By Dr. Sarah E. Laibstain
The holiday season is one of the most popular times to travel, and chances are you and your family may be preparing for holiday travel now. While vacations are a great way to relax, travel can also take a toll on your health. When traveling there are many obstacles to making healthy decisions, but following a few tips and recommendations can help your family have a healthy yet fun holiday season.
Whether you are traveling by plane or car, getting enough sleep the night before is essential to starting off your trip right. Research has proven that fatigue can lower the immune system causing you to be more susceptible to catching a virus. Thus, begin packing early so you and your family are well rested for the day of driving or air travel.
Since air travel increases the risk of catching the cold or flu, we recommend increasing water consumption to stay hydrated during your trip as well as packing bacterial wipes in your carry-on luggage. Using a bacterial wipe to clean immediate surrounding objects such as your headrest, armrest, and tray table is a simple way to eliminate germs that can be contracted on an airplane. Also, check with your family physician for suggested multivitamins that would be most beneficial to you. This will ensure you get the best vitamins for your specific immune system.
These prevention tips can help decrease the chances of your catching a virus, but managing your food intake is important as well. As you pack for your trip, plan to a pack a small meal or snack for the drive or flight. Gas stations and airports do not always offer the healthiest of options. Packing a few healthy snacks such as fruit, nuts or protein bars can help you steer away from unhealthy decisions.
When you and your family reach your destination, continuing to exercise and maintain healthy food selections is key. Vacations can offer a variety of family fitness activities; you just may have to get creative. If you are in a cooler climate, ice-skating can be a great fitness option. If you are in a warmer climate, snorkeling could be a fun and fit option. The holiday season is a time filled with unhealthy foods, especially when on vacation.
While indulging in a few of your favorite treats during the holiday season isn’t detrimental, we recommend following the 80/20 rule. This “rule” allows for 80 percent of your food intake to be healthy foods with 20 percent being everything else. This gives you the flexibility to still enjoy the foods you love but maintain healthy portions.
The holidays are a time for joy and celebrations. We hope following these tips and recommendations allows you and your family to enjoy a healthy holiday season.
Dr. Sarah E. Laibstain is a general family medicine practitioner at Family Medicine Associates of Texas in Carrollton. She thoroughly enjoys improving the health and lives of individuals ranging from young children to adulthood. For more information, call 972-394-8844, or visit texasmedicine.com.