Here’s How to Make the Trip Healthier
Dec 20, 2023
A road trip can be a great way to take a short trip out of town and enjoy a change of scenery safely and economically. However, when you think of road trips, if you think of the array of sugary snacks at fast-food restaurants and gas stations, you might wonder if you can have a road trip that doesn't jeopardize your health goals.
Read on for moves you can do in the car, little exercises you can do at rest stops, and more. The guide will also include tips such as healthy road trip snacks, packaged beverages and foods for quick healthy meals, and the importance of maintaining a good night's sleep and safety by maintaining social distancing and practicing good hygiene.
Your road trip plans will allow you to enjoy a healthier vacation.
Plan to pack healthy food. If your road trip lasts more than a few hours and you plan to stay overnight somewhere, you can pack some healthy road trip snacks and meals to save money and cut calories. Store the cooler with ice cubes and freezer bags in a convenient place in your car to make healthy sandwiches, yogurt, cheese sticks, sliced fruit, and sliced raw vegetables.
When you're a little hungry, preparing for healthy choices will help prevent you from eating greasy combo meals on the road or bagged salty snacks at rest stops. Keep hand sanitizer in your car, purse or backpack to reduce exposure to germs and viruses.
Bring enough water. Yes, drinking water (or anything) on your road trip means you may need more stops, but staying hydrated is important so you can stay alert, and it can give you an excuse to get out of your sitting position and get around. "Make sure you're getting enough fluids to maintain your body's normal function and prevent dehydration," advises Jessica Mazuko, a New York-based certified fitness trainer and founder of TheGluteRecruit.com.
You can bring a reusable water bottle from home to rehydrate at rest stops. (It's also the greener option!) We love the straws with flip tops for convenient straws that keep the driver hydrated while keeping one hand on the steering wheel.
Find an excuse to stop. Some people like to brag about how fast they got their miles on the road and how they "almost stopped" before reaching their destination. But if you want to have a healthier road trip, you need to get around more often. "Ideally, you should take a break every 30 minutes," advises Mazuko. "However, taking a break on a 30-minute road trip can be more difficult, so I recommend stopping every one to two hours. Walking for anywhere from a few minutes to 10 minutes can help reduce the health risks associated with sitting too long."
Sitting burns only half the calories, and it slows down digestion if you sit for too long, Mazuko said. "Sedentary also weakens the hips and abs. Weakness of the hip and core muscles can lead to lower back and knee pain and make it harder to exercise with proper form."
Do a small exercise every time you stop. A good way to increase the number of steps on a road trip is to plan to stop along the way so that you can get off and walk for about 5 to 10 minutes, suggests Mazuko. She recommends that you must stop at all times to refuel or eat, get out of the car for a walk, and promote circulation throughout your body. "A resistance band like the TYR Resistance Band is one of the best tools you can carry around," says Mazzucco. "It's travel friendly and helps make weightlifting more challenging."
Get the most out of the bench by doing triceps extensions, steps, and push-ups on the bench. Jumping jacks and high knees also increase your heart rate while increasing your step count.
Remember to move in the car. Make the most of your passenger role and find time in the car to do some light stretches. You can try neck rolls and neck stretches in the seat, as well as some arm/shoulder stretches and chest stretches - these are all buttoned up! Click here for more road trip activities.
Although you won't increase your steps or heart rate - unless you're actually dancing in the car! -Simply changing positions to relieve tension from some muscle tightness and help reduce later soreness. Mazzucco recommends that drivers increase hip awareness by squeezing everywhere throughout the drive to reduce shrinkage.
When you arrive, plan to do light exercise. Try to time your self-drive tour so it's still bright outside when you arrive at your destination. Take a walk, hike or run and enjoy new scenery. "Getting out for fresh air also helps you sleep better and may improve your mood," says Mazuko.
Do stretches before bed. You may appear to be sitting in the car all day without doing much, but you may notice tension or other soreness in your back, neck, and legs.
Try some stretches that can help counteract the effects of prolonged sitting:
Standing Quadruple Stretch: Stand up straight, grab a chair to bend your knees, put one foot behind you, hold your foot in the same hand, and pull toward your hips.
Standing Hip Circle: Stand on one leg and raise the other knee to hip height, forming a circle with the knee.
Leg extension: Lie on the floor and stretch your legs. Bring one knee to your chest and hold the other leg straight.