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As the days get longer, it’s the perfect time for road trips. The idea of such getaways is to experience the good things in life in a way that’s more relaxing. However, it’s still important to minimize the potential risks that go along with hours spent in the car as you get to and from your preferred destinations. While you can’t be prepared for absolutely everything, there are steps you can take to boost your peace of mind and make your next road trip a healthier one.

Snack Smartly

Occasional indulgences while on road trips are fine. But too many stops at roadside restaurants and drive-thrus can result in extra pounds that could stick around long after your trip is over. Instead, pack a cooler and load it up with handy, healthy snacks like yogurt cups, sliced veggies, granola bars, and unsalted nuts. You can even make a batch of healthy trail mix before you go.

Make Water the Preferred Beverage

Soda and fruit juices can occasionally quench your thirst on a road trip. The preferred beverage, however, should be good old-fashioned H2O since water will hydrate you without added sugar and calories. Water also helps with circulation and facilitates the delivery of beneficial nutrients to the spine and other parts of the body.

Stretch Periodically

Sitting in a car for long periods of time can place added stress and pressure on muscles that support your spine and soft tissues in your neck, shoulders, legs, and hips. There are simple stretches you can do while driving or sitting in a car. Muscle tension can also be eased by periodically stopping to stretch where it’s convenient to do so.

Frequently Apply Sunscreen

The windows on most cars don’t keep harmful UV rays from getting inside. For this reason, it’s best to err on the side of caution and get into the habit of applying sunscreen, even if a trip to the beach isn’t on your agenda. With sunscreen, the general recommendation is to use products with an SPF of 30 or higher.

Find Fun Ways to Boost Brain Health

Because brain health is just as important as physical health, take advantage of time spent in the car to keep everyone mentally stimulated. Creative ways to do this include playing educational car games and listening to audiobooks, maybe even ones about the places you plan to visit.

Stress can also affect health, which is why road trips should be as pleasant and relaxing as possible for everyone involved. One way to accomplish this goal is to be flexible with your schedule so you’re not worrying about time constraints and other things that might affect your physical and mental health. For instance, be willing to take scenic side trips; or look for nearby parks where everybody who’s along for the trip can enjoy some fun forms of exercise like Frisbee or random walks. If any aches or pains are experienced while on the road, heat or cold packs can provide quick relief.

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