How to Stay Healthy While Traveling: Dr. Cohen Goes To Croatia
By: Rick Cohen, M.D.
Traveling internationally across multiple time zones and then spending a few weeks working yourself into a new culture is not quite the easiest thing on your body and mind. And it's the same no matter where you go: traveling (to varying extents) takes you away from your home, routine and what you know you need to stay healthy and fit.
Healthy living on the go can be stressful, frustrating and even a bit scary at times, especially if you require something and it's not available or you run out.
But having an awareness of your health, the foresight to plan ahead and the ability to be adaptable is essential for the best chances of an enjoyable journey. No matter where in the world you are.
Do you like insanely valuable information?
Then read all about my recent exciting trip to Croatia below, see some beautiful pictures, and get my tips and detailed advice for conquering the most common health challenges that come with travel and being on the go!
Challenge #1: Avoiding Sickness & Malaise
We all understand how to minimize the risks of catching something while traveling. But, many different factors (food, water, people, sanitation, habits, etc.) come into play and from all angles so, no matter how hard you try, getting sick and/or feeling beat down is sometimes unavoidable when traveling.
I believe the best offense is the best defense when it comes to both staying illness free and keeping healthy on the go; take care of yourself well before departure and ensure your health is in peak condition. The stronger and healthier you are going into the journey, the better.
I recommend taking with you:
1. a vitamin D supplement
2. Activated charcoal and oregano oil
4. DAILY DOSE™, FUNDAMINOS™, & CHOCOBERRY™
1. Ditch the coffee and energy drinks when feeling low; instead, drink UNBEETABREW™ for energy, immunity, and health in one satisfying cup!
2. Look at the allergy and AQI forecasts before hand. Plan your time outside along with anything else you may need to bring according to these readings.
Challenge #2: Minimizing Jet Lag
There are many articles on the internet discussing just this issue. But, in my experience, it's best to get as much sleep as you can on the airplane and then go with the flow of the sun upon arrival.
Are you traveling to the EU or farther from USA? Sleep as much as you can on the plane then stay awake when you get in. Be as active as you can until it's your equivalent normal hour back home to go to sleep.
Are you traveling to USA from the EU or farther? You probably got up very early to catch the flight. Catch up on some sleep after take off and make sure to stretch your legs as much as possible to mimic a normal day time rhythm. When you get to your final destination, go right to sleep.
1. Don't set the alarm early the next morning after travel, if you can! You need sleep to recover and rebalance your body and mind.
2. Try ear plugs or noise cancelling headphones on the flight. They block the loud airplane noise and can help minimize jet lag.
3. Take BEET'UMS™ and PURECLEAN POWDER™ before, during, and after flying/traveling to increase blood flow and enhance detoxification.
4. Utilize a hot shower to destress and unwind. Avoid cold showers when you already are under stress and/or are not feeling well.
Challenge #3: Getting Healthy Sleep
This one is tricky and sometimes out of your control. No two beds are the same, nobody said the room was right next to the train station, and what in the world is that thing crawling on the wall?
It's obviously better to stay in a quiet location inside a dark room and sleep in a comfortable bed with good climate control.
To create a healthy sleeping environment:
1. Try to set the room temp to 65 degrees.
2. Use a sleep mask.
3. Play white noise and/or use ear plugs.
Other than that, there is not much else you can do except going to bed relaxed, satisfied, and at a consistent time.
PRO TIP: Download the App, SLEEP SOUNDS. It's free and allows you to customize your white noise and even set a timer! Also, if you're going to Croatia, try to find some top sheets; they only supply tick comforters which are VERY HOT.
Challenge #4: Eating, Finding Healthy Food & Water
This is one of the most important challenges you need to overcome. Start your diet off right by packing home cooked meals and snacks for your entire travel day on both ends of the journey. You are allowed to bring most types of food with you on the flight and it won't count as an extra carry on bag, so don't skimp!
When you arrive at your destination, know how you will be accessing and stocking up on healthy food and clean water.
To make things easier, I recommend:
1. Making yourself a large nut mix with sweetened cocoa nibs ahead of time as your go-to snack.
2. Bringing lots of sardines! A quick, healthy, and filling meal right out of a can; I like the Safe Catch brand.
3. Not relying on restaurants to keep you fueled with the right nutrition. Enjoy your meal, of course, and remember to take DAILY DOSE™ to balance yourself with full spectrum nutrients!
4. Finding a few staples at the regional grocery stores that are consistently available and nutritious. For example, the A2 milk kefir in Croatia made for a nice blender drink taste and nutrition booster.
5. Bringing your own portable blender along with PURECLEAN PROTEIN™, CHOCOBERRY BLAST™ and coconut milk powder. Locate a solid source of fat, like butter or olive oil, and keep that handy as well.
6. Taking BEET'UMS™ with a teaspoon or two of fat (like butter or coconut oil) to blunt hunger and as a filling dessert; go to bed feeling nourished and satisfied.
7. Bringing a few BPA free bottles and a container for leftovers. Try to find accommodation with an induction stove or buy a cheap hot plate and pan to cook with, especially if traveling for extended periods of time.
8. Rely on FUNDAMINOS™ to help you conquer stress and avoid the degradation of your body from traveling.
PRO TIP: Check ahead to see if the place/country you are going to has potable drinking water and what the typical grocery store looks like. In Croatia, for example, the tap water is actually very good but the typical grocery store is below average (thanks YouTube!).
Challenge #5: Minimizing Stress & Having Fun
Travel can actually be very stressful; in fact, it can ruin your trip and/or vacation. The best way to eliminate stress is to plan ahead and make extra time in case something goes wrong.
As for having fun, it's all about keeping a positive attitude towards what you're doing and fostering a thirst for adventure!
Challenge #6: Staying Strong & Fit
It's actually a lot easier than you might think to say in shape while traveling. You don't really need to go to a gym nor do you really need tons of time. It's still important to know how active you'll be on the road and what the purpose of your travels are so you can plan the specifics of what you'll need to bring.
As for how long you can go without losing gains on the road, it just depends on your level of fitness and how serious an athlete you are. If you're frequently physically active while traveling, you shouldn't be concerned about losing gains during the first week of travel. After that, you'll need more specific workouts and exercise planning to prevent detraining.
Aerobic training tips:
1. If you have time, see where you can go for a run and/or have access to some open space to move. National parks, trail systems, beaches, and city parks are great options.
2. Do a sprint 8; it can even be done inside. This involves doing any sort of activity or mix of activities (running around a track, jumping/running in place, burpees, rowing machine, elliptical machine, etc. ) 8 times total ON hard for 30-40 secs with 1-2 mins OFF active rest in between.
3. Be creative with what you can do and explore possibilities of cross training.
4. Minimize sitting as much as possible
Strength training tips:
1. It's essential that you bring a TRX and the door jam for it. This piece of equipment lets you strength train almost anywhere and anyplace.
2. Workout with blood flow resistance bands. These bands limit blood flow to your muscle during activity, are heavily researched and proven to increase strength, even when using 30% of your 1RM.
3. Look around and be creative with what you can use for some extra weight. For example, if you're staying in a place with a water cooler and see an extra 5 gallon (about 40lbs.) hard plastic water jug sitting on the floor, thank the workout gods!
4. Experiment with different types of strength training: isometric holds, slow reps, and less rest between sets.
5. Find a place with safe terrain to do short, hard sprints. Hill sprints are great, too!
6. Bring looped resistance bands and corded bands with handles.
7. Do a Tabata; also can be done inside. Same concept as the Sprint 8, but you go 20 secs ON and 10 seconds OFF16 times. Great when done with alternating movements, like squats to pushups.
PRO TIP: Stress less about "getting in your reps" and focus more on trying new, exciting ways to improve.
Challenge #7: Settling Into A New Routine
There is no easy way to adapt to a new place, rhythm, and environment; but, it's a skill and, like anything else, it comes better with more experience.
Ask yourself what your weaknesses are and how to best accommodate yourself. For example, if you're someone who needs more sleep, make sure to plan to go to bed at a reasonable time. Or, if you need to work, then maybe getting up a bit earlier and/or finding a way to accomplish tasks on the go is a good solution. Do you feel usually feel stressed by the hustle and bustle of a new city? Try an escape to a near by city park!
Aim to go with the flow and learn to enjoy a different routine on the road with a sense of adventure and openness. The most important thing is that you take care of yourself and do what you're there to do.
PRO TIP: Do you like a cup of tea every morning, a hot shower at night, or a bit of meditation outside? Don't sacrifice what you enjoy just because you're on the go! Aim to do one or two of the things you usually like to do at home everyday on the road, when possible, to settle in better.
Challenge #8: Taking Good Pictures