleep patterns. This may

you have time, picking up germs from

your ankles and doing ankle circles.

not be possible in every destination, but

fellow travelers, or staying at hotels where

keeping a schedule that is similar to the If your flight is long, be sure to get out

one your body is used to can go a long

location’s temperature, altitude, or time

of your seat and move around at least

way toward getting a good night’s rest


once every hour if possible.

and enough energy for the next day.

your body hasn’t quite adjusted to the new

There are easy ways to stay fit and healthy,

to, carry some hand sanitizer in your

even while on the road. By taking some

bag or bring hand wipes with you.

precautions, you can reduce the strain of traveling on your health. You can’t always control the weather delays or airport cancellations, which can add stress to your trip, but you can take some precautions to stay comfortable on the plane: •

Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. You may want to bring an extra sweater or small blanket in case the

When you arrive at your destination, head to your hotel or resort to unpack and get situated. If you’re staying with a family member or friend, you can still use some

new cuisines. Here are some tips you can use to avoid the fast-food trap and eat balanced meals while traveling: •

times when you would normally eat. For instance, in some European countries, dinner isn’t served until 8:00 or 9:00 p.m.! This may throw off your appetite,

Select a comfortable pillow — but one

and even your sleep patterns, so you

that is firm enough to keep your head

may want to try to eat at a time that is

in alignment with your spine. It may

normal for you.

be more comfortable for you to bring a pillow from home when you travel.

Keeping a schedule is important when you’re traveling. It helps if you eat at the

night’s sleep:

nervous energy. Take a 30-minute walk

challenge, especially with enticing foods and

setting and, more importantly, get a good

Before your flight, try to burn off any around the airport, or if you have time

Eating “right” when you’re on the go can be a

of these tips to be more relaxed in a new

plane gets too cold. •

Wash your hands frequently. If you want

Start your day off right with a healthy

Keep your room as dark as possible

breakfast. If you don’t think you have

before you leave the house, take a walk

during bedtime. Use window blinds and

enough time, make the time! You

around the block a couple of times.

shades to block out light so you can be

can order room service or just wake

ready to get a full night’s rest.

up earlier than usual. Breakfast is

Quench your thirst with water or juice, and avoid alcohol and caffeine.

extremely important for keeping one’s •

The atmosphere inside airplanes is

steady sound of a fan or air conditioner.

very dry, and passengers can easily

Consider bringing a CD with nature

become dehydrated. When people are

sounds such as waves or falling rain.

dehydrated, their blood thickens, which puts them at risk for blood clots.

energy up.

Remove any distracting noises with the •

Worried about your weight? What matters for weight control is how the total calories you eat all day compare to

Try to maintain a bedroom temperature

the total you burn up.

of 60 to 65 degrees.


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For many people, traveling also means

If you must eat out, there are healthy

eating high-calorie “junk food” rather

choices available no matter where you

than fruit or other foods low in calories

go. Even fast-food restaurants like

and high in nutrients. Instead of heading

McDonald’s and Burger King offer a

to the local fast-food place for a quick

wide selection of salads. Watch out for

meal, pack some nutritious snacks

things that sound healthy but aren’t.

that travel easily. Peanut butter and

Veggies loaded up with butter and

crackers, fresh fruit, granola, and water

salt or salads that come with high-fat

bottles travel well.

dressings should be avoided.

Watch the amount of alcohol and

No matter what travel plans you have

caffeine you consume when you travel.

in the future, it is possible to keep your

Too much of either substance can affect

diet balanced and your body fit on the go.

your body in a negative way, including

Using these tips on your next trip will help

your ability to sleep well.

you reduce the stress of travel while also keeping your body as healthy as possible.


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About the Author Dr. Nancy D. O’Reilly is a clinical psychologist, researcher, and founder of the online resource A member of the American Psychological Association with more than 25 years of experience, she counsels clients on topics ranging from mental health and stress to relationships and careers. She is the author of You Can’t Scare Me: Women Speak About

Growing Older in a Youth-Oriented Society and recently began hosting a radio program on Voice America called Courageous

WomenSpeak. For more information, visit her website,, or call 417-860-5834.

Traveling for Business or Pleasure? Tips for Staying Healthy On the Go