Hello YLB fans. As you know April will be a huge travel month for me. We’re in to the first week of April and I will have already traveled for my bachelor party. Next up is my wedding at the end of this week and following that I’ll be heading off to St. Lucia for my honeymoon. I’ll finally be returning to San Diego, CA on the 28th of April.

For most of us out there, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is hard enough when we’re following our normal routine but throw in travel and it’s tough to maintain any sort of healthy living while experiencing life on the road. There are so many different curve balls being thrown at us – especially if the time zone is significant enough of a change where it can mess with our natural hormone cycle leaving our immune systems compromised and the risks for getting sick even greater. In addition to that, travel can derail any goals that we might have for ourselves. If your goal is weight loss, the change in diet can mess up everything that you’ve been working on. If you have certain fitness goals, not being able to get in a few rounds of exercise might be enough to hand you some significant setbacks as well.

So, how can travel throw us off track?

This isn’t a scientific list but I would imagine these are some things that most of us experience that can mess up our health cycles:

1. If you’re traveling by air, you’ll be in a close space with dozens if not a couple hundred other people. Who knows what kind of illnesses they have? Ick.
2. Odd sleep schedules: If you’re traveling far enough to where your sleep schedule isn’t the same of what it normally is because of time differences, your normal cycle of melatonin (the natural “sleep hormone”) is thrown off. While it may take a few days for your body to adjust, melatonin is one of the bodies best anti-oxidants and having it be a little whacky can increase your risk for illness.
3. Eating things you’re not used to – ever hear of Montezuma’s Revenge? It’s a sickness that quite of American’s are familiar with after having drunk the water in Mexico. Traveling to foreign areas also puts us in contact with microorganisms that our bodies aren’t used to. Yes, you might really want to enjoy that local fruit but it’s probably not worth it if the food comes with a side of vomit and diarrhea.
4. Cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone our bodies release. With lack of sleep and a compromised immune system the body releases cortisol as a part of our natural stress response. This does a couple things: it leads you to be even more immunocompromised and it also keeps your blood sugar levels high.
5. No gym – whether or not you use a gym to get your sweat on, we don’t have the same area that we’re used to for what . Our time is usually consumed with doing the fun things like going on adventures instead of worrying about activity. Yes, we know vacation is a great time to just forget about everything, but you don’t want to come back with twice as much weight as when you left.
6. You’re missing your home kitchen. This one is a biggie. What the heck do we eat when we travel? Unless you’re quite the planner, most of us who travel don’t have a kitchen at our disposal – especially if you’re a budget traveler. In addition to that, who has time to cook healthy meals when traveling anyway?! Plus depending on where your destination is, wouldn’t you want to experience some of the local food filled with local flavor as opposed to your Monday-Friday boring meal routines? The problem is most flavors come a la mode with a huge portion of excess calories we don’t necessarily need.

Are there any other things I’m missing that can throw a curve ball in our health while we’re in vacation mode? I’m not sure what I’ve missed but there’s probably something so if you catch it, add it to the list.

On my upcoming trip I’m going to be documenting the little things I do each day to help keep my health in check while being out and about on the road. The first step is about having effective plan in place. On my next post I’ll be discussing what I do to help plan to keep my health in check.