Health on the Road
Traveling and performing can be an interesting mix. Late nights, long days of travel, time zone changes, limited eating options, hotel beds…
In this biz your health is everything. Sometimes being sick = not performing = not getting paid. The last thing you want is to miss a gig or to have to try and perform through a flu or something awesome like gastro…
Over the years, and through trial and error, I have figured out some of the things that help me.
- Eat your veges. On the road I eat 99% vegetarian. I find it’s the easiest way to make sure you are getting your greens and nutrients. It is also easier if you are taking food supplies with you – less perishable. When I arrive in a new location I try to get to grocery store ASAP and stock up on fruit, vegetables and healthy snacks. Taking a cooler bag is a good idea to minimise food waste. Although time at destinations can be limited, if eating out it can be a good idea to research options while on the road before you arrive.
- Immune health. I’m a fan of regular vitamin C, and an immune health supplement including zinc and echinacea – especially when touring during Winter. Call me a germ-o-phobe but I will usually have a scarf with me, especially on planes – a quick and semi-subtle way to cover your mouth and nose if your neighbours are coughing or sneezing. Hand sanister is also very handy!
- Exercise. Routines can be thrown out the window on the road but it’s important to try and maintain good habits. I will always aim to get out for a walk or run, especially if we are traveling near the coast. You can do lots of your sightseeing on foot. If your accommodation has a gym, great – use it. If it doesn’t – it is possible to do a full workout in a hotel room with bodyweight exercises – burpees, mountain climbers, lunges, squats etc, etc. Maybe just make sure you put up your ‘do not disturb’ sign! Be sure to stretch regularly – airplanes, buses and vans can have you pretty cramped up.
- Sleep – it’s totally crucial to our health and wellbeing yet we can struggle at the best of times. I will always have ear plugs and an eye mask when traveling. I also have a white noise app on my phone if I need it, and have even slept with my noise-cancelling headphones on (London apartments!). The wind-down can be a challenge, especially with late shows. I always have a decent book to help me zone out and wind down for the night.
- Flexibility. It is not uncommon to be in a new city or town every day. The above will help - but its not going to be perfect all of the time. Listen to your body – sometimes it will be more important for you to have a nap than exercise if you are exhausted. It can help to have a few non-negotiables you stick to e.g. never eating two unhealthy meals in a row.