How to Stay Healthy On Long Drives
We’re deep in the season of road trips, and if you’re like many automobile adventurers you’ve found yourself wondering how to keep up your healthy habits while stuck behind the wheel for long periods of time.
And summer isn’t the only time of year when this poses a challenge. Once summer is over, the holiday season tends to bring its own set of road trips and travels, and all the fitness conundrums that come with them.
So how can you stay healthy during road trips? Here are a few tips:
Make your health a priority.
If exercise and nutritious eating are nothing more than afterthoughts that pop into your head once you’re on the road, your health efforts are already sabotaged. Make a commitment to health before you strike out on the road so that you’re in the right mindset from mile one.
Go off the beaten path.
If you need to stop at a restaurant, don’t limit yourself to whatever is nearest the highway, which tends to be junky grab-and-go stuff. Instead, venture a bit further to find local restaurants with healthier options, grocery stores, or farmers markets.
Need a point in the right direction? There are a handful of apps on the market that are designed to help you find healthy restaurants, especially if you’re looking for vegetarian, vegan, or paleo options.
Pack your meals.
One of the hardest aspects of maintaining health on the road involves nutrition. Gas stations and fast food joints are not renowned for their healthy options, after all.
Negate the issue by packing food along. Whether that means loading up on lots of healthy snacks like nuts and fruit or bringing along a cooler full of more elaborate meals (wraps, for example, are healthy and easy to eat on the road), make sure you don’t leave yourself to the mercy of whatever comes along.
Eat road food wisely.
Occasionally you’re going to find that you have no choice but to eat something less than ideal. When that happens, eat smart. Choose food items that have lots of protein. Not only does this support muscle growth, but they tend to be more filling.
Eat vegetables whenever you get the chance. Sometimes they’re few and far between, so load up when they’re an option. Watch the liquid calories. Sodas, energy drinks, coffees and teas with lots of sweetener, anything alcoholic – these are all packed with calories and sugar. Avoid at all cost and be sure to drink plenty of water in their place.
Make an “on the go” full body workout routine.
Certain bodyweight exercises can be performed anywhere, so build a routine of a few specific moves that will, combined, hit your whole body.
A solid plan might include pushups, tricep dips, planks (including side planks), and squats. Between these four exercises, you’ll hit every major muscle group.
Bring along portable tools for fitness success. This starts with your workout clothes and running shoes, but it can extend to anything you can fit in your car – jump rope, Olympic rings, dumbbells, yoga mat, frisbee, resistance bands, a bicycle, or whatnot.
Get up and move.
When you’re on a road trip, it can be easy to find yourself trapped sitting behind the wheel for hours or even days at a time. Be sure to pull over and take the occasional walk, or to get in some stretching when you get the chance.
Use an actual gym.
If possible, plan around the ability to use an actual gym. Whether this means staying at a hotel that offers one or signing up for a day or week long pass at a gym near where you’ll be staying, nothing beats the real thing.