|10 Tips for Healthy Travels |
The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Staying Healthy Tips by Elson M. Haas MD.
View all columns in series
- Hydration is the key to healthier travel! Drink water. It sounds simple, yet is often overlooked. Plane trips are dehydrating, and water keeps you healthy by cleansing toxins and hydrating tissues. Carry plenty of good (bottled spring) water with you for air or car travel, and drink it.
Most people need at least two to three quarts of liquid per day, and more in hot weather or with sweating and exercise. If you drink more than this, add some electrolyte solution, such as Emergen-C packets, to your water. Almost all commercially prepared drinks are high in sugar and are not a substitute for the healing benefits of water. Sun and salt are dehydrating, so balance your need between salt and water. Avoid drinking water that has been in sun-heated plastic containers so as to not consume plastic chemicals.
- Minimize the Effects of Exposure – With air travel, you are exposed to chemicals and radiation from planes as well as close contact with people. Protect yourself with the right supplements (see below) and water, and minimize your exposure to germs. Wash your hands with natural, non-scented anti-bacterial soap. After you land at your destination, you might try a cleansing bath of sea salt and baking soda (one-half cup of each, and carry some with you) in hot water, and soak in it for at least 30 minutes. You can also use Epsom salts.
For dry skin, carry and use nourishing, natural body lotion (great after your bath). While enjoying the sun and outdoors, protect yourself from overexposure to sunlight by wearing a hat and using natural sunscreens without excessive chemicals. Carry Aloe Vera gel for overexposure. The cooling and healing gel will soothe any sunburn. For clothing, cotton is best since it breathes and energy moves through it. The synthetics are easy to wash but the chemicals and lack of ventilation are possible problems. Have layers of clothes to wear to protect you from ticks, poison plants, scratches, and from overexposure. Also, take good sunglasses since excessive sunlight can cause headaches and dehydration.
- Exercise – Be aware of your activity level. Sometimes it's actually easier to be active when you're away from work and everyday chores. Go easy and don't injure yourself by overdoing it at first. Ease into exercise. Enjoy the gift of unscheduled time, and the stimulation of a different environment. Experiment with your exercise routine.
Monitor your progress to see what's most effective and most pleasurable. Then, when you get back home, you can incorporate these new activity habits. When traveling for business, be sure to exercise to clear your mind and body. Aerobic activity is important for keeping the heart strong and healthy.
Get plenty of refreshing activities – hiking, biking, and swimming--in these hotter months. Even short bursts of healing aerobic activity can de-stress and dump toxins through your sweat equity. Breathing is a most necessary component to health. Pay attention regularly to your breath and your state of stress.
- Foods – Enjoy Nature's bounty wherever you travel (in the US and Europe) by eating fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables at their organic best. Many cities have a downtown farmer's market; ask the locals where they would go for fresh foods. If you do find a good resource, buy some simple and nourishing snacks that will eliminate the need to buy quick junk foods. Good snack choices include apples and other fruits, almonds and sunflower seeds, and some good protein bars.
About The Author
Elson M. Haas, MD
is founder & Director of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin (since 1984), an Integrated Health Care Facility in San Rafael, CA and author of many books on Health and Nutrition, including ...more