Avoid Weight Gain on Long Road Trips

Travel broadens the mind – but it can also broaden your waistline.  Hours spent in a virtually stationary position while grazing on sugary, fat-laden snacks do nothing for the figure and can make you feel cranky and lethargic.  The next time you rent a car for an epic road trip, try some of our easy tips for staying straight and narrow.

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Watch Your Mouth

It’s not easy to follow a healthy diet when you’re on a long car journey:  The shops and filling stations you pass are likely to be stocked with a vast choice of tempting calorie bombs and little else. And even if you do find healthy options on offer, they tend to pale beside the double chocolate muffins and sacks of crisps when you’ve been on the road for hours. So how do you avoid drive-by junk binges?

1. Keep a supply of healthy snacks in the car.  A major reason for eating junk while driving is boredom, so if you stock up on alternatives (fruit, nuts, whole-grain snacks) you’ll graze on them instead.

2. Allow yourself one unhealthy snack a day.  Reduce the chance of bingeing by permitting yourself one junk item every day.  This can be anything you like, as long as it doesn’t exceed about 400 calories

3. Choose grilled options or salads at fast-food restaurants. The majority of fast-food outlets do offer salads and grilled items, just be careful with sauces and dressings.

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Keep Moving

Until somebody invents safe and practical in-car workout equipment, your options for exercising while driving are limited. Apart from the fat-burning benefits of exercise, however, it also keeps your circulation healthy and prevents the niggling pains that often accompany enforced inactivity.


1. Take a break every hour. Not everybody in the car may be happy with such frequent stops, but hourly breaks to stretch and walk around will boost everybody’s mood and help to speed up your metabolism.

2. Exercise before each day’s driving.  Few roadside hotels offer much in the way of exercise facilities, so fit in a quick run or a walk before you get into the car each morning.  Pack a resistance band and fit in a few short exercises to maintain your strength and muscle mass.

3. Exercise in the car.  No, we’re not recommending that you try doing star jumps in a moving vehicle, but isometric movements help to keep the blood circulating when you contract and release different muscles. Here are some options:

  • Squeeze your abdominal muscles by pulling your belly button toward your spine without holding your breath, maintaining for 2 seconds, and releasing. Repeat 16 times.

  • Squeeze a cushion or towel between your knees for 2 seconds and release slightly. Repeat 16 times.

  • Squeeze the cushion between your hands at chest level (or just press palms together) for 2 seconds and release. Repeat 16 times.

  • Press your palms into the ceiling of the car (shoulder-width apart) for 2 seconds and release. Repeat 16 times.

  • For a great back stretch, wrap your arms behind your knees, holding onto each elbow. Using your legs to hold you down, pull your torso away from your body, rounding your back upwards.

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Wherever you hire a car this year, don’t come home with extra baggage!  Make the experience a lighter and more comfortable experience with a little forward planning.