Heart-Smart Travel Tips

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Be mindful of your heart health even when you travel. Photo: American Heart Association

Planning a trip can be a lot of fun, but your heart health is never on vacation.

Traveling to a faraway place doesn’t need to be off limits because you are a caretaker, have heart disease, or have experienced a heart attack or stroke. A few simple precautions can ensure your trip is smooth sailing!

You are researching exciting travel opportunities anyway, do a little extra and be aware of a medical facility at your destination. Bring along a copy of your original prescriptions in case you lose your medications, and always have your doctor’s phone number on hand.

If you are taking a plane to your destination, keep in mind a few things. Sitting immobile on long flights can slightly increase a normal person’s risk of blood clots in the legs. Getting up and walking around when possible is recommended for long flights, just be sure the seat belt light is not on when you do so!

Another transportation option is going by car and road trips can take a toll on everyone! Before you go, pack some healthy snacks and water bottles. It might be tempting to go through the drive thru at a fast food joint, but snacks like apples, oranges, almonds, and raisins are healthier and filling. To avoid any added sugar, pack water instead of sodas to quench your thirst. When you take a rest break, make it active. Take a brisk 10-minute walk, stretch, and move around. This will help burn off some energy and calories.

Pack to play on your vacation. Your normal fitness routine might be too difficult to maintain, but there are plenty of fun ways to stay active on your trip. Pack a football, soccer ball, or Frisbee to keep you on your toes. If your destination has tennis courts or beach volleyball, make sure to get a game in for some fun and fitness!

When you finally get to your vacation spot, don’t let your health slip. Be mindful of your fluid consumption, especially in warmer climates, and control your sodium intake. Stay aware if you are feeling unstable or experiencing shortness of breath.

If traveling is something you enjoy and allows you to relax, you are already helping your heart by relieving stress. Stress may affect behaviors and factors that increase heart disease risk: high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, smoking, physical inactivity and overeating.

Keeping these tips in mind will ensure your vacation is as wonderful and refreshing as you planned for it to be. Health concerns don’t always have to stop you from crossing things off your bucket list – as long as you are staying heart-smart!

For more tips on staying heart-healthy no matter where you travel, visit www.heart.org/healthyforgood.

 

 

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