I want to share my 6-Step healthy daily routine for travelers before we start a worldwide trip. Health and physical fitness play a major role in long-term worldwide traveling. The healthier and fitter you are, the easier it is to enjoy your adventures. Long walks, hiking, long flights, bus rides, train trips, driving for long hours and adventure activities all work better if you’re healthy and physically fit.
Are You in Good Shape?
In this article, being in good shape means being able to:
- cope with long walks without forcing your body too much;
- hike at easy to moderate levels;
- getting on and off buses and trains carrying your backpack without too much effort;
- paddle or swim without transforming a fun activity into pain;
This list seems easy, but I met fellow travelers that opted-out from activities or visits because they weren’t up for it physically. Imagine being on your dream worldwide trip on the other side of the world only to miss out on activities or not seeing cool things because you’re not in the best physical conditions. Also, although not a direct cause, when you’re at high altitude, every factor counts.
Our Body is Limited
You don’t have to be an athlete to travel the world. In fact, my healthy daily routine is quite basic but I do it consistently.
I used to be a gym kind of person. Today, you won’t see me anywhere near a gym if I can avoid it. I traded artificial light and air for the outdoors and there is no way I’m going back. I remember seeing people work so hard with personal trainers, to the point that they were in complete pain. There was a motivational poster in my gym that said:
>> Pain is temporary, quitting lasts forever!
I actually like the message, it helped me in my spinning classes but today I look at physical exercise in a different way. There is no science behind my theory. I don’t believe that pain should be part of fitness unless you’re a professional athlete or you’re training for a big event like a marathon or ultra trail. I also see our bodies as limited and the more we push them, the less time they will last. Again, this is just my theory without any science whatsoever behind it.
My 3 Healthy Factors
For me, being healthy and fit is a combination of three factors:
- A Healthy Diet
- Exercise Adjusted to My Needs
- Mental Health
When I balance these three factors, I feel good and there is no pain involved.
A Healthy Diet
I did not stop eating things I love. A few adjustments and moderation on the bad stuff were enough. First I drastically reduced my meat consumption. I’m not vegetarian, but at home, I never cook meat. My diet is essentially vegetables, fruit and good stuff like quinoa and lentils. I eat a lot of salads in the summer and soups when the weather is colder. This has an impact on my health and on the environment as cow feeding consumes too much energy and pollutes the environment.
I also stopped drinking cow milk and replaced it with coconut milk. I read a few articles on the subject and it does not sound logical to me that we are the only adult mammals that drink other mammals milk. This is a controversial topic.
I added some healthy stuff to my diet like chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, dry fruit, coconut oil, canola oil, goji beans, and avocado. Steaming vegetables instead of boiling them is also healthier. Apple cider is in my salad dressing. I drink green tea at every meal at home.
When cooking rice, most of the times I use brown rice, but I can’t do the same with pasta. Nothing beats a good pasta and sauce (that I make from scratch). There is almost no such thing as processed food in my house. Everything I eat I make from scratch.
For breakfast, I alternate between a healthy smoothie and granola with Greek yogurt and honey. You can be really creative by adding fruit, nuts and other cool stuff that you enjoy. A smoothie sounds like too much trouble, but you can make a lot at once and freeze it in jars so the next days you can save time.
Coffee shouldn’t be part of a healthy daily routine, but I love coffee and can’t live without it. When I travel, a good Portuguese espresso is one of the things I miss the most. I take mine plain, meaning no sugar! In fact, now I really know what coffee tastes like because before I used to drink sugar. I was influenced by a good friend to stop putting sugar in my coffee and never looked back. Processed sugar is really bad for you.
Exercise Adjusted to My Needs
I essentially do three things to stay in shape:
- Play tennis every Saturday with a group of friends
- Run 4-5k three times a week
For my healthy daily routine, I alternate between running and yoga. I think yoga complements the running very well.
I love playing tennis. It’s the kind of sport where you can’t disguise your mental state. If you head is not in the game, everybody can see it. I love tennis because it’s a combination of technical skills, body movement, and mental strength. The quality time spent with my friends is one of the best moments of the week.
To tell you the truth, I don’t like running except if it’s after a ball. Running 4-to-5 km is not a big deal, though. It’s more jogging than running, a 25 to 30-minute exercise done on a path by the sea. After running I do a 2-minute full body workout that includes:
- Body Plank
- Squat Jumps
You can see how it’s done on MindBodyGreen.com. This is a good resource for all things healthy.
I finish off my exercise session with the indispensable stretching exercises. That’s it!
When I don’t go for a run, I do Yoga. Learning is part of who I am so I do a lot of self-learning with online courses, youtube videos, and books. I learned a few basic and easy yoga exercises that fit my needs. Essentially, I do balance and spine-strengthening exercises. Yoga is great, but without a proper teacher, it can be unsafe and lead to injuries, so I don’t recommend you do this if you’re not absolutely sure of what you’re doing.
My mental health is taken care of by doing the following activities:
- Spending quality time with family and friends
- Listening to music
- Learning new things by reading, taking online courses or watching documentaries
- Cooking: it’s one of the most relaxing and meditating activities I love doing
- Watching a good movie or TV show
I think a few words on meditation are important as it’s a crucial part of my healthy daily routine. I’ve mentioned before that I wanted more spirituality in my life. Meditation is a step in that direction. Like yoga, I started by teaching myself how to meditate.
Meditation and mindfulness are concepts that I believe are healthy. Keeping it simple, for me, the point of meditation is giving your mind a break. Have you ever stood still for a while and paid attention to your thoughts?
If you step back and observe the mind’s behavior, you will see that your mind overloads you with thoughts. Most human beings spend their time thinking of the past or the future. Thinking of the past causes depression. Thinking of the future causes anxiety. In the meanwhile, we are here right now at this very moment but if our thoughts are somewhere else, we’re not really here right now. Anything you do can only be done right now. You can’t change the past and you don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. The only time you can do anything is now. So your life happens in the now. Not the past or the future.
Meditation brings you back to the now, freeing your mind from all those unnecessary thoughts. Meditation is a way of not letting your thoughts overwhelm you, so you’re basically creating space in your mind for the now. Can you see how powerful this is? Can you think of ways to use that mind space to your advantage?
There are several types of meditation that help you in different ways. I found a few good resources for online guided meditation and these are my favorite:
Hear what Andy Puddicombe from Headspace has to say about meditation in his TED Talk.
If you want to learn more about meditation, here are is a good and straightforward book on the subject: Teach Yourself to Meditate in 10 Simple Lessons: Discover Relaxation and Clarity of Mind in Just Minutes a Day
If you’re interested in learning more about “The Now” you should read the best-selling book The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle. I find it an interesting read, although I don’t take everything he says for granted.
6-Step Healthy Daily Routine For Travelers
This is my 6-Step healthy daily routine for travel preparation. It’s very simple and doable by anyone. There is no pain, it’s cheap and can be done anywhere. Following this healthy daily routine keeps me in minimal physical and mental condition to face any activity on my trips:
- The first thing I do after waking up is to drink warm water with lemon juice;
- Meditation Time: right after the lemon water, I do 10 minutes of guided meditation;
- Breakfast Time: a healthy smoothie or a plate of granola with Greek yogurt or coconut milk and honey; Breakfast is followed by a Portuguese style espresso. For the extra boost, I sometimes have a Bulletproof Coffee: a combination of coconut oil, unsalted butter and coffee all mixed together in a blender;
- Exercise Time: I go for a 4-5k Run or do 20 minutes of yoga, including spine flexibility;
- Lunch Time: I have a normal lunch;
- Dinner Time: I have a healthy vegetarian meal;
I’m going to show two examples of smoothie recipes I usually make for breakfast. I don’t measure any of the ingredients, I just follow my instincts and the recipes can vary according to what I have available. You can add anything you want. If I want the smoothie to be thicker I add muesli (no sugar). Keep in mind that these recipes get the sweetness from the fruit. If I want an extra kick, I add a little bit of fresh ginger.
Banana and Cucumber Smoothie
- Raw cacau
- Chia seeds
- Goji Beans
- Coconut Milk
Pineapple and Spinache Smoothie
- Chlorella (green algae)
- Chia seeds
- Goji Beans
- Coconut Milk