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Summer Road Tripping: Healthy Edition

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Summer is just around the corner and with the end of the school year in sight; you may just be getting the itch to corral the family into in the car for some exploring. With blue skies, a great play list for you and an iPad loaded with movies for the kids, the open road ahead holds the promise of a fun family adventure that will bring a smile to everyone's lips.

Yet with all the sitting and road sign after road sign for fast food ahead, how can you possibly stay healthy for the duration of the trip? Try these manageable tips to keep you and the entire crew happy and healthy.

Get a Good Night Sleep
Part of being on vacation is the luxury of not having a set schedule. With most of us being sleep-deprived, this is the perfect time to let our circadian rhythms readjust and give ourselves permission to go to bed early or sleep in late. Putting away digital devices and pulling out a good book before bed will keep you from counting sheep. By allowing yourself proper rest, you'll awake happier and avoid driving drowsy, which help prevent car accidents and maintains your alertness on the road.

Map out Healthy Restaurants & Farmer's Markets on your Route
If you know your route in advance or have access to a good Wi-Fi connection, take some time to search out healthy restaurants or local farmer's markets along the way. Websites such as Local Harvest or the Eat Well Guide makes it super easy to find locally grown and organic options. With the sustainable food movement continuing to spread, it'll be an educational field trip to spend time talking with local vendors and learning about their food. Plus they may have insider tips about the area that would you not find in a guidebook.

Pack a Cooler
Stock up at the farmers market for a picnic and buy extra goodies so your car is filled with healthy snacks such as ripe peaches, hand roasted nuts, or local yogurt. This will make your gas station stops can double as an ice run for the cooler instead of a salty, sugary nightmare.

Stop and Explore
Sitting for long periods of time can lead to lower backaches and stiff legs so it's important to get out of the car and move your body to restore blood flow. Half the fun of road tripping is stopping to explore a new area. One year in South Dakota, we discovered Mitchell's Corn Palace, not only were we able to explore a piece of local culture, but also we got out of the car for some exercise. So pack your sneakers and go for a hike or find a beautiful park and toss the Frisbee.

Be a Water Baby
Whether you book a hotel, motel, or a house rental along your route, try and seek out a pool or nearby lake to take a dip. Summer is the perfect time to cool off in outdoor water, which has the added benefit of helping stiff, weak muscles recover. After long winter months sitting at a desk and behind a computer it will be a welcome break to stretch out and activate different muscles.