Vacations bring new adventures and time to relax. But they can also bring too many rich meals, unhealthy on-the-go snacks, late nights out, and stressful situations.
While you’re traveling, your heart may be the last thing on your mind, but it’s important to make heart-healthy choices no matter where you are.
Find out how simple choices and some basic planning can help you stay heart-healthy on vacation.
RELATED: 7 Tips for Staying Healthy on Long Flights
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Making Heart-Healthy Choices on Vacation
Chances are you’re going away to take a break from your routine. While it’s OK to indulge now and then, it’s also important to stick with healthy choices in diet, activity, and stress management to make the most of your time away and to keep your overall health on track.
To learn more, visit the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute or call 1-855-UPMC-HVI (876-2484).
Keeping Your Diet on Vacation
Whether you’re cooking over a campfire or dining out at a new restaurant for every meal, make heart-healthy choices whenever you can.
- Pack healthy snacks to keep with you as you travel, and when you arrive, find a local market for fresh fruits and vegetables and other healthy snacks to keep with you on the go.
- Don’t skip breakfast, no matter how eager you are to hit the beach or get your day of sightseeing started.
- At restaurants, watch your portion sizes, as well as your sodium and sugar intake.
- Drink plenty of water, especially in warmer climates, and remember to drink alcohol only in moderation.
Staying Active on Vacation
Vacation plans can offer plenty of options for activity, even if you’re hoping to relax.
RELATED: Traveling with Heart Disease
- At the beach, go for a walk along the shore or play volleyball or another game.
- If you’re exploring a new city and the sightseeing spots are close by, walk between them instead of taking a cab.
- Take advantage of the fitness center at your hotel, or go for a swim in the pool.
- Plan ahead and find a local park, bike trail, or yoga studio and make time in your schedule to enjoy an activity or class.
Stress Management as You Travel
Long lines, delayed flights, and packed schedules can make for a stressful trip, but keeping your cool goes a long way for heart health.
- Plan ahead and give yourself extra time in case of traffic on a road trip or long lines at the airport or train station.
- Keep some downtime in your schedule, and don’t try to do or see too much in one day.
- Stick to a regular bedtime on most nights.
- When you feel stressed, take a break from whatever you’re doing. Meditate, go for a walk, or enjoy some quiet time reading by yourself.
Safe Travels with Heart Disease
If you’ve been diagnosed with heart disease, it’s a good idea to talk with your doctor before you travel to make sure you’re healthy enough for the trip. In some cases, such as after heart surgery or another heart-related event, your doctor might recommend waiting to travel.
Once your doctor tells you it’s safe to go, keep these tips in mind:
- Get prescriptions filled before you go so you have enough medicine while you’re away.
- Keep medicines in a carry-on bag, and make sure you have water and healthy snacks on hand as well.
- Pace yourself, and make sure you take breaks from activity.
- Stay on your treatment plan by taking your medicines and keeping up with other lifestyle changes, like diet and activity.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on , and was last reviewed on .
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About Heart and Vascular Institute
The UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute has long been a leader in cardiovascular care, with a rich history in clinical research and innovation. As one of the first heart transplant centers in the country and as the developer of one of the first heart-assist devices, UPMC has contributed to advancing the field of cardiovascular medicine. We strive to provide the most advanced, cutting-edge care for our patients, treating both common and complex conditions. We also offer services that seek to improve the health of our communities, including heart screenings, free clinics, and heart health education. Find an expert near you.