Road Trips – they’re either the best or worst thing you’ve got planned. There are a few different types of road trips that are based on several variables: duration of the trip, how many people are with you, the distance traveled, and how many stops you plan to make.
Recently, I traveled from Eau Claire, Wisconsin to Fort Myers, Florida. The purpose of the trip was to bring a van full of weights to my home in Florida. Because of traveling alone and wanting to get back home as soon as possible, I drove non-stop (other than fueling up). This differed greatly from a road trip I took previously this month where Liza and I traveled with some friends to and from North Carolina, where we stopped numerous times.
Every trip is a bit different. Some are fun and some are mandatory, but regardless, I’m here to dive into what I find makes the trip go more smoothly. A road trip is an easy time to put your health on the backburner, so here are some tips to stay active during those long rides in the car.
This concept can be applied to most things in life. Preparation is key to the success of your road trip. Not necessarily related to your fitness, but important nonetheless: make sure your vehicle is well-maintained and ready for the trip, bring cash, prepare podcasts or other entertainment, map your route, etc. These are all things to make your trip, logistically, go smoothly.
Now, on to the fitness-related items. Be sure to pack decent food. You want to avoid stopping every several hours for fast food – the cumulative effect may take a toll on you. I like to plan healthy snacks and bring a cooler full of sandwiches. With sustainable snacks, you can make a pit stop every now and then to have a picnic or eat in the car and maximize your distance traveled in the day.
Drink water. You don’t have to hammer a huge drink and then stop to pee every 45 minutes, but you should sip water continuously to stay hydrated. It’s easy to live off coffee or soda, but I would encourage you to drink H2O as well.
Bring some exercise equipment if you like. It’s pretty easy to throw a kettlebell, dumbbell, or a resistance band into the back of your vehicle. Keep in mind, you don’t need equipment to get a workout in, but if possible, you should plan on getting some blood flowing throughout the trip.
Staying moving is an important part of human survival – road trips are no different. Take advantage of stopping for gas or at a rest stop to get some movement/exercise in. Taking a few minutes to do a short HIIT workout at the gas pump will get some blood flowing in the otherwise-stagnant activity of road tripping.
In my most recent road trip, I would fill up at a gas station, park my car somewhere safe and go for a short jog. 2-3,000 steps was my goal every time I stopped. This enabled me to get to my goal of 10k steps on the day and it refreshed me for another four hours in the car. I think this helped to keep me awake, alert, and mentally-sane during my 23 hour drive.
Stress can creep up on you or smack you in the face on a road trip. Stress definitely serves a primal purpose in our survival, but sometimes, it’s unnecessary. If you made a wrong turn, don’t get stressed. Simply reroute and get back on the road. If you forgot something at home, buy it when you get to your destination. There are very few problems that can’t be solved, so keep that in mind before you fly off the handle. Stressing during a road trip only makes you (and your car-mates) more miserable during what can be a very fun time.
I’ve spent a lot of time in the car this month. As a road warrior, I choose to road trip how I want. I don’t want the fate of the trip being decided on my lack of preparation. I enjoy taking a well-planned trip and seeing the sights along the way to my destination. It is very important to keep your health in mind during a road trip so that the trip doesn’t take too long to recover from.
If you have any tips or tricks to share with us, we would love to hear from you in a comment below.
Until next time, travel safe and stay moving!