Healthy Tips

June 28, 2017

Healthy Travel Begins at Home

Healthy Travel Begins at Home

Whether you travel for business or pleasure life away from home can feel like a large suitcase over-packed with stress – heavy and hard to carry.

One thing you can do to lighten the load that will help travel feel more relaxed is to make your life at home healthier. Practicing healthy habits at home will make it easier to feel healthy while traveling. When you establish healthy routines at home you will be more likely to make wellness part of your travel plans. Eating healthy foods and getting enough sleep and exercise are habits that will help you feel better at home and away from home.

Even when you have healthy routines at home there is one thing that can still make travel feel stressful – jet lag. Some ways to combat the symptoms of jet lag include the following.

  • Arrive early. Give yourself time to adjust to your new destination by arriving a day early.
  • Work your pre-travel routine. Once you find a routine that works for you, stick to it and you’ll cut back on the dramatic jet lag effects you’ve felt in the past.
  • Control your light exposure. Wear sunglasses on the plane or at any time you want to diminish blue light to stay on your “home” schedule.
  • Stay hydrated. Avoid alcohol and coffee 12 hours before you depart and drink only water on the plane.
  • Carry on. Not having to wait for your luggage to arrive on the other end means you can head straight to your destination and get started in your new time zone.
  • Reset your stomach. Eat at regular mealtimes. Focus on protein-rich breakfasts and light dinners.

Whatever you do, don’t let the idea of travel-related stress keep you at home.

According to Linden Schaffer – a wellness travel expert and author of Living Well on the Road: Health and Wellness for Travelers – in order to renew our well-being, we need to dedicate enough hours to sleep, enjoy daytime rest, find ways to disconnect from work, and be able to get distance and perspective from our problems. The only way to effectively do this is by taking a true vacation.

And yet, Schaffer writes, “The United States has earned the nickname “No Vacation Nation."

Some people choose not to take time off because they are afraid of losing their job or they worry that their boss will think less of them. Many people even go to work sick in order to prove how dedicated they are.

But research has shown that vacations make people healthier and also more productive.

For example, the Framingham Heart Study showed that middle-aged men who did not take vacations for several years were 30% more likely to have a heart attack. However, men who changed their behaviors and took more frequent vacations reduced their risk for mortality due to heart disease.

Other research has shown that travelers experience a 25% increase in performance on vigilance tests after returning from vacation, and travelers 45 or older showed a 50% increase in performance.

So practice healthy habits at home and then take them on the road, in the air, or on the water. The new sounds, smells, languages, tastes, sensations and sights will help you increase your health and your productivity. They might even help you launch a game changing company.

This information is from the book Living Well on the Road: Health and Wellness for Travelers. The book provides many useful tips for healthy living at home and while traveling – including living well on the road checklists and a list of major companies that originated while the founders were on vacation.

This book and others can be checked out free of charge at the Health Information Center located in the main lobby of the University of Tennessee Medical Center.

If you don't have a doctor and would like help finding one, call Healthcare Coordination to make an appointment.
This healthy tip is provided by the Health Information Center at the University of Tennessee Medical Center.

For reliable information on how to take better care of your health or a loved one’s health – or, on any health related topic – contact the Health Information Center. Staffed by medical librarians and certified health information specialists, the Health Information Center offers an extensive health library, digital and print resources, walk-in assistance, and help with research on specific health conditions — all free of charge and available to the public.