Column: Keeping healthy during holiday travel


Commentary by Lance Goyke

The holiday season is a great way to connect with friends and family you haven’t seen in a while. But all of that traveling—changing time zones, germs on the plane, hours of sitting, and general life stress—can really take a toll on you.

To minimize jet lag, go to bed and wake up at the same time every day so your body knows when to wake you up. Minimize caffeine and alcohol because these drugs interfere with your daily rhythm.

Airports are where all the germs go to hang out. Keep your body’s defense system strong by eating a vegetable (colorful things), a protein (like chicken, turkey, ground beef, or tofu), and a healthy fat (like avocado, olive oil, or your favorite nut) at every meal.

Sitting can put a lot of stress on your back and neck. The best medicine here is movement; get up and move around whenever possible. If prolonged sitting is unavoidable, take a deep breath and exhale as much air as you can. Picture you’re blowing out a 100 candle birthday cake. After that, find and feel your two “sit bones” underneath your butt muscles, letting them sink into the seat. Do the same thing with your back. If you let your seat support you, your back won’t get so tight.

If your family stresses you out—I’m not the only one that happens to, right?—get away for some exercise. Try this short exercise program: 20 bodyweight squats, 10 push ups with your hands on the bed, and 10 lunges on each leg. Do that as many times as you can (shoot for at least 4). Support yourself with your hands if need be. When you’re done, meditate for 5 minutes to clear your mind. I promise you’ll feel like a new person.

Remember: your oxygen mask goes on first. Take care of yourself, then spread your holiday joy.

Lance Goyke is a strength coach with Indianapolis Fitness and Sports Training (IFAST). Visit to learn more about Lance and IFAST.


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