Ester Marsh: Traveling through times zones

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 1, 2024

Last week, I talked about staycations, and this week I will cover traveling through time zones and the changes in food and workouts while on vacation.

When you are reading this, I am just a few days away before I fly to my country of birth, the Netherlands, aka Holland. I am super excited to see my family and friends and this year will be the first time that I have TSA pre-check and global entry. It was a lot of hassle to get the appointment (I ended having mine in Atlanta) so I hope it was worth the trouble. TSA pre-check is the security where typically the lines are a lot shorter than “normal” security, because they have your fingerprints, picture and background check. Global entry only works when you come from another country by plane, boat or vehicle and once again, much shorter lines. Having global entry and TSA pre-check should help me get through security and customs a lot quicker. I will let you know how it went after I get back on June 20. This also means I won’t have a column for at least 2 weeks, maybe 3.

I have a full schedule visiting my family and friends and a wedding of my niece. Flying over different time zones can really mess up your biological clock, I know it does mine. I am flying east where they are six hours ahead. So when I arrive at 7 a.m. Wednesday morning, its 1 a.m. eastern U.S. time! This is how I try to deal with it. Get up at the usual time. If that is 7 a.m., get up at 7. My biological clock says it is 1 a.m. By getting up and starting your day, you will get in the swing of things within a couple of days. Of course, it helps when it is light outside to start your day early. Do the same at night. In a couple of days (to a week), you will be used to the time change.

While traveling, especially in a plane, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Stay away from caffeine and alcohol. Something else I learned, especially being older, is the extra calories are not kind to us. Throw in different activities, and not your regular exercise routine and weight gain and/or body aches from traveling and change of workouts can happen. I learned long ago that I needed to watch the calories while on vacation. Especially missing a lot of Dutch foods, I would eat them just because I couldn’t have them here. I gained weight like everyone else, and when I looked back, I questioned myself if I really wanted to eat all of that. My answer to most was no.

The following are some tips when you are on vacation/ traveling:

• Be aware what you eat

• Consciously get more steps in

• Plan your exercises ahead

• When on vacation, check if there is a YMCA or gym nearby. YMCA has the reciprocity program where when you are a current YMCA member you can use any YMCA in the country.

• Watch your drink intake. Alcoholic beverages pack loads of calories and drinking tons of low-calorie beverages adds up.

• Most of all, enjoy your time off! Reconnect with family and friends and/or use it to recharge your battery, clear your mind and relax your body.

Ester H. Marsh is director of healthy living of the J.F. Hurley Family YMCA.