How to Stay Healthy on a Motorcycle Trip

Your health is the most important thing in your life. It must be looked after, but is easily neglected – especially while on trips. So we’ve put this guide together to help you stay healthy while on the road and motorcycle travelling. 

Rev'it Ladies Sand 4 and Tornado 3 Review

Contents

Staying Healthy While Motorcycle Travelling

Staying healthy is important for your mind and body. It’s vital for brain function and concentration, will help prevent you from getting sick and keep you physically fit.

But, it can be hard to stay healthy when you’re travelling – and even harder when you’re travelling on a motorcycle. That’s because it’s often physically and mentally taxing, which can quickly lead to fatigue and body pains.

You’ll be out of sync with your normal routine and may find it harder to eat and drink well. You’ll be exposed to more – from the elements to diseases. And you may ride through places where you don’t have access to things that are as readily available or as easily accessible as they are back home, making it harder to keep on top of your health.

So, to help, we’ve written this guide to take preventative measures into consideration and help you stay healthy on the road. Whether you’re on a weeklong tour of Europe or riding round the world – your health is the most important thing.

Health Advice for Motorcycle Travellers

Vaccinations

There are some nasty, serious and life-threatening diseases out there. It doesn’t matter if you’re off on a round the world trip, or flying abroad to rent a bike for a few days – check what vaccinations are required for where you’re going first. This is such a simple – yet overlooked step.

We recommend getting a vaccine booklet or making your own. Speak to your GP or wherever you’ve received your previous jabs from and write down your vaccination history, when they expire and when you need your boosters so it’s not forgotten while you’re away.

There are some vaccines that are available for free (depending on which country you live in) and a lot that you will need to pay for. But many of these are basic shots that will develop your immune system and help prevent you from otherwise catching an easily avoidable disease or illness.

In the UK, you can get specific vaccines for free on the NHS, the rest will need to be given at a private travel clinic. Sort this out well in advance of your travels because some vaccines require several doses spread over a few weeks and some need time to develop an immunity.

We recommend having a read through this guide on the NHS website about vaccines. 

Then take a look at these two websites for recommended vaccine information by countries: Fit for Travel and Travel Health Pro. 

Get in and stay in shape for your motorcycle trip

You’re signing up for a motorcycle adventure – not a gym membership, right? Fair enough. For most, the last thing we want to think about on a trip is staying in shape. But, this is important for motorcycle travellers because staying in shape physically keeps your body strong and agile, it helps improve brain health, reduces the risk of disease and keeps you riding fit.

This is especially important for long term travellers like round the world riders. When you spend a big chunk of your life on the road, it’s no longer a holiday and your trip just becomes your everyday life.

Staying in shape doesn’t mean you need to find a gym every morning. All you need to do is just take ten minutes a day to perform basic exercises – that’s it! There’s 720 minutes in a 12-hour day, so ten of those can be spent on fitness.

It’s easiest to do it as soon as you get up or as close to that time as possible so that it’s done and out of the way.

Start with body movements for five minutes. Rotate your arms, twist your hips, roll your neck, roll your shoulders, lift your knees up etc. Then try five minutes of press ups, dips, squats etc. It can all be done with your own bodyweight and no additional equipment. If you enjoy running, you could always pack your running trainers and do a few laps of your campsite or the town you’re staying too. If you want to take your exercise further, then you could also take a lightweight skipping rope and a rubber exercise band as they both take up next to no weight and space.

Ten minutes sounds too easy, in fact, it sounds so easy that some people think there’s no point in even doing it. But you’ll be surprised at how much of a difference it makes with persistence and continuously doing it. The time adds up and ten minutes is better than no minutes.  

Eating healthy on your motorcycle travels

What you eat and drink can greatly affect your health – and not just when you’re travelling on a motorcycle.

But it can be tricky eating well when you’re on the road. It’s too easy to stop off at a petrol station or eat fast food and rubbish. It’s convenient, cheap, easy and requires no preparation, cleaning or unpacking to cook. But, we all know it’s bad for you. On a short trip or tour it’s not so bad, but on a longer trip it’s better to get into the habit of eating well. The easiest way to do this is to buy and prepare your own food. You will need to pack and carry your own stove, washing up kit, pots and pans and cooking equipment if you plan on cooking food as well.

READ MORE: The Ultimate Motorcycle Camping Kit List

Don't be put off trying delicious street food, just be cautious and use common sense.

Drink

Keeping hydrated is crucial for your health too. With long hours in the saddle it’s easy to forget to rehydrate when you stop. An easy way of ensuring you’re always drinking enough fluids is to use a water bladder rucksack and to sip while riding. 

What to watch out for with food and drink

In some countries, food hygiene standards might not be what you’re used to or expect. Germs and bacteria can be found in food that hasn’t been cooked or prepared properly and can quickly lead to food poisoning or worse. Here are some things to watch out for.

  • In some countries you may wish to avoid meat altogether because of the associated risks.
  • Vegetables may have been washed in dirty water by restaurants and food vendors. We’ve literally seen restaurants washing vegetables in gutter water before on the street. To reduce risk, buy cooked veggies.
  • Fruit that needs to be peeled is safer.
  • Try avoiding ice as it could be from dirty water.
  • Always ask if you can drink the tap water – even in hotels. And just because one hotel says yes, it doesn’t mean the one in the next town will be okay. If in doubt, boil it or buy bottled.
  • If you need to source your own water, from a stream for example, then ensure you filter it or use a rolling boil for at least three minutes.
  • Carry and use hand sanitiser.

Keep comfy on your bike

Being comfortable on your motorcycle will help prevent your muscles from getting sore and your joints from aching. That’ll mean you can ride for longer and keep your concentration on riding instead of an achy bum and sore wrists.

It’s never a good idea to power through the pain. You might make your goal or destination for that day quicker, but your body will hurt the next day and even more the day after until you have no choice but to take time off to rest and recuperate. Being comfortable means you’ll go further and for longer.

Have a read of this guide for more info.

READ MORE: How to Ride Long Distance in Comfort

Uzbekistan road conditions
Keeping comfy somewhere in northern Uzbekistan....

Get enough sleep between rides

Sleep is imperative for concentration, the immune system, your blood pressure and your heart. Make sure you get enough each night to keep you alert. If you’re camping and not sleeping well, invest in a better roll mat or sleeping bag or even a travel cot. Try not to drink any caffeine or sugary drinks late in the evening and get into the habit of turning in early.

Ear plugs

Wearing ear plugs while riding a motorcycle helps prevent associated hearing problems such as tinnitus. Riding long distance on a loud bike coupled with constant wind blast can seriously damage your ears over the year. Ear plugs are inexpensive, small, easy to use and are important for your earth health. 

Summer and winter motorcycle riding

Heat stroke and sun burn are concerns for when riding in the heat. Stop often for shade, use sun cream, cover your skin and keep hydrated. Your kit should be suitable for the conditions. If you’re riding in extreme temperatures then it needs to be mesh and/or highly vented. 

Winter riding can also affect your health. Make sure you’re wearing the right gear, have a good layering system in place and your kit is waterproof. If you’re cold, stop. It’s easier to stay warm than to get warm. 

For more info on riding gear, check out our adventure kit guides. 

READ MORE: Adventure Riding Gear Guides

Motorcycle Travel Indonesia Guide
Stay fully protected no matter the weather, but make sure your riding gear is suitable for the conditions.

Mental health

Travelling on a motorcycle can be difficult, stressful and isolating at times, which can affect your mental health. There are organisations you can speak to – you’re not alone. If you are dealing with mental health, take down phone numbers for services from your home country and for services in the countries you’re travelling to and reach out for help if you need it or just want to talk.

Motorcycle travel insurance

Sorting personal travel insurance for your trip is one of the most important things you can do. It’s not a fun thing to research – like what panniers, tools or tyres you’re going to use, but it deserves your time. 

While you’re considering your insurance, it’s always worth looking into emergency satellite communication devices too. These are life saving bits of kit that are able to call for emergency help if you need it in remote regions where you don’t have phone signal.  

READ MORE: 

Read more on motorcycle travel

Thanks for checking out our How to Stay Healthy on a Motorcycle Trip guide. We hope you enjoyed it! Here’s a few more articles on motorcycle travel that we recommend you read next. 

Try these next…

Are you planning a motorcycle trip and thinking about your health? Do you have any questions, tips or suggestions? Let us know in the comments below. 

Leave a comment