There are many things going through an athlete’s mind heading up to a competition. This also includes traveling. Athletes spend a lot of time traveling to and from competitions, and air travel elements, such as immobility, noise exposure, sleep loss, dietary changes as well as breathing poor quality air, can have an adverse impact on their performance in ways that many of us may not realize. Travel is psychologically stressful, too, often due to delays, security controls and worry over lost gear in luggage.
Before your trip
As an athlete, it’s very important to create a list of things you need to take with you prior to traveling:
1. Pack these items in your carry bag: Hand sanitizer, with at least 50 percent alcohol, natural, anti-fungal defense soap bar, bandages and anti-fungal tea tree oil cleansing wipes for preventing any skin infection.
2. Avoid contact lenses, wear glasses instead: Contact lenses may dry your eyes and make them unprotected from microbial invaders. Wearing glasses make you less likely to rub or touch your eyes, too.
On a plane or train
3. Hydration: A major issue for traveling athletes is dehydration. Traveling athletes often stop drinking to avoid constant stops either while driving or flying to their destination. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids. At first, fellow travelers may get irritated, but all those traveling with you would rather see you perform better.
4. Stay Active: This can be arduous while on the road, since traveling involves long periods of sitting. Exercise stimulates the immune system, keeps your brain sharp and releases endorphins (those feel-good chemicals). Here’s how athletes can stay active during their trip:
•Do chair squats: These give muscles some stimulation.
•Shoulder stretches: These increase your range of motion in your shoulder joints and chest.
5. Wash your Hands: One of the challenges of air travel is protection against cold and flu. Being on an airplane with a group of people coughing and sneezing can make you fall sick, but frequent hand washing with a hand sanitizer or a natural, anti-fungal defense soap bar can make a real difference.
6. Meditation: Meditation is a substantial way to reduce stress, increase your awareness and sharpen your mind. Designate the first 25-30 minutes of the flight to it.
Once reaching your destination:
7. Eat well: Athletes usually stay in hotels where all the meals are provided in the hotel restaurant. Before leaving home, enquire about the restaurants nearby. Meals containing carbohydrates, such as noodles, rice and pasta, are a good place to start.
8. Keep the body clean: A very important factor to remember is keeping your body safe from any infection. Remember, athletes are more prone to skin infections. Anti-fungal tea tree oil cleansing wipes are a perfect solution when you can’t hit the shower, as they clean off the dirt in clogged pores. These wipes are portable and can be carried while traveling to energize the skin while retaining moisture.
9. Avoid stomach discomfort: Intestinal gases expand with the increase in altitude, leading to bloating and pain. This problem is aggravated by drinking soda or carbonated beverages. Water, once again, plays a pivotal role in performance, as it ensures that the digestive process continues to flow smoothly.
10. Rest and sleep: Just as exercise is important, so is rest. Traveling is stressful and it can be difficult to find downtime. What works is scheduling periods of rest into your day.
Stay healthy and infection-free!