How to Stay Healthy on the Road

Maintaining our daily health and overall wellness is a prevalent issue on the road. When we sit for long periods of time or feel cramped in a tiny space, it may be difficult to get the exercise we need or eat just right.

When Rachel & Joackim chose vanlife, they knew they had to find ways to take care of themselves in between their travels. Because they are quite active—Rachel teaches yoga and Joackim is a professional surfer—they notice when they do not take care of their health. They have found these tips work well for an on-the-road lifestyle.

Joackim and I have traveled more than 5,000 miles through North America in our van, sitting for hours upon hours a day.

How do we manage to keep ourselves healthy?

1. Yoga  

Whether it was practicing outside the parked van or finding a yoga studio in the cities we visited, yoga was the number one tool that kept us going. In North Carolina, we went for runs on the beach and practiced yoga in the backyard. In Nashville, we ran in the park and did a little yoga session after together. One morning, we found a studio that offered $5 hot yoga community classes and the studio had a shower and amenities—what a bonus! After that class, we made it a habit in each city we passed through to find a yoga studio with showers so that we could get the best of both worlds.

Favorite Yoga Studios: One of our favorite studios, Shakti Power Yoga, is in an old Victorian-style house in Nashville. They offer community classes with amazing teachers, and the studio comes with showers and provided amenities. Our other favorite, Om Shala, is in Northern California. They offer class packages that you can share with friends. They have a sauna, showers and yoga classes for every level. If you're not into yoga, try signing up for a visitors pass at your local gym. 24 Hour Fitness offers them in every state.

2. Master Cleanse

The Master Cleanse consists of organic lemons, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and distilled water. This drink is from a detox recipe that's been around for ages. The cleanse is meant to last seven days as a way to detoxify the body, flush out toxins and extra waste, eliminate fatigue and rejuvenate the body from the inside out. Both of my uncles introduced it to me from a young age, and we all drink it a couple times a year. One of them lived off this drink for 40 days.

It can also be used as a spiritual detox as many people pray for something while drinking it.

We fell in love with the taste, so we decided to add it to our diet as a cheap bonus to alkalize the body.

Favorite Healthy Drinks: Some other favorite drinks we recommend are GT's Enlightened Synergy line of kombucha and the Sambazon acai berry energy drink. Most are familiar with kombucha, a probiotic drink that helps rejuvenate the body from the inside out. However, the Sambazon acai drink contains not only the super fruit acai but also natural caffeine from guarana, yerba mate and green tea. It's the ultimate energy booster without the crash that you might get from coffee, and it's perfect for an 11-hour or longer road trip.

3. Buy Local and Cook

Because it can be expensive to eat out for every meal, look for local farmers markets on your journey. Load up on fruits, veggies and grains. Anything you can add to your grill is essential. We use a Coleman portable grill, and cooking on the road is rather simple. For bulk purchases, such as bread and canned foods, consider Costco.

Eating on the road doesn’t have to be difficult.

Favorite Healthy Meals: For breakfast, you can buy local, organic eggs from the small stands you see on most highways, especially in California. You can also find potatoes or quinoa for your grain and/or starch; avocado; organic chicken and/or sweet or spicy sausage for protein; brussel sprouts or any type of green; and goat cheese if you're feeling fancy. For dinner you can do the same thing but instead of eggs, buy a piece of fish. We buy piece of tilapia that feeds two people for $4 at Trader Joe's and we pair it with what I mentioned above. Dinner for two ends up being around $11 or $5.50 each—not bad! While road tripping in the Redwoods, we also ended up falling in love with soups and sandwiches. Our favorite was the tomato bisque from Costco, six boxes for $10. Pair it with an avocado and tomato grilled cheese sandwich, and you've spent about $3-$4 a meal. I'd say you have yourself the perfect simple winter lunch.

4. Go Outside and Breathe Fresh Air

Whether it is waking up early for a sunrise walk, riding your bike, going for a run, catching a wave or two, taking a hike in the mountains or simply strolling downtown or in a park, get outside, smell the fresh air, breathe it in and out and move your body. Because you can.

Favorite Hikes: Our favorite places to hike have been in Big Sur, California. If you can get there outside of the rainy season, you will find enjoyable hikes open to the public and possibly some secret local spots. You'll be amazed at the magic the trails have to offer. We had one of the best natural waterfall showers. Our other favorite place to hike is in the Redwoods of Northern California. There are great trails near Trinidad Beach. Be sure to get up early to experience the most amazing wildlife sounds. We ran into a baby owl one morning and it was magnificent.

Follow Rachel & Joackim of Everyday Habibi


How do you stay healthy on the road? Share your wisdom in the comments below.

Produced by Kathleen Morton of Tiny House, Tiny Footprint.
Edited by Kate MacDougall.
All photos credit to Rachel Leah Peterson Guichard.