September 10, 2018 12:00 am
Updated: September 10, 2018 2:33 pm

How to stay healthy while travelling

Deposit Photos, Pacific Blue Cross

In the weeks leading up to vacation, many of us get into a routine of eating healthy and working out.

But once we’re on vacation, it’s like all of our health rules go out the window. Snacks, drinks, a lack of working out, and even the stress of travelling can quickly derail even the most health-conscious.

In partnership with Pacific Blue Cross, Canada’s most trusted travel insurance, we look at ways to stay on top of our health goals while travelling.

There’s an app for that

It’s hard to keep up with an exercise routine when you’re away from home, but there are certain things you can do to stay active.

Whether that’s booking a hotel with a gym or pool, downloading an app that guides you through workouts you can do in your room, or reserving outings that require physical activity, planning to be active is key.

“When you get to your destination, instead of buying a hop-on, hop-off bus pass or something similar, make sure you pack good walking shoes and do walking tours,” suggests health and travel aficionado Patrick Gill, Pacific Blue Cross’s senior manager of travel insurance.

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He notes that a vacation is also a great time to start using a new step tracker or fitness app. Not only will you be able to focus more on hitting your goals, but you may feel so good about getting into a workout routine that you’ll continue with it when you return home.

Studies have shown that people who use fitness apps are more active than those who don’t, making them a great tool for motivation.

While Fitbits are the most-worn technology for tracking steps, there are other apps that can help you get in a healthy mindset.

Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout is a 2018 Webby Award honouree, and celebrity trainer Kayla Itsines’ Sweat app is one of the most downloaded fitness apps of the year.

Apps aren’t just great for staying physically active.

Another 2018 Webby winner, Headspace, has been gaining traction as a great device for meditation on-the-go, something that experts say is key when it comes to maintaining healthy levels of stress. Because as we all know, stress and travel go hand-in-hand.

Healthy travels

Exercise and food aside, staying organized and planning ahead is a crucial part of a stress-free and healthy vacation.

Gill recommends getting travel insurance since “the medical costs abroad can be extremely high, so just having that peace of mind can let you enjoy your trip to the fullest.”

Travel insurance provides coverage so you can go to the doctor or hospital at your travel destination rather than waiting to get home, which makes it important not just for your peace of mind, but your overall health.

The Pacific Blue Cross app makes it easy to buy travel insurance and have all your key insurance information at your fingertips should you need to visit a doctor while on vacation.

With that being said, the best way to stay healthy while travelling may actually be the vacation itself.

Science has proven that people who don’t take time off are at a higher risk of heart attacks, while researchers have also linked vacation time to better mental health and well-being. 

“Vacations give us a chance to disengage from stress at work so we can replenish our mental energy,” Megan Kaulius, a Health and Wellness Program Manager at Pacific Blue Cross says.

“And studies have also shown that vacation time is a great way to increase mental clarity, creativity and life satisfaction.”

Deposit Photos, Pacific Blue Cross

Food for thought

No matter how many steps you fit in, something that’s harder to control while away is eating and drinking. We’re often at the mercy of restaurant menus and have a tendency to overindulge.

One strategy to avoid overdoing it is to plan a night to have that special dessert or that extra cocktail.

Another strategy is to pick a hotel room with a fridge that can be cleared out, and then stocking up on healthy alternatives like fresh vegetables and fruit.

“Preparation is key,” says registered dietician nutritionist Ilana Muhlstein.

“I always say water first, veggies most…There are a lot of veggies that are portable and snackable and don’t require washing and refrigerating for at least one (or) two days.”

Mini cucumbers, sugar snap peas and cherry tomatoes are good options.

Another way to avoid overeating while staying on track with your health goals is water. Gill recommends bringing your own bottle with you so that you can track how much you’re drinking while having easy access to H2O wherever you go.

Studies have shown drinking half a litre of water could increase your metabolism by 24-30 per cent, and that those who drank that same amount of water before meals lost 44 per cent more weight over a period of 12 weeks. Drinking more water in general sounds like a smart idea—at home or on the road.

Before you embark on your next adventure, see how Pacific Blue Cross Travel Insurance can help you enjoy healthy travels.. Learn more here.

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