Touring has a dangerous tendency to bring out loads of predictable unhealthy habits. For many musicians, being on the road means diets of fast food and gas station fare, long nights focused more on indulgence than rest, and a creeping sense of emotional isolation and aimlessness. A focus on health isn’t something musicians who tour a couple of weeks a year need to worry about, but it’s absolutely crucial for those that tour to make ends meet. If you’re searching for ways to help keep you physically and mentally fit on the road, here are three tips:
Wage war on sedentary habits
A whole lot of sitting goes on while touring, from entire days spent traveling to shows to lounging around green rooms most nights. All that inactivity doesn’t cause much damage after a week-long tour, but sitting like that day in and out throughout months of extended touring is a different story. Take each and every opportunity you can to exercise during tour. Taking walks here and there won’t help much, but it’s a start. Impactful exercise during tours might result in being made fun of for doing squats behind the venue, but the health benefits you’ll receive will far outweigh the potential ridicule. Making an effort to move on tour might require you to speak up to your bandmates and make taking out time for trips to local gyms and parks a priority.
Maintain strong links to relationships back at home
Touring is especially rough on those with marriages and kids back at home. Luckily, between texts, phone calls, and video face-to-face chats, there’s never been more ways to stay connected to loved ones while touring. If it’s possible, try scheduling regular points of contact each and every day you’re on tour. This routine won’t substitute for the personal connections you have at home, but it will help keep them––and you––strong and healthy. Like skipping exercise while traveling, it’s easy to neglect your relationships on the road, but doing so will put you at greater risk for feeling isolated and adrift.
Care about what you put into your body
It can be insanely hard to make healthy dietary decisions if you’re crammed inside a moving vehicle for most of your waking hours, but it’s something you need to worry about if you tour consistently. Instead of simply trying to cut out all the bad food choices you’re likely to encounter on tour, try making a real effort to get the good stuff in––vegetables, fruits, lots of water, etc. Bring healthy options to munch on while touring, and you’ll be less likely to rely on unhealthy options to get full.
There are so many other tips we could give in this piece––get enough sleep, drink in moderation, schedule days off for rest, etc., but the three we mentioned are massively important. Every musician’s touring routine is different, so staying healthy on the road is something you’ll have to work towards in a unique way tailored to your needs.
Patrick McGuire is a writer, musician, and human man. He lives nowhere in particular, creates music under the name Straight White Teeth, and has a great affinity for dogs and putting his hands in his pockets.