Traveling can be stressful! Between remembering all the essentials like up-to-date travel documents and making sure the pets will be fed, the last thing that comes to mind is staying healthy throughout the process. However, protecting our immune health while we travel is critical, and especially during a global pandemic.
Keep in mind, the CDC warns that “travel can increase your chance of both spreading and getting Covid-19.” However, if you still choose to or need to travel, read on for practical tips to boost immune health for a safer travel experience.
Two essential ways to protect and maintain your immune health are by eating well and staying physically active. Regular, moderate-intensity physical activity stimulates changes in different immune cell types that, together, have an anti-inflammatory effect and support immune defense activity. In fact, the CDC recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week. Once you arrive at your destination, look for ways to build in a socially-distant walking, running or hiking routine — especially if you have access to the outdoors. If you will be quarantining inside, search for an online workout like pilates, yoga, or guided aerobics. Meanwhile, a great way to ensure a balanced diet wherever you are is to “eat the rainbow,” — ensure that your plate includes foods of a variety of colors, such as dark green (think kale or baby spinach), red (bell pepper), orange (carrots), and earth tones (beans and peas). Eating a variety of colors — which usually comes from whole, minimally-processed foods — gives your body the nutrients it needs to bolster your immune function. Learn more in our recent article about how to boost your immune health.
Many environmental factors also affect our immune health, including the quality of our air, water, and light. Especially important is the quality of light we’re exposed to, as this affects our sleep-wake cycle, or circadian rhythm, which in turn impacts our health, well-being, and performance. In addition, sleep deprivation can increase inflammation in our bodies, which causes our immune system to go into overdrive and attack healthy cells. Over time, this can lead to chronic conditions like heart disease and make us more vulnerable to infection overall. The stress of travel planning can lead to some sleepless nights, and traveling itself can be highly disruptive to sleep — especially if your body is adjusting to new time zones. Check out our previous article, Sleep to Protect Immune Health, for some useful tips on how to protect yourself over the long haul by creating a healthy sleep routine.
Another important element of traveling during the pandemic is knowing you can trust that the space you’re staying in takes health and safety protocols seriously. Stay Well™, developed by Delos, is designed to help guests maintain their health and well-being while on the road. Integrating evidence-based health and wellness features and programming in hotels around the world, Stay Well rooms set a new standard in wellness hospitality. In addition to enhanced air, water and light quality, you can access customized Cleveland Clinic programming to help boost sleep health and stress resilience. With Stay Well rooms, you can trust that your space is working to mitigate harmful pollutants and pathogens while embracing wellness tools that help you feel better while traveling.
Immune Health Benefits of a Stay Well Room
- Cleveland Clinic Wellness: Evidence-based online programming to inspire Sleep Health and Stress Resilience
- Guided Meditation: Mindfulness journeys narrated by Deepak Chopra to encourage relaxation and rejuvenation
- Energizing Light: Bright white light to help suppress melatonin, regulate the circadian rhythm and mitigate jet lag
- Stay Well Mattress: Natural memory foam derived from plant extracts to provide optimal support and comfort for better sleep
- Stay Well Mattress Encasement: Mattress protection to help maintain a more hygienic sleep environment, in conjunction with regular cleaning strategies
- And More
Finally, the most direct way to address issues of stress and anxiety is by engaging mindfulness practices. Increased levels of stress, particularly over a period of time, can negatively impact our immune response. If packing, planning, or the process of traveling itself is making you anxious, take a moment and identify what’s stressing you out. Talk to a friend; social support can actually help buffer the impact of stress-related susceptibility to viruses and illness. Finally, try digital detoxing, meditation, or a mindfulness app. With tracks like “Celestial Summer Night” and “Aerial Ballet,” MindBreaks, our new evidence-based mindfulness app, will transport you to a peace-filled realm and help you feel calmer and more focused when you return back to earth!
Edited by: Regina Vaicekonyte, MS and Bing Bing Guo, MPH