Happy and Healthy Holiday Travel

Q: We're heading to Grandma's house for Christmas this year. It's a two-day trip by car. We have two kids under 10 years old and it is always a challenge to keep everyone happy and healthy on the road. Do you have any ideas for games that will get us moving and foods that will keep us healthy?

A: Over the hills and though the woods, to Grandma's house we go. Sounds so serene and pleasant, doesn't it? Compare that with today's crazed journey across states in cramped cars filled with kids, gifts and the family dog. It's no wonder we get a little harried by the thought of travel.

How will you keep your sanity on the trip to Grandma's house this holiday season?
Here are some ideas to help you stay active, healthy and calm while you travel:

1. Stay active: Busy kids don't have time for fighting and busy parents don't have time to notice the time drag on. For a group workout, lead the family through these seated exercises:

Upper back stretch and strengthen
Sit up tall, roll your shoulders back and stretch. Circle your head to stretch out your neck. Raise one hand towards the ceiling and pull it down and slightly back -- with the focus on the middle of your back. Feel the stretch. With a little added pull you can feel the muscles in action. Repeat this five times, switch arms and do it on the other side.
Reach both hands forward and grab on to the seat in front of you or the dash. Round your back, slightly pulling against the seat or dash for resistance. This is a nice gentle stretch.

Legs and buttocks

Extend your legs so that they straighten. Put some muscle into it by resisting the movement. Repeat on each side several times.

Bun squeezes may look a little funny, but that's part of the fun. Just tighten your thigh and buttocks on each side, hold for 10 seconds. Then do the other side. Repeat.

Point your toes so that they push on the floor. This will tighten your claves. Press up several times on each side.

Try sitting abdominal crunches. While seated, tighten your abdominal area and tuck your chin towards your chest and crunch. Breathe and focus.

Be creative with your travel workouts so that you can enjoy your trip.

2. Stay healthy: Pack up plenty of healthy snacks for the trip so you won't be tempted by fast food joints. Try these car friendly foods:

  • Celery sticks with peanut butter
  • Pre packaged applesauce and Jell-O
  • Boxed raisins
  • Bottled water
  • Bagels
  • Sliced Cheese
  • Bananas

If you need to stop for food, pick a restaurant with a low fat faire. Sub shops are a good option or grocery store delis.

3. Stay calm: Play soothing music that you all enjoy. For every two hours of travel allow 30 minutes for quite time with no music, games or talking. Set up your rules for travel before hitting the road so that everyone knows the game plan.
Happy trails!

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