World Health Day: Health and Ageing and Travel

It’s World Health Day today and their theme is ageing and health. My theme is ageing and travel!  Maybe because I’ve just turned 50 the topic is something I’ve been thinking about recently! In fact more than that – I’ve actually been making quite a big effort to lose some weight. Why? Because I do believe that you can travel for ever – so long as your health holds out.

Now you can’t totally control you health – cancer particulary seems to have no respect for your lifestyle. But we all pretty much know carrying too much weight and smoking are really not a good thing to do.

So after this weekend (with the requisite Easter Eggs) I’m planning to really get my weight down a fair bit more!

So what are the issues with travelling and health?

For many people the biggest single issues seems to be getting travel insurance for their pre-existing medical conditions. My partner has some heart issues – and we have to go through lots of questionnaires and get doctors notes every time we travel now – its beyond annoying. The reality is that many older people, I suspect, travel without travel insurance. At the end of the day if you are going to go – I’d much rather go on holiday having fun, rather than at home sitting around waiting to move into a retirement home!

The reality is – unless you are doing 5-star all the way – you need a certain about of agility – getting in and out of boats and the back of pickups is very common in most of the developing world. Even in Western countries you will probably be getting luggage up and down stairs, in and out of vehicles, and generally doing quite a bit more walking than you can get away with at home.

If you are seriously unfit –  I would suggest getting in some regular walking before you go away. You’ll enjoy yourself much more if you aren’t collapsed with exhaustion every evening! And its good for your health too!

Songathew Koh Lanta Thailand

Standard tourist transport, Koh Lanta, Thailand

And even though the first time you have to jump in the back of a truck – it may seem quite a mission, its surprising how quickly even the older traveller can develop new skills!

Travelling with allergies and intolerances 

Call me cynical but I know two different travellers who are ex-gluten intolerant and ex-vegetarian. How come? Well frankly our western preoccupation with food – just doesn’t exist in most of the world. Hell, most of the time I travel in Thailand I only have the vaguest idea of what I’m eating – figuring out what the main ingredients is about as far as you’re get if you are lucky!

So I’d suggest that sure, get some local translations of the foods you are avoiding, but be realistic, and hopefully be somewhat pleasently surprised when you discover you can get things you thought you couldn’t!

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