How Road Trips Affect Your Gut
Summertime is awesome for traveling. Day road trips, weekend road trips, or even week-long road trips are a great way to destress and enjoy yourself — especially when you’ve been cooped up for so long thanks to the pandemic.
Flying isn’t exactly ideal right now (thanks, COVID-19). But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a weekend away. You can take a road trip.
They’ll reduce your risk of being exposed to the stagnant air on an airplane. You’ll also get to take a more scenic route to your destination.
But before you go planning out your driving route, you should know how road trips can affect your gut health. While they aren’t ideal, there are ways to avoid having your vacation ruined.
Problem #1: Your Normal Routine is Out of Whack
Oftentimes you’ll wake up earlier than normal to get on the road before traffic gets too bad. Or you’ll drive through the night, again to avoid traffic. But both of these practices can throw off your body’s circadian rhythm.
Your body gets used to your daily routine: the time you wake up, the time you eat, and even the time you usually use the restroom. You may not even realize these things until you’re off schedule and needing to relieve yourself.
Fortunately, these are things you can adjust your trip to accommodate.
Before you go on your trip, start taking notice of your normal routine. What time do you normally do all of these things? Then start planning accordingly. You can even try to adjust your schedule before going on your trip so this isn’t an issue you have to deal with.
Problem #2: No Restroom Accessibility
Road trips generally equal long stretches of highway or country roads where you don’t see civilization for a while. That means, no restrooms.
By not going when you need to, you’re unintentionally backing yourself up and causing yourself to have constipation.
You can avoid this by mapping out your route based on your normal elimination times. There are apps that you can download onto your smartphone that also help you find nearby restrooms. Having those accessible can help you plan your trip a little better.
Problem #3: Not Drinking Enough of the Right Fluids
Water should be your go-to grab when you’re refilling your snack and drink stash. However, we all have a tendency to grab sugary or caffeinated drinks instead. It’s vacation, what could it hurt also throw in a #treatyoself, and it’s totally justified.
But if you have IBS or any other GI disorder, you know just how much those kinds of drinks can set you back. Even if you don’t have those conditions they’ll mess up your bathroom habits and make your trip a little less exciting.
Make sure you get drinks like water or natural waters like coconut, aloe, or hibiscus waters.
Problem #4: Not Stopping Frequently Enough to Move Around
Getting from point A to point B seems like the most important part of your trip, but sometimes that mindset keeps you in a sedentary position that isn’t healthy for you.
Sedentary lifestyles lead to craving unhealthy foods, boredom eating, and slowed digestion. Sitting for 12 hours straight will put your body into this mode.
Even if you don’t have a lot of time on your trip, try to find somewhere to stop. Walk around at a rest stop or a hiking trail along the way. Or even check cities you’ll be driving through, they often have rental bikes that you can cruise the city on.
For an alternate option, so you aren’t exposed to public germs, you can always look into getting an e-bike to take along with you. They require less energy to use, but still offer you the same benefits a regular bike would. That means you have enough energy to safely finish your drive and you get to move your body a bit leading to better digestion.
Problem #5: Healthy Snacks Aren’t as Easy to Come Across
Fast food is so convenient that the unhealthiness of it almost seems irrelevant. You’re on a time crunch to get where you need to go, you don’t want to stop to find or make healthy foods.
Not only does the fat and grease clog up your arteries, but it also messes with your gut health too. It makes you crave more bad foods because it feeds the unhealthy bacteria in your gut. This leaves your good bacteria hungry and powerless to tell you what you really need.
Eating these unhealthy foods leads to heartburn, indigestion, diarrhea or constipation, bloating, lethargy, and weight gain, not to mention diseases.
So to avoid all of these unpleasantries, plan your snacks and meals ahead of time too. Grab healthy snacks like cherries, berries, and granola bars. Pack meals that are full of dietary fiber like salads or sandwiches.
Making choices so that your microbiome is nourished is the key to avoiding bloating and other side effects of bad food choices. The easiest way to do this is by taking Atrantil. Check with your doctor if Atrantil is right for you!
Preparing your meals ahead of time doesn’t leave room for you to mess up your healthy lifestyle choices. (And they let you fit into your bathing suit better)
Problem #6: You’re Vacationing in the Wrong Areas
Okay, so there isn’t a wrong area for vacation, but there are choices that will support better health than others. Going into cities means there is less natural microbial diversity.
Areas outside of the city are actually much more beneficial to your body because of the microbes found on plants and in soil. When you’re exposed to this set of microbes it helps your gut microbiome to actually become healthier.
So when you go to plan your trips, choosing somewhere like a lake to camp at, a beach for lounging or a mountain to hike is actually way healthier than going into the city for a concert.
Road trips are so much fun. You get to experience so many more holes in the wall places that make way more memories than you could have on a plane. Making sure that you aren’t putting your health at risk is essential to not only enjoying your trip more but maintaining a healthy lifestyle that allows you to take many more trips in the future.
Where is your favorite place to vacation? What is your go-to healthy snack to bring along with you? Let us know in the comments below!