Given that Dallas is showered in sunshine two-thirds of the year, my desire to escape has subsided greatly since moving back to Texas from London, but my travel habits and my love for traveling are forever ingrained. Rather than wreaking havoc on our health and beauty routines while on the road, here are five habits to revive the "lock-and-leave" lifestyle:
Habit 1: Hit the Ground Running
One of the quickest ways to help lessen the negative effects of traveling is to get outdoors for a 20-minute sprint or speed walk. Whether those 20-minutes become an hour or an afternoon, walking or jogging at a moderate pace helps keep muscles toned, joints loosened, self-esteem rising, and the aging process slowing. It also brightens your skin and helps your mind clear. Personally, I enjoy listening to podcasts or audiobooks during the trek, before turning the volume down for at least part of the outing to soak up a little more nature or the sounds of a new city. Sometimes it takes the entire taxi ride to convince myself to stick to the plan, but I can't say I ever regret dropping my bags and throwing on my workout gear on either the home or the away end of travel.
Habit 2: Gnaw on Raw Snacks
Raw, unprocessed foods are packed with enzymes, vitamins and minerals which help keep your immune levels strong and your energy levels high. Chopping and freezing any leftover produce into smoothie-portioned packages prior to traveling makes for a quick, healthy, blendable treat when you return home. If you find yourself on an extended getaway, pack or pick up a few lemons for the road and sip warm (or iced, depending on the climate) lemon water morning and evening to help clear the toxins of traveling and make sure to take a reusable water bottle. Many stores now sell 100% squeezed lemon juice which can be taken on board your aircraft in a 100ml vial, although keep in mind that lemon juice should be kept cold once opened so perhaps you'll want to make your mix straight after going through security. If you're going to be in town a few days, seek out the nearest produce markets and stock up on local, seasonal grains, fruits and/or vegetables for snacking, rather than turning to sugary bars or the lure of the mini-bar. Or consider booking a produce delivery online. Finally, cooking lessons offer a way to learn the local cuisine while inspiring new techniques to take back home - a delightful souvenir that can help introduce new ideas and ingredients into your regime.
Habit 3: Mile-high Detox
A smoothie on the way to the airport and a large, empty water bottle are all you need for a fantastic mini-detox. Leave your weaknesses on the ground and try to resist onboard snacks at all cost. Seize the rare chance to spend time offline - reading, writing and/or sleeping. Grab a book from home and let it consume you onboard rather than staring at your usual devices. If you expect any chance of getting hangry while on board the aircraft, try packing seed mixes, nut butter sachets, or dried fruit and vegetables that travel easily whilst helping satiate hunger. Look for options with low-sodium, which will help support hydration at high altitude. Freshly peeled oranges offer your senses a nice refresh from stale aircraft scents. But most importantly, stay hydrated. It's estimated that plastic cups stay on the earth 450 years on average, and yet they serve a far smaller portion of water than is necessary to keep your mind, skin, and organs feeling rejuvenated. So, BYOB and fill up before boarding. If you're not a fan of fountains, a friendly barista should be able to help. And if you're a person who craves flavor, add a few slices of cucumber and/or mint at home, or skip the coffee lines and opt for iced tea at a local restaurant for an antioxidant boost to boot.
Habit 4: Go Clubbing
I'm referring to fitness clubs here, but even nightclub dancing qualifies on both the anonymity and calorie burning elements of the mission. Where better to take a lesson in something totally new, such as surfing or dancing, than a place where no one knows you? If you know or meet anyone who's into the local sport or fitness scene, meet up for a class, a game or even a stroll in lieu of, or in addition to, the usual drinks or meal. When visiting new cities, I typically checkout local studios ahead of time to see what trial-based passes or packages are available, and in cities such as New York, I often end up booking hotels near my favorite studios to increase my chance of visiting them. Visiting innovative classes and scenic jogging trails outside our home city is one of my favorite ways to dive into local culture while keeping my cardio routine rolling. Whether you catch the start or the end of those AM hours for whichever style of clubbing you choose, a little power nap will serve you well.
Habit 5: Opt Outside
Breathe in fresh air and bright daylight whenever possible. Booking hotels within walking distance of activities and planning active transportation to local hot spots ahead of time adds a layer of adventure to any journey. If traveling in a group, volunteer activities or restaurants that suit your taste. If you have free time while you're away, seek out bike tours, walking trails, bikes to hire and other sporty ways to trek the city. Ask around for good places to catch the sunrise or sunset. Prioritize local parks and/or river strolls on your sightseeing list for the chance to immerse in nature. Be on the lookout for outdoor patios or seek out picnic space and bring your own nibbles and beverages. The opportunity to take public transportation or shared ride services will still stand if the weather objects. Whether at home or away, planning around a few healthy pillars helps me savor and enjoy the indulgences, rather than just plowing right through them.
Wellness is far more simple than we make it. For those whose habits are deeply instilled, travel days force a change in routine, for better or for worse. So, next time you pack up, on either end of your journey, take a fresh assessment of what it is that truly keeps you nourished, take it with you, and leave the rest behind. Salud... and Bon Voyage!
ABOUT COLBY HANKS
Colby Hanks is a 500-hour Certified Yoga Instructor and Group Fitness Coach with over a decade of teaching experience. Originally from Mt. Pleasant, Texas, she obtained her BBA from The University of Texas at Austin, launched a career in digital marketing and later joined The Estée Lauder Companies in London, where she also founded Slice Studios (www.slicestudios.co.uk), London’s original outlet for boutique fitness classes. After returning to North America in 2015, Colby was featured in Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team. Now based in Dallas, Colby works as a financial analyst and enjoys spending time outdoors whenever possible. For more information on upcoming wellness seminars, free community classes and/or private retreats, visit www.colbyranae.com.
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