Tips for Staying Healthy on Tour

It's a frequently overlooked fact by musicians that going on tour can be bad for your health. The road lends itself to unhealthy habits, from not getting enough sleep to not staying hydrated.

While a healthy regime might not sound very fun for your first tour, the longer you're on the road, the more essential it becomes - and if your band plans to go on tour in the future, you've got to stay in top shape so you can deliver memorable shows.

Fortunately, it doesn't have to be hard to stay healthy on the road, even if you don't have money for traveling personal trainers and chefs like some musicians do. Don't let touring take a toll on your health with this advice. 


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Water deserves a place of honor on your rider, and it should be your best friend at any tour pit stop. No one is saying you ONLY have to drink water, but be sure you guzzle plenty of it each day. You need water to deliver your best performances - especially if you're singing - and you also need water to fight back against dehydration and nausea, headaches, and general hangover feelings that come along with it. 

Get Some Sleep

There is just no substitute for sleep to maintain good health. Your body simply needs it. Sleeping and touring do not easily co-exist for many musicians, but there are some things you can do to tip the scales in your favor. To start, invest in some earplugs. They make everything from sleeping in the van to drowning out a late-night party easier.

Next, invest in some hotel rooms. Bands out on their first tours can't always afford a hotel room every night, but schedule a quiet room with a bed at least every few nights. It beats sleeping in a van, and it even beats crashing on strangers' couches. Remember, every time someone gives you a place to stay means that they probably also want to sit up and party with you. That can be fun, but not every night. Getting sleep matters more. 

Last but not least, embrace naps. Even a very short nap can refresh you enough to keep going. 

Make Smart Food Choices

Fast-food fits with touring, but try to stick with foods that will give you some actual nutrition even when you're dining at drive-thrus. Skip the fries, get a grilled sandwich, try a salad - mix it up a little. When you hit the convenience store, instead of candy and chips, grab some fresh fruit to snack on between meals. Your digestion will thank you.

It should come as no surprise that most healthy meals aren't eaten in cars. Like you treat yourself to a hotel room now and then, treat yourself to a sit-down meal in a place with knives and forks. Your healthy options will increase exponentially.  

Get Active

Sure, humping your gear all over land and creation is a workout, but that's not enough. Grab a short jog before the show or do some yoga backstage. Try some jumping jacks when you stop for gas and do leg lifts in the van. Working out will improve your physical and emotional health and can be an opportunity to get some precious alone time. 

Ditch Unhealthy Habits

Smoking, drinking and the like always takes a toll, but the mix of these habits with the other unhealthy lifestyle of the touring musician can make them even worse for you. Do your best to resist the excesses you encounter on the road. You can't be your best on stage or off if you're over-indulging. If you can't give up completely, set some strict limits and stick with them. Being able to do this is often the thing that separates musicians who have long-term careers and those who crash and burn because they can't handle the road.

Stay Connected

Being on tour can feel like you're in a state of suspended animation. Have fun with your bandmates doing things that have nothing to do with your work, and make an extra effort to stay connected to the important people at home. Doing so will help you feel grounded and at peace in an often chaotic situation.

Touring can exacerbate feelings of depression and anxiety, so if you find yourself in trouble, speak up. Don't isolate yourself from your support system, and make use of that support when you need it.