Are you traveling for the holiday season? Hitting the road or flying to meet your family and friends is its own reward, but it can still be taxing on your body. You are also exposed to closer contact with people and bacteria. Besides germs there are other factors that can weaken your immune system; dehydration, dietary changes, lack of sleep, and simple stress.
Here are few ways to give your body the best chance to fend off holiday travel colds.
DRINK PLENTY OF WATER
When you don’t have enough water, dehydration comes to play. When you’re dehydrated you’ll experience dry mouth, low blood pressure, headaches, dizziness, dry skin, and worst of all, fatigue. When you feel thirsty you are most likely already dehydrated. The cascading effects from a well-hydrated body include lubricated joints, protection for your brain and other internal tissues, regulated body temperature, and waste removal through bowel movements, urination, and sweating.
There are some simple ways to increase water intake. Make it a part of your morning and evening routine. Drink water every time after you urinate. Buy a nice water bottle that you carry around all the time to remind yourself to drink water.
BRING YOUR OWN SNACKS
When you are traveling, we often default to convenience food. These fast food snacks can be loaded with sugar, salt, saturated fat, and other additives—you don’t need this extra stress on your body when you are traveling. Sugar is notorious for weakening your immune system.
Pre-cutting 3-5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day at the beginning of your travel will contribute to antioxidants and vitamins necessary for strong immunity.
GET PLENTY OF REST AHEAD OF TIME
Sometimes an early wake-up call or late-night packing can reduce the amount of rest your body already gets before traveling. Without rest the body loses precious time it needs to regenerate and restore itself.
As with most people, planning to rest before a trip is easier said than done. You usually have more to do and less time to do it. When preparing for a trip, sleep time is usually the first to go. If you feel like you may not get a full night’s rest you may want to consider a 26-minute “NASA” nap. The NASA nap is named after research done on pilots who rested while the co-pilots manned the plane. A 45-minute nap is also helpful. Napping, in general, reduces stress and lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke, diabetes, and excessive weight gain.
DRINK EAT AND REST
If you are mindful of your water intake, healthy snacks, and getting enough rest you will give your body the best chance to stay healthy before, during, and after you travel for the holidays.
Dr. Della Parker, a naturopathic doctor, was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. She graduated from Portland State University with a Bachelor of Science. She then went on to graduate from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine, also in Portland, Oregon. Click to contact Dr. Della Parker for a free consultation or call 503-344-6631.