(Healthy) Lessons from a Roadtrip
Warning: If you don't plan ahead, your healthy habits are doomed.
Last month, my husband and I took our second annual road trip down south to escape the harsh February Connecticut weather. (Who knew that the temps would be near-record warm while we were away, and we’d return to an impending snowstorm?)
Alas, not everything can be predicted and planned.
But one thing that you can plan is a healthy roadtrip.
Whoever said “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail,” was right. (It was Benjamin Franklin, by the way, who made countless medical contributions, including launching the first American medical school.)
Our almost-1300 mile journey could have been accomplished in one shot; a mere 20 hours of driving non-stop would have gotten us there sooner (it’s hard to fathom that some people can do this!), but we chose to break it up into three separate days of driving. (Top of mind - besides my boredom at long-car-ride-confinement - was the blood clot (DVT) my husband suffered last year as a result of sitting in a car for too long.)
That meant three different hotels with unknown comfort (who can plan on getting the ‘right’ type of mattress, after all?), with multiple bathroom and food stops along the way.
And since you can’t always plan on finding good mattresses, good bathroom facilities and good food on a road trip, I’m sharing some things I planned in advance that would have made Ben Franklin proud:
A roll-up exercise mat. Yes, that’s right. There was room in the car, so why not? This was so invaluable after long days of sitting. I unrolled it as soon as we arrived at our hotel and went about stretching out the kinks. The next morning, I used it again while cursing the too-soft/mushy/unsupportive mattresses. (Once we arrived at our VRBO, where thankfully, the mattresses were Goldilocks-just-right, the mat came in handy for my squats, pushups and planks!)
Plenty of healthy snacks. You’d think by now road stops would have gotten the message that not every traveler passing through lights up when they see a profusion of jerky, chips, snack cakes and cans of cola. I made sure to pack things like nuts, popcorn, pretzels, fresh fruit, cheese and crackers to stave off hunger pangs.
Thank goodness I also threw in some small packets of peanut butter, like these, which I used on the way home when our supplies were depleted. I felt like a contestant on Survivor when I also found a forgotten package of graham crackers in the back seat, which was a perfect pairing for the peanut butter.
My own pillow. Confession: I’m very attached to my pillow. Besides having a bad neck and needing a very specific type of pillow, it’s kind of like a security blanket for me, and makes me feel at home whenever I’m away from home. And since I can’t always bring it with me (like when I fly), I always leave room for it when I take a car trip. That’s non-negotiable.
A nice dress. You can’t always plan, but that’s a good thing - because life is more fun when you’re open and spontaneous, right? While away, I received a lovely invitation to visit the iconic Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach and enjoy a glorious dinner at HMF, the dining room named for The Breakers founder, Henry Morrison Flagler. Instead of whining, “Oh no, I have nothing to wear!” I exclaimed, “Thank goodness I packed a dress!” The people-watching was so much fun, but more than that, I was transported back to the Gilded Age as I imagined the industry tycoons and elegant socialites who populated the hotel’s magnificent property awash in Mediterranean-style architecture and breathtaking details throughout.
A DIY first-aid kit. It’s Murphy’s law that something unplanned will hit when you’re away from home. My travel first-aid kit read like a who’s who of drugstore shelves: Ointments and potions for heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, allergies, colds, infections, lactose intolerance, sleeplessness, gas, headaches and assorted other pains. But - guess what - I didn’t need any of those. What I did need, I didn’t have. One thing I couldn’t plan for was the nasty stye that infected my right eye…that’s what walk-in medical clinics are for, I suppose!)
All in all, our trip went smoothly, thanks to some advance planning and flexibility. Time in the car allowed for watching the scenic landscape, easy conversation, nice music, podcasts, and companionable silence.
For A Pause..
There are more podcasts than junk food in rest stops (don’t know if that’s true, but it sounds good…). Time Out has some suggestions for a long road trip. #learnsomethingnew
Here’s a thought-provoking topic that might take some time to unravel during a long car trip: How do you feel about aging? #discuss
Make the most of your time in the car by working out your calves, core and more. #yesyoucan
Stuck for more road trip ideas? #amazontotherescue
One More Thing:
If you’re a fan of belting it out in the shower AND the car, the number one song is:
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