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Holiday health essentials: How to stay healthy on holiday

Holiday health essentials: How to stay healthy on holiday

Taking time to relax on holiday may be good for our health, but indulging too much can have the opposite effect. Here's how to stay healthy while you travel

Plan before you go

Not only is it stressful organising your break in the first place, there’s the added angst of remembering to buy and pack everything you need, as well as getting where you need to go on time.

To avoid this, as soon as you’ve booked your holiday, list the travel documents you’ll need, including passport, EHIC or GHIC card and travel insurance.

"Being extra prepared might seem like a chore, but it reduces anxiety"

Check you have them and they’re valid. Then start packing several weeks in advance, giving yourself time to buy essentials like toiletries and sun cream, and order medication.

On departure day, leave more time than you need to get to an airport or port. Consider staying in a hotel nearby the night before, if you need to travel a long distance to get there. Being extra prepared might seem like a chore, but it reduces anxiety.

Go with the flow

Woman relaxing on holiday in fieldTry to relax when you first arrive, as your blood pressure will likely be higher for the first three days of the holiday

Given that 96 per cent of people consider holidays as being extremely important for mental health, according to a survey last year from Medical Travel Compared, look after yours when you’re there.

Try to chill when you first arrive and don’t cram in too many activities. There’s a physical reason for this too: blood pressure is higher for three days from the day before travel, according to an Austrian study in the Journal of Travel Medicine.

Wake up naturally without an alarm and relax in the sun (but not too much!) in order to increase your levels of serotonin, which reduces anxiety.

Do a digital detox

Try to forget the cares of everyday life by ensuring you don’t check emails or social media, or feel obligated to use it to chart your best holiday moments.

Ideally, turn off notifications, limit your screen time and try to focus on the present moment. That will enable you to relax and make special memories.

Eat and drink well—and mindfully

Part of the fun of going away is experiencing the cuisine of other countries and cultures. Take time to really savour your meal, enjoying all the flavours.

"Too many alcoholic drinks can cause 'holiday heart', characterised by an irregular rhythm"

And, beware: too many alcoholic drinks can cause “holiday heart”, characterised by an irregular rhythm or palpitations. Too many tipples can also result in dehydration if you’re holidaying in a hot climate.

Get active

Stand up paddleboarding on holidayTry a new activity on holiday to help you stay fit and healthy

Consider walking and swimming, and why not paddleboarding or tennis If you’re somewhere hot, it’s best to take exercise in the early morning or evening.

"If you’re somewhere hot, it’s best to take exercise in the early morning or evening"

Being active will make you feel fitter and more refreshed once you’re back.

Bring healthy habits home

What did you particularly enjoy when you were away? Did you find that bike ride along the seafront or a daily walk in the evening an invigorating experience?

If so, aim to do something similar on a regular basis when you return. Try to make it part of your everyday routine, for example, a 20-minute workout when you get up, a lunchtime walk or do errands by bike.

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