4 Common Fitness Hurdles When Traveling (And How to Overcome Them)

Already planning your Thanksgiving travel? You’re not alone. In fact, AAA estimates that close to 50 million people hit the road or the skies for Thanksgiving travel.

Road trips (or long flights) combined with the excessive eating, drinking, and shopping which accompanies many Thanksgiving weekends, makes for one giant obstacle course when it comes to keeping up with your own health and fitness during the holidays.

Don’t miss these go-to holiday travel tips for staying on track of healthy eating and exercise:

1. Traveling takes you away from your gym, yoga studio, etc.

It’s so easy to let routine exercise fall to the wayside when travel takes you far from your regular gym or studio where you take fitness classes. Don’t let this become your excuse to indulge without working off those extra Thanksgiving calories.

If you are traveling to another city, try and stay in a hotel with a gym or indoor pool. This affords you easy, close access to weights and gym equipment so you can keep up with your workout, runs, swimming laps, you name it.

No gym handy? Live stream instructional tutorials on your mobile device in the comfort of your hotel room or wherever you are staying.

Free online yoga videos, body weight exercise that don’t require equipment, and high intensity interval workouts can be found easily on Youtube and don’t cost you a thing.

2. Holiday parties mean more food and more alcohol.

You don’t have to deny yourself that slice of pumpkin pie you’ve been waiting for all year just to stay on track with your health and fitness goals during the holidays. A little indulgence is totally healthy when it comes to savoring holiday sweets and beverages.

There are a few tricks to help prevent you from going overboard, though.

Eat breakfast and stay hydrated! Want to avoid pigging out on late day holiday meals? Eat a solid breakfast with protein and fiber to help kickstart your metabolism and make yourself feel satiated and avoiding cravings.

And don’t forget to drink tons of water to stay hydrated, to avoid consuming too much alcohol, and to keep yourself feeling full. When it comes to alcoholic beverages, moderation is key. But so is avoiding sugar-laden mixed drinks and high calorie beers.

3. Holiday travel is a pain . . . literally.

Whether it’s the stress of Thanksgiving dinner with in-laws that has your neck and shoulder muscles tensing up, or a long road trip that does a number on your back – pain is often the name of the game when it comes to holiday travel.

Aches and pains might seem like a reason to skip your morning run or stay on the couch all day watching football, but there couldn’t be a worse idea.

Tackling back and neck pain before it gets worse is a must to keeping yourself feeling energized, engaged, and making healthy choices.

A shoulder ice pack or heat pad can provide temporarily relief to inflamed muscles, while low-impact exercises like hiking, cycling, or yoga help boost blood circulation, loosen stiff joints, and stretch out tight muscles.

4. Sweet, salty, and fatty snacks are always at hand around the holidays.

So your mom loves to leave bowls of chocolate truffles around the house at the holidays? Or Thanksgiving leftovers of mac-n-cheese, rolls, and stuffing seem to last for days, right?

While it’s so easy to settle for quick, less healthy snacks that are on hand around the holidays, it’s your waistline and energy levels that will quickly end up paying the price.

Modify the Thanksgiving menu this year to include healthier options that will make for great leftovers like a kale and cranberry salad with pumpkin seeds, roasted butternut squash with sage, steamed green beans with quinoa, or whole grain rolls.

Pack your own healthy snacks when traveling by car or plane. Do it to avoid common junk food you might otherwise end up buying at the gas station or in the airport. Mini bags of nuts and dried fruit, whole grain chips, carrot sticks, yogurt, and so on are easy ideas to start with.

The holiday season doesn’t have mean the downfall of your health and wellness goals. With smart travel preparations and a handful of healthy choices, you can stake on track and enjoy the season more than ever before.