Health Risks of Frequent Travel and How to Avoid Them

If you’re lucky enough to have a job that has you travel, a long distance relationship, or maybe you just have an incurable travel bug. Whatever it is, if you travel frequently you know it’s both a blessing and sometimes a curse. Frequent travel has so many benefits to us, like teachings us new cultures, getting us out of the house and so on. The question is, is there such thing as traveling too much?  As it turns out, there are risks of traveling too much that can actually be harmful to your health, but if you take the right precautions you can travel until your heart’s content and avoid these potential dangers of frequent travel.

1. Being exposed to illness

If you’re traveling to a third world country, this is obviously a big flag. Vaccinations, parasites and illness are a huge risk, so before you travel, look up the health risks and see what’s needed for you to travel there safely. If you’re not going as extreme as somewhere with limited health care, you may still be exposed to illness through crowded transportation spots like germ-ridden airplanes, buses, taxis, subways stops. Even hotel rooms, hostels and airbnb’s can have some pathogens floating around. When you’re traveling, you may also be eating out more often, which can expose you to some more health risks of the restaurants. The best way to prevent this is to get your immune system up with health supplements such as Ashwagandha and Vitamin C,  avoiding sugar before you travel (which weakens your immune system), and packing snacks and planning your meal times and places so you don’t have to settle for the first divey place you stumble into.

2. Blood Clots

Frequent long-duration flights can pose some risks. Many health experts are saying “sitting is the new smoking”, warning people against the dangers of sitting too long and mentioning the negative health risks it has on your body. Blood clots are definitely a real thing. If you are on multiple hour flights, especially internationally, you may be at risk for blood clots and varicose veins. One thing you can do to prevent this is to wear compression socks.

3. Jet Lag Consequences

The internal clock of our body helps us regulate our sleeping patterns. For many of us busy bodies, sleep may be something we try to sneak in any hour of the day we can fund time for some shut eye. Or maybe you’re too busy to sleep at all, so you over-caffeinate to stay alert. Confusing your body with lack of sleep can be detrimental to your health in the short term and long term. It can cause tiredness, less exercise, sugar and carb cravings, weight gain, and brain fog. What you can do instead: If you have any control over your flight times, book them strategically as it aligns with your sleep. If you can sleep on planes, book an overnight flight so that you can go about more normally. Instead of over-caffeinating with caffeine and giving into sugar cravings, make sure you maintain your normal healthy diet and exercise regimen.

4. Lack of Excercise

If you’re traveling for leisure, you probably have a strict schedule of things to do, people to visit or places to see and hitting the gym probably isn’t anywhere on your list. If you are traveling for work, you probably have even less time and more stress on your trip to sneak away for some exercise. When you’re home, surely your routine is on point with a dialed diet and exercise routine, but once you plan to travel all of that can go out the window. Here’s what you can do: Make exercising just before your travel a priority, just as you would packing. Whether it’s the day, night or few hours before, working out before you step on the plan can get you in one last workout, and help prevent you from being restless on the plane. If you work out hard enough, you may even get tired enough to fall asleep. Also be sure to book a hotel or amenities that have a gym, and force yourself to wake up that extra hour to use the gym. If you don’t have a gym, take a run or walk outside. When you’re international, try to walk or bike a lot instead of taking taxis everywhere. Plus, this will save you money and show you more of the city.

5. Unhealthy Diet and Weight Gain

When traveling, it may be hard to get to health food, or even harder to justify eating healthy. You’re in a rush, you’re on vacation, or maybe you’re visiting your health conscious relatives who think all the “healthy stuff” is a quack. Whatever the case, don’t allow traveling to cause you to be unhealthy. If you’re losing sleep, don’t have coffee but nourish your body with a lot of water to stay hydrated and healthy proteins. You know that you will be traveling, so plan packing food just as you would your clothes. Bring healthy, high protein snacks, or even protein powder. Compress it from the giant bottle into ziplock baggies and take it as a filler so you’re not tempting to cave into the cheap-airplane food.

 

 

 

Have more tips for staying healthy while traveling? I’d love to hear about them!

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