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Jan 25, 2016

The idea of taking a road trip is invigorating and it’s the perfect chance to break out of our usual routines. We get the opportunity to visit some of the coolest destinations our nation has to offer and many of the most memorable road trips are the ones that help you check off a few things on your bucket list, like standing in two states at once or hugging the world’s largest ball of twine.

While new adventures are the best part about road trips, unhealthy habits like binging on fast food and sitting with bad posture are among the worst. To help you out we’ve compiled these tips to stay healthy during your trip:

1. Choose grocery stores or farmers markets over fast food

Bringing a cooler on your trip means you can always pack your favorite fruits, vegetables and nutrition bars. These healthy snacks are a great way to make sure you don’t pull off the highway every time you see a fast food restaurant.

If you opt for fried food too often, it all begins to taste the same and it can wreak havoc on your body. Instead, stop at a local grocery store or farmers market.

Many larger grocery stores have ready-made, hot and healthy meals. Farmers markets often have vendors that prepare fresh, appetizing meals too. Use an app or Google search to find farmers markets in all of the cities and towns you’ll pass through on your trip. This way, you’ll have a variety of meals and will still fit into your favorite jeans at the end of the trip. (Buying locally also adds to the adventure of being on the road.)

2. Use those rest stops for exercise

Make a point to pull into a rest stop and stretch. For example, if you’re traveling along historic Highway 1, there will be many rest stops with amazing views of the Pacific Ocean.

Our bodies aren’t meant to sit for lengthy periods of time. A short workout routine will help balance out the lack of physical activity you’ve experienced from sitting in the car for hours on end. Pack your tennis shoes, swim suits and workout gear in case you find yourself near a beach, lake or walking trail during your travels and can go for a brisk walk or swim.

3. Watch your posture

Avoid the back pain that comes from long drives by sitting up straight. Invest in a car cushion to help with your posture while driving, or have your traveling companion tap you on the shoulder every time they see you slouch. You can even create a “slouch jar” out of your center console and add a coin or even a dollar to it every time you hunch over. Use those funds to help pay for your souvenirs or healthy snacks at the farmers market.

4. Get some Zzzs

Many drivers think that they can handle driving while drowsy. However, statistics show otherwise. The National Sleep Foundation reports that drowsy driving causes 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries yearly.

Staying healthy and safe on any road trip may mean budgeting for nights spent in a hotel or finding camping grounds along the way. When your eyelids start to droop and yawning becomes more frequent, it’s probably time to let your partner take the wheel or stop for the night.

5. Car health and protection are key for a successful road trip

Longer trips increase the possibilities for mishaps. Ensure your vehicle is road trip-ready by checking the oil, tire pressure and all fluids have been topped off. Additionally, make sure your car has enough insurance coverage for every state you travel through.

Remember, the best road trips are a balance between planning and spontaneity. No matter where the road takes you, drive safely and enjoy the journey.

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