7 Most-Effective Ways to Boost Immunity for Travel (Before & During)

Published

13 Feb 2024

Traveling can expose the body to various stressors and potential health risks. Maintaining a robust immune system is crucial to stay healthy while on the go. 

Here are 7 practical and science-backed ways to boost immunity for travel (before and during)

1. Drink Plenty of (Coconut) Water

Proper hydration is a fundamental aspect of supporting your immune system. Traveling, especially in dry or high-altitude environments, can lead to dehydration, making the body more susceptible to illnesses

Coconut water is renowned as one of the most-hydrating and nutritious liquids you can consume – and it’s available in most countries outside of the USA. However, regular water is fine too.

Carry a reusable water bottle, and aim to drink an adequate amount of water throughout your journey. Most travel destinations will have sufficient water sources, but if you plan to venture out into less-common areas, be prepared with extra water if needed.

2. Prioritize Quality Sleep

Ensuring you get sufficient, restful sleep is vital for a healthy immune system. Lack of sleep weakens the body’s defenses, making it more susceptible to infections. 

Establish a consistent sleep schedule, even during travel, and create a comfortable sleep environment, considering factors like noise, light, and temperature.

Remember – limit screen time before bedtime to promote better sleep quality. The blue light emitted by electronic devices can interfere with the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, impacting the overall effectiveness of your rest.

3. Maintain a Balanced Diet

Nutrition plays a crucial role in immune function. Consume a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. 

These foods provide essential vitamins and minerals that support the immune system. Consider packing healthy snacks for your journey and avoid excessive consumption of processed or sugary foods.

A few tips:

  • Explore Local Markets – Visit local markets to discover fresh produce and traditional ingredients. This allows you to experience authentic flavors and choose wholesome options.
  • Opt for Whole Foods – Prioritize whole, unprocessed foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. These options are often readily available and contribute to a balanced and nutritious diet.
  • Ask Locals for Recommendations – Seek recommendations from locals or use food apps to discover popular eateries that offer healthy and culturally rich dishes. This ensures a well-rounded and enjoyable dining experience.

4. Incorporate Regular Exercise

According to UW Health, running promotes the circulation of immune cells and enhances respiratory function. If your travel permits, consider going for a run in a local park or around your accommodation. 

Strength training, involving activities like weightlifting or bodyweight exercises, contributes to muscle strength and overall well-being. This form of exercise has been linked to improved immune function by promoting the production of antibodies and enhancing the body’s defense mechanisms. Many hotels or travel destinations provide fitness facilities, making it convenient to incorporate strength training into your routine.

A “travel-favorite” also includes yoga – an excellent way to support both physical and mental well-being, with its focus on:

  • Controlled movements
  • Breathing and mindfulness
  • Improving blood flow 

Numerous studies have suggested that practicing yoga can positively impact the immune system (by reducing inflammation and promoting a sense of calm). Pureful Yoga can help with practicing yoga as well. Consider packing a travel-sized yoga mat and engaging in simple yoga sequences in the comfort of your hotel room.

Last but not least – simply go for a walk. It’s one of the most accessible forms of exercise, seamlessly integrating into your travel routine. Explore your destination by taking leisurely walks, whether it’s strolling through local markets, parks, or historical sites. Walking stimulates blood flow, aids digestion, and contributes to an overall sense of well-being, benefiting your immune system in the process.

5. Practice Good Hand Hygiene

Frequent handwashing and the use of hand sanitizer are effective measures to prevent the spread of germs. The CDC warns about travel exposing individuals to various surfaces and potential contaminants, making it crucial to maintain proper hand hygiene. 

Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water, especially before meals or after touching shared surfaces.

6. Consider Immune-Boosting Supplements

Supplements can be a convenient way to ensure you’re getting essential nutrients to support your immune system. A few that are particularly known for their immune-boosting properties:

  • Vitamin C and D
  • Zinc and magnesium
  • Probiotics
  • Vitamin B6 and B12

Consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplements to ensure they align with your individual health needs.

Choose supplements from reputable sources and follow recommended dosage guidelines. Overconsumption of certain vitamins and minerals can have adverse effects, underscoring the importance of tailored advice from a healthcare provider. Always prioritize a balanced and varied diet, using supplements as a supplementary measure rather than a primary source of nutrition.

7. Manage Stress Levels

High stress can compromise the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to illnesses. Incorporate stress-relief techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or mindfulness exercises into your travel routine. 

Creating a calm and relaxed environment, even during transit, can positively impact immune function.

Prioritizing immune health during travel is a proactive approach to staying well on the road. By adopting these evidence-based practices, you can fortify your immune system, minimize the risk of falling ill, and boost your health during travel – something at Runway Health we have a major focus on.

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