Healthy Lifestyle While Traveling
Many people I know complain that it’s impossible to maintain a healthy lifestyle when they travel. This also applies when moving to a new country or city. It’s really very easy to just buy something quick from the street (fast food, sandwiches, etc.) and just skip exercising when you travel. It’s certainly a lot easier to live healthy in a location where you have a clear routine and know where you can buy your food. At home you also often have a more regular sleeping pattern. Trust me—eating healthy in the Chinese countryside is not always easy, but I would still argue that living healthy in a new location is a lot easier than most people would expect.
First, I must define “living healthy.” I believe there is no one optimum way of living healthy. No particular ideology is necessarily better than another, but I can say quite strongly that eating whole food is better than eating overly processed food. Eating natural fresh food is often better than eating food that has been stored for a long time. Maintaining an active lifestyle is also better than leading a passive lifestyle. Moving naturally is better than working out on a machine. Having a regular good night’s sleep is better than sleep deficiency. Drinking a lot of water is especially important. Common sense should tell us the best way to live healthy.
I would like share six very simple tips for a more healthy living in new locations.
1. Search for different local health food stores in advance.
Getting a healthy snack is not that difficult when you are prepared. For example, I like Happy Cow service, and their interactive map helps me find these small, specialized stores.
2. Look for running tracks with Google Maps.
Health clubs are expensive and not usually open for visitors. Not all cities have decent park systems, but almost all cities have one or more stadiums. Using them is either free or quite inexpensive. Gyms and swimming pools are also usually available. They are easy to find with Google Maps satellite view, and you can easily interact with many local people.
3. Prepare for jet lag.
When passing through several time zones, you might upset your normal sleep pattern quite badly. If you take it seriously, however, stay hydrated, and, for example, when departing, set your clock to the time in the location where you will arrive, everything will go much more smoothly. More tips from here.
4. Rent a bike.
If you are not a very fit runner, biking is the ultimate way to explore a city. You can get a nice workout and also see and feel the city a lot better than you would if you used public transport.
5. Bring nutrient-dense superfoods with you.
I know some countries have very strict border control over living foods, but with the new superfood trend, it has never been easier to pack a healthy snack. Eating goji berries, spirulina, chia, or matcha tea powder is not necessarily the ultimate core diet for every person in the world, but having them is one way to carry lightweight nutrient-dense foods with you. A pack with each of these foods will weigh much less than the bad novel you were going to bring and will quite likely provide a lot more inspiration. Having these foods with you will also provide a “health buffer” while you are looking for good places to eat.
6. Always carry your own refillable water bottle.
Most people seriously underestimate their need for (nonalcoholic) liquids while traveling. Always carry a water bottle with you.
To sum up, I don’t think we should aim to always live a superbly healthy lifestyle every single moment of our lives. Such behavior would amount to having an obsession. Maybe we could just try to choose the healthiest choice, which is easily available. If no biodynamic mango is available, maybe we can buy an ordinary mango and not act like a martyr. Excess stress and worry about always having high-quality food can be bad, but eating a Big Mac is not so good either. Just try to choose the healthiest choice on the menu and try to maintain even a slight level of physical activity. Most of the time you will be fine until you get back home or settle down in your new home.