Healthy Travelling

Travelling can be an exciting holiday adventure or a working necessity of life. Both often involve miles of exhausting journeys, hours away from loved ones and erratic meal times. Add to this the stress and strain of keeping to a demanding schedule and the result can be a pretty hectic and unhealthy lifestyle. Be aware of the hazards, they could affect your work, cost you your health, or worst still your family. It’s good to feel fit full of energy and able to cope efficiently with problems, but a healthy lifestyle is a combination of sensible eating and moderate regular exercise.

Exercising makes the body more efficient and helps retain maximum mobility which is particularly important as we age. However we are all made differently and heredity and individual metabolic rates determine our individual natural body shape. Mentally we all have differing aims and limitations too. Top flight sports persons strive to attain maximum strength and stamina, whilst the majority of us are satisfied with moderate strength and reasonable suppleness and flexibility.

However the majority of us need to be more active and should make exercise part of our regular daily routine. But it can be difficult to motivate and make the effort when you’re on the move, although from personal experience, despite a hectic schedule I know it’s a habit worth getting into.

During the 80’s we in the UK were exposed to the fitness boom, and I’m proud to have been there with my daily appearance as the Green Goddess on BBC TV’s Breakfast Time. With increased knowledge of a healthy lifestyle have come the facilities to put theory into practice and health clubs, gyms, sports and leisure centres everywhere have classes and facilities to encourage us all to get fit at any required level. Whilst travelling there is no excuse not to be active, and it pays to find out what is available at your destination and to take advantage of the facilities.

Help yourself by walking up stairs in the Hotel instead of using the lift and make sure you walk briskly to work or places of interest whenever possible. Take in the local colour around the vicinity of your Hotel with a brisk 20 minute brisk walk in the fresh air,it will benefit you both physically and mentally. If you are feeling in need of more energetic exercise jog around the local park, or failing that pack a skipping rope into your luggage to get you moving. 10 minutes of skipping is excellent aerobic exercise to benefit your heart and lungs, improve your circulation, get rid of pent up frustrations and keep you mobile.

Most towns have a public swimming bath so take advantage of exercising and relaxing in the pool. Swimming is the finest, safest form of exercise for everyone including those with physical disabilities, because your body weight is supported by the water. Many local sports centres have facilities for squash, tennis, badminton and gyms full of exercise equipment and trained staff to advise you. Exercise groups, yoga, Pilates, aerobic and step classes are available in most towns and it’s a great way of meeting people. Ask your Hotel receptionist for local information and whenever possible make your own hotel reservation in a hotel which has its own integral swimming pool and mini-gym.

If you are serious about regular exercise look out for and book accommodation near a public Sports Centre, find out about the activities offered by calling the local council or use Yellow Pages. For most sporting activities it’s advisable to book in advance to save disappointment. For more detailed information contact the CCPR: (Central Council of Physical Recreation) info@ccpr.org.uk

Travelling can be a lonely business but through the universal medium of sport you have the chance of getting to know real people and perhaps of making lifelong friends. If you’re still not convinced, a night at the local disco dancing the hours away can also be a very pleasant form of exercise. Whatever motivates you to get off your bottom and be active has to be good!

But a word of warning: If you have pains in your arms or chest, suffer from severe breathlessness, heart problems or have high blood pressure seek medical advice before rushing off. Know your limitations, don’t set your goals too high, and don’t work out for at least an hour after a heavy meal. Over-indulgence in anything can have adverse effects, so listen to your body, too much exercise too soon can result in injury

There has been a huge increase in world travel and more people are on the move. But with long distance air travel comes the potential health risk of a deep vein thrombosis, commonly known as DVT. DVT affects thousands of air travellers each year often occuring in conjunction with an established illness or condition where the natural tendency of the blood to clot is increased. It can be caused by long periods of immobility, particularly on long haul flights where sitting in cramped conditions for long periods creates blood flow problems. An inefficient, sluggish blood flow increases the risk of a thrombosis

Minor symptom of DVT include fluid collecting in the lower limbs causing swollen legs and ankles, but more serious symptom include
• Rapid heartbeat
• Palpitations
• Breathlessness or coughing

To prevent DVT commonly known as “economy class syndrome” walk up and down the aisles of the aircraft whenever possible during a long flight. Wear loose comfortable clothing and avoid crossing your legs, especially when sleeping and don’t drink excess alcohol which causes your body to become dehydrated. Dehydration can cause the blood to thicken, and on a long journey the air inside the plane’s cabin can become very dry. Drink plenty of water instead.

Exercise and walking around the aircraft will improve circulation by encouraging the action of the leg muscles, so do simple leg and feet exercises throughout the duration of the flight. The calf muscle at the back of the lower leg pumps and encourages the return of blood from your legs and feet back to the heart. For some people taking an aspirin before a long flight helps thin the blood and discourages the blood from clotting. (Aspirin is not advisable for anyone who has an established medical condition such as a stomach ulcer).

If you are concerned about the risk of DVT talk to your GP before your journey, particularly if you have had phlebitis or a previous thrombosis).
Plan your journey well and you can return home feeling refreshed not hampered or exhausted from your travels!