‘Travel. Be in it’: Combatting travel health risks

The Grande Cascade in the Pyrenees

Hiking in the Cirque de Gavarnie, with the Grande Cascade in the distance

Most people don’t need an excuse to travel and can easily list plenty of reasons why venturing out into the world is good for the mind, body and soul.

However, it’s important to be aware that there are travel health risks associated with the wrong type of travel.

We’re not talking about the widely reported risks which are normally associated with travel such as accidents, food-related illnesses and infectious diseases. We’re talking about the risks associated with watching the world go by from the seat of a tour bus or the deck of a large boat.

It’s what our team at UTracks call the ‘click and tick’ travel experience, where you take the photo and tick the destination off your bucket list with the minimum physical effort required.

While we believe that relaxing is a crucial part of travel, we are keen to ensure that activity forms a major part of the experience.

We’re not talking about just taking a stroll around a village or town each day or having a quick dip in the hotel pool.

We’re talking about the type of activity that gets your legs moving and your heart pumping.

The beauty of active European travel, whether it’s walking, cycling or a boat-based itinerary, is that training for the trip is a great way to get fit, you can maintain your fitness while travelling, you can travel at your own pace and you can still sample the local food and wine without putting on the kilos.

We’ve all fallen into the holiday trap of eating and drinking too much, doing too little and coming home to find that our clothes are a tad too tight. And when you take an extended break, there’s the risk that being inactive can lead to unhealthy weight gain, increased blood pressure or high cholesterol.

The majestic Château de Chambord

Visiting the Château de Chambord on our Loire Valley Cycle

With baby boomers now touring the world in record numbers, for extended periods of time, it’s never been more important to remain active while on holiday.

Our call for people to be more active and avoid travel health risks is backed by a recently published American study that has found that not exercising enough puts us at greater risk than smoking, diabetes or even heart disease.

Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic studied more than 122,000 patients who participated in treadmill testing between 1991 and 2014. Results showed better cardio-respiratory fitness was linked to living longer, while extreme aerobic fitness provided the greatest benefits, especially to patients over 70 and patients with hypertension. The study, published in the American Medical Association Journal, found that there is no limit to how much exercise is too much – which is great news for those who enjoy staying active (and need another excuse to book that next walking or cycling holiday).

UTracks’ 2019 campaign, ‘Travel. Be In it’, encourages people of all ages to become active travellers.

Europe is the ideal destination for active travel and UTracks has a range of exciting new itineraries for 2019 to keep you on the move, including:

>> Hilltops of Italy

>> Canal du Midi Cycle

>> Iceland Northern Lights Guided Walk

>> Catalonia on Foot Guided Walk

>> Coast to Coast Pyrenees Cycle

>> The Full Francigena Way Switzerland