It is always important to lead a healthy lifestyle, but we often find ourselves cheating through overindulgence during our holiday getaways. Although travel should be an escape that is filled with relaxation, it is important to not let ourselves stray too far away from our healthy habits.
Maintaining healthy eating habits as well as exercising during your travels will not only keep you feeling great, but will also give you more energy to enjoy your holiday. Here are some great tips for staying fit and keeping your health a number one priority during your next holiday.
Dehydration can cause all sorts of health problems and travelling can make staying hydrated a bit more of a challenge. Air travel causes many travellers to easily become dehydrated due to the low humidity and oxygen-thin environment. This can lead to muscle cramps, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, dry skin, and more. Sometimes even a headache can be caused by dehydration – so instead of reaching for a Panadol, it might be better to drink a glass or two of water first and then reassess your situation.
If you plan to travel to a high altitude location or will be enjoying a tropical holiday with hot temperatures and high humidity, you may require more fluids than you normally would take. Our thirst mechanism weakens as we grow older so it becomes even more vital for seniors to make sure they are getting enough water.
Nearly every part of our body depends on water and staying hydrated will keep both your body and mind sharp. So make sure you drink water to stay hydrated when you travel. It’s often a good idea to travel with your own water bottle to cut down on global plastic waste, and some countries (such as Spain) even have water fountains around major cities, which are usually safe to drink from – just look for signs around that tell you.
Although it is nice to relax during your holiday, it is important to stay active as well. Try walking or biking during your holiday instead of always relying on transportation such as taxis and rapid transit. Walking allows you to not only get exercise but can also allow you to see your destination in a much more fulfilling way.
Only 10% of Australians 50 years or older are getting enough exercise and nearly 50% of physical health problems associated with getting older are caused by not exercising enough. Take advantage of your hotel’s pool or fitness room to reduce the chances of reduced joint flexibility, increased blood pressure, and reduced bone strength. Even a daily walk around a nearby park can help you get the exercise you need. Some cities even have free walking tours with entertaining local guides, which is a great way to learn about the culture and history of the city you’re in, meet other travellers and support locals. The tours are officially obligation free, but at the end you will be invited to tip your guide whatever amount you want to.
Those with heart conditions should discuss their travel plans with their doctor before booking flights that may cause complications. Even though an insurer may not ask for one, a medical clearance certificate may be required for air travel by some airlines.
If you are on heart medications, be sure to bring a plentiful supply and carry them in your hand luggage. Be sure to discuss all pre-existing medical conditions with your travel insurance provider, including heart disease, to make sure you will be covered.
Travel insurance companies will generally consider all pre-existing conditions and you may simply have to pay a higher premium for coverage. To maintain a healthy heart during your travels, there are many choices you can make. Get enough exercise, opt for whole grains, eat fruits and vegetables, stay away from unhealthy fats, get enough sleep, and avoid stressful situations.
High cholesterol increases your risk of heart disease and heart attacks. Cholesterol increases with age and therefore becomes a greater concern for people over 65. We are all encouraged to maintain healthy cholesterol levels, but this can be tricky during a holiday.
Not all cholesterol is bad. It is the LDL cholesterol that is considered unhealthy as it sticks to the walls of blood vessels and arteries. Although medication can help to lower cholesterol, there are also many lifestyle choices you can make to lower your cholesterol and keep it there. Unfortunately, travel often tempts us with bad food choices found in all you can eat buffet resorts or on cruise ships. Try to eliminate (or at least limit) trans-fats which are found it fried foods, biscuits, and cakes. Opt for foods such as salmon to get omega-3 fatty acids, consume more soluble fibre, and look into whey protein supplements.
Over 4 million Australians aged over 50 have osteoporosis, a condition that sees our bones become thinner and more fragile as we age. Those with osteoporosis may feel intimidated by travelling but everyone can enjoy fun and safe holidays with a little planning. A travel agent may be able to assist you in planning and booking a holiday that meets your medical and fitness requirements.
To avoid osteoporosis, try sticking to a more Mediterranean diet which focuses on fruit, vegetables, fish, and whole grains. It is of course important to also keep up your calcium intake as well as Vitamin D. Sun soaked holiday destinations can help us get Vitamin D, but be sure to practise safe sun exposure to reduce the risk of skin cancer.
Long journeys can increase your chance of experiencing deep vein thrombosis, a blood clot that forms in deep veins found in the legs. Journeys lasting more than 4 hours put you at a higher risk of developing DVT whether you are travelling by plane, train, bus, or car.
Although the risk for DVT is small for most people, you are more at risk should you have coronary heart disease, are overweight, have a blood clotting disorder, or have had a recent injury or surgery. To avoid DVT, it is recommended you avoid sleeping tablets, stay hydrated, take frequent walks up and down the aisle of the plane, exercise your calf and foot muscles while seated, and look into elastic compression stockings.