18 Jun Staying Healthy and Strong on the Road
For some of us, the lure and anticipation of travel—“the Road”—is almost magical. Long before you actually pull away from home-base or out of your most recent campsite, in your head you’re already on the Road, encountering wonders, beautiful and fascinating new places, and new people. What a great way to live!And yet the traveling life can, paradoxically, make staying healthy and strong a real challenge. There’s a lot of sitting involved. If you love walks or hiking, or plan to spend most of your sightseeing time on foot or on a bicycle, maybe getting enough exercise isn’t really a problem. But if you’re like most of us, exercising regularly is the exception rather than the rule.
Then there’s the food. Road food may be delicious, but it’s famously bad for us. Temptations loom at every stop: chips, cookies, pies, soda, cakes and slices. Except for fruit stands in summer-drenched farm country, few roadside food emporiums offer much in the way of healthy eating. But you don’t have to lose this battle. You can be king (or queen) of the road and still be able to see your feet. Because, hey! You’re carrying your kitchen with you! You can stay “home” and prepare simple, healthy meals while you’re traveling. It just takes a little planning and, if you’re not much of a cook, a little education. Go to the library or search the Internet for cookbooks—plenty of them can easily teach you to make simple-to-prepare, healthy meals.Enjoy yourself, eat well, and be fit and strong on the Road with these tips:A diet rich in vegetables and fruit, lean meat and fish, beans, legumes, and nuts, limited or low-fat dairy, and whole grain bread, pasta, cereals and brown rice is as delicious and healthy on the road as it is anywhere else. For fats, use olive or canola oil. Avoid sugary snacks and desserts.
For ease and simplicity, make healthy “one pot” meals: Sautee vegetables and meat in bite-sized chunks, and add a little broth and pasta that can cook while everything else in the pot simmers in the flavorful liquid. Pre-cooked rice or boil in the bag is great, added at the end. This method can make a one-pot meal or, by adding more broth, soup. Leftovers will taste even better.Instead of chips and cookies, keep cheese, nuts, raisins, trail mix, and fruit on hand as road-food. At restaurants, avoid creamy salad dressings, deep-fried foods, and those with sauces. Instead, order salads with vinaigrettes, baked, grilled, or roasted meats, and steamed, well-seasoned vegetables instead of those drenched in sauces. Ask for whole grain pasta or brown rice. Leave food on your plate. Drink water instead of sodas and other sweet beverages. You’ll cut hundreds of sugar-calories and open up storage space on board. Flavor your water, if you like, with a little fruit juice or some citrus slices. Walking is the easiest, least punishing, and downright healthiest forms of exercise, and it’s one that goes naturally with motorhoming. On the days you’re not out hiking, walking, or sightseeing on foot, purposely take at least two brisk, fifteen-minute walks around the campsite, a rest stop, or a park. Aim for at least 30 minutes of walking a day, five days a week. Stow a skipping rope on board and make like Rocky. Challenge yourself. Jumping rope is a fantastic form of exercise.Get some stretchy resistance bands and do slow, gentle stretching exercises. Aim to increase your strength and maintain your range of motion. Break a little sweat. You’re carrying your own shower with you, too!