Get healthy for vacation

Before you leave for summer vacation, don’t forget to pack some good health.

“While you should follow healthy habits year-round, you should give extra attention to certain areas when you travel, since you are often more active than usual,” says Dr. Wynne Armand, a primary care physician at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

Before you go

Here is a to-do list you should follow before your next vacation to help make your time away safe and healthy.

Get a medical check-up. Visit your doctor about four to six weeks prior to travel. Besides getting an overall physical, make sure you’re up to date on your vaccines, like tetanus and hepatitis A. (Check the CDC for the latest requirements for travel at

Also, discuss whether additional vaccines are needed for your destination. Keep in mind that it may take several weeks for vaccines to offer protection.

Stock up on medication. If you take any medication, make sure you have more than you will need, should your return home be delayed. “Also, bring a complete list of all your prescriptions and any medical reports you might need, such as a copy of your most recent electrocardiogram if you have a heart condition,” says Dr. Armand. “Keep your medications in their original bottles and pack them in your carry-on and not in your luggage in case it gets lost.”

Depending on your destination or how your digestive system handles travel, ask your doctor about packing an antibiotic in case you develop severe diarrhea.

Build up your endurance. If you have been inactive for a while, or your trip requires more time on your feet than usual, build up your endurance.

“Walking is a big part of travel, so focus on increasing your leg strength through resistance training,” says Dr. Armand.

Also, add a power walking program to your regular exercise routine. Walk for 30 to 45 minutes a day (you can break it up into segments of five to 20 minutes). Wear an activity tracker that counts your steps and aim for at least 100 steps per minute, which is a moderate-to-brisk pace.

Practice hydration. Proper hydration is needed for everyday health, but it’s especially important when you travel, as you spend more time outdoors and in dry settings like planes.

Don’t rely on thirst as a gauge to whether or not you are hydrated. A good target (unless your doctor advises you otherwise) is to take in about 10 cups of fluids every day.

Water, coffee (both regular and decaffeinated), and tea are ideal sources (but skip sodas, juice-flavored drinks, and energy drinks as they include high amounts of sugar and additives).

You can also get your fluids by eating more water-rich foods, such as fruits (oranges, melons, and berries) and vegetables (cucumbers, celery, and bell peppers).

Prepare for jet lag. To prevent jet lag, especially when you travel across several time zones, talk with your doctor about taking a melatonin supplement.

“Starting a few days before your trip, take it each evening about two hours before your destination bedtime,” says Dr. Armand.

Typical doses are 1 to 5 milligrams per night. You can continue taking the supplements for a few nights after you reach your destination until you have adjusted to the new time zone.

Taking a vacation may prolong your lifeRegular time off may help you live longer, suggests a study in the October 2018 issue of The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging. Researchers had more than 600 middle-aged men adopt a personalized health program that included advice about exercise, eating a healthy diet, weight loss, and how to stop smoking. The group was then followed for 30 years.While the program helped the men reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease, those who took fewer than three weeks annual vacation had a 37% higher risk of dying compared with those who took more than three weeks. The researchers cited higher stress levels as a possible contributing factor since the men who took fewer days off tended to work more and sleep less.

During your trip

Make sure to keep up your healthy habits during your travel and once you reach your destination. For instance:

Protect against blood clots. Sitting for prolonged periods, such as on a long flight or car ride, increases the risk of blood clots forming in your leg veins. Not only can they impair leg circulation, they also can be deadly if they break off and travel to the lungs.

Take walking breaks or do exercises such as calf raises, toe raises, and ankle circles as much as possible. Also, consider wearing compression socks, which decrease swelling in your feet.

Prevent mosquito and tick bites. Mosquitoes and ticks can carry many diseases, depending on the region, such as malaria, dengue, Zika virus disease, and Lyme disease. If you are in an area where insect-borne diseases are a risk, always wear long-sleeved shirts and tuck the bottom of your pants into your socks. Apply mosquito repellents and wear permethrin-treated clothing. Also, try to avoid going outside at dusk when mosquitos are most active.

Avoid consuming uncooked food and nonpurified water. If you’re traveling to an underdeveloped country, always follow precautions with food and water. For instance, use only boiled or sealed bottled water for drinking and brushing your teeth. Ice should also be made from purified water.

Eat only cooked vegetables and fruits you peel yourself, and avoid all street food. Always thoroughly wash your hands with warm water and soap before eating, and carry hand sanitizer at all times, just in case.

Below are spiritual recipe for health and wellness: Matthew E. McLaren

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Peter 3:3-4 NIV

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23 NIV

As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart. Proverbs 27:19 NIV

May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. Psalm 20:4 NIV

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” Jeremiah 17:9-10 NIV

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13 NIV

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Proverbs 3:3-4 NIV

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 | NIV

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10 NIV

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 NIV

Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ Matthew 22:37 NIV

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 NIV

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7 NIV

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22 NIV

My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. Proverbs 3:1-2 NIV

The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin. Proverbs 10:8 NIV

I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. Psalm 119:10 NIV

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. Psalm 31:24 NIV

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