We all shop and plan for that grand vacation that we had been wanting to take. The vacation starts and we start with great enthusiasm. The experiences fills our soul, we take whatever the journey has to offer, travelling at odd hours, eating at random places, walking for miles and trusting random strangers. At the end of the journey we are mentally and spiritually refreshed but often the entire vacation takes a toll on our health. Our body which we take for granted often falls sick. This has happened to me a number pf times. Its important to trawell, travelling without disregarding our health and vitality. In this post I would like to share some practical tips for staying fit while travelling.
- Trekking – Its always very tempting to enroll for a random trek without giving much consideration to your endurance level. Atleast I have done that. Even the so called ‘easy’ or ‘moderate’ trek takes a toll on your health. Its important to build some level of physical fitness before taking selfies on that highest peak.
- Start walking for atleast 15-20 minutes a day atleast 20 days before the trek. There are two types of muscles in the body- red muscle and white muscle fibres. The white muscles are involved in sprints, fast movements, jumps. The red muscles are involved in endurance running. They are particularly developed in marathon runners and people doing pranayam. For building your red muscles its important to walk for long distances and for long duration some days before the trek.
- Wear comfortable high ankle shoes with a good grip. Walking downhill is particularly taxing for your ankles
- Walk with light luggage. Carry disposable raincoats, small food with high calories like dry fruits, protein bars
- Always carry a medical kit with pain relieving gels/ sprays, crepe bandage, anti diarrheal medication like metronidazole or tinidazole, muscle relaxant like tizanidine, anti emetic like ondansetron, electrolyte powder, non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen, diclofenac), paracetamol for fever. All these are over the counter medications and as a medical practitioner I find them very useful.
- Carry torch, cap, scarf, sunglasses. During my trek to Triund there was no electricity in the guesthouse where I had stayed. A simple Rs 20 torch costed me Rs 200.
- Don’t forget to carry your portable charger, extra pair of clothes.
- Food – Though its very tempting to try the local cuisine but it should not come at the cost of your health. Avoid packaged food. Street food should be best tried on streets or famous small scale places, same food at fancy places is often stale! (by my Indian experience). Ask the localites about the famous places which serve fresh meals. Avoid eating North Indian food in South India and South Indian food in North India. I don’t have a regional bias but often the batter is old. I along with my group of friends fell ill when we ate dosa in Guwahati. This also happened with me in Katra. Maybe it was the water but my rest of the journey was spoilt by the metallic taste of metronidazole.
- Money -Carry loose cash. Your debit/ credit card may not be working at all times. This happened to me in Malshej Ghat. Read more : Malshej Ghat.. a Monsoon wonderland
- Water – Stay hydrated and carry your own drinking water. Half of the sickness arises from drinking contaminated water.
- Stay – Double check the hotel or bnb that you are about to book. People have put up random places at secluded sites. I had a particularly bad experience in Varanasi where the host had mentioned the bnb to be located close to Assighat and BHU but it turned out to be in the centre of a labyrinth.The room and washroom was not clean and I had to spend so much time searching for a hotel.
- If you are on a long vacation don’t book a place for more than 2-3 days unless you are fully aware about the place where you are staying. Its better to live in multiple places rather than booking a long stay in one place and wasting your time in travelling.
- Exercise daily even while you are travelling ( I always forget about this when I hit the road)
- Sleep well – Don’t sacrifice your 6-8 hours sleep. Taking a night bus/train/flight always seems convenient to save time but let that not weaken or de-energize you.
- Don’t forget to carry your sanitary pads and toiletries. Use your own towel. Youcan even get scabies. I don’t want to scare you but then why take a chance!!!
Travel well, stay fit , stay healthy.
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Aishwarya_ the sailor