Tips for Healthy Holiday Travel from STAT Health Urgent Care

 

Here are some healthy holiday travel tips:

1. Get Your Sleep

Research has shown skipping even a few hours of sleep can make you more susceptible to catching a cold the next day. Get a full night’s rest. Make sleep a top priority on the night before your trip. If you can’t, get a designated driver to help you out. And, if you’re flying, make use of that in-flight pillow, blanket and eye mask on the airplane to help you get some shut eye.

Driving while drowsy can be just as dangerous, if not more dangerous than drunk driving.  Divide long rides between drivers and stop over if you need to.  If you’re worried about timing, remember it’s better to be a few hours late, then not arrive at all.

 

2. Stay active.

Don’t let the holidays disrupt your fitness routine. Exercise will boost your energy and mood while traveling. Wear comfortable shoes so you can walk around the airport terminal instead of sitting down to wait for boarding. And make a few trips up and down the aisle during your flight, even if you don’t need the restroom.  In the car, take breaks every two or three hours for a quick burst of fresh air and brisk walk around the service station. Plan family activities  that require moving around like sledding, skating or even caroling.

 

3.  Stay Hydrated

The dry air on a plane causes dehydration so  skip the in-flight cocktail, coffee and caffeinated beverages. Alcoholic beverages can have a stronger effect when you’re imbibing at high altitudes and may enhance jet-lag symptoms like fatigue, dizziness, headaches or mental grogginess. Your best bet is to drink plenty of water. If you know you’ve got a long wait at the airport and want to avoid spending $5 on bottled water, tote along an empty bottle and fill it up at a water fountain after you pass through security.

 

5. Don’t Stress

The holidays are a high stress time for many people. Make sure you are mentally prepared for delays and setbacks.  Account for traffic and flight cancellations in your plans and create backups.  Pack extra books, chargers and activities for the kids and yourself as well.  If your family is particularly stressful make sure you can take a few minutes to recharge, either by taking a drive or a walk for some peace and quiet.

 

6 Keep to your diet

Follow an 80/20 rule at dinner. Yes, you can have your holiday favorites, if you limit the portion sizes. Load up your plate with 80 percent fresh or steamed vegetables and fruits and 20 percent everything else. Avoid the holiday splurge-and-starve cycle. there’s a tendency to say ‘I overate at dinner last night, so I’ll just skip breakfast and lunch.’ Steer clear of that downward spiral. Better to break the cycle right away by starting the next morning with a quick walk and light, nutritious breakfast, and fill up with a snack and a glass of water before you sit down to the next tempting meal.