SXSW Interactive begins in just a few days. Over 30,000 people from over 57 countries will be pulling into Austin, Texas, for panels, workshops, and fun parties. As much fun as it is to attend, all that food and drink and sitting around can catch you a case of SXSW SARS. Want to stay healthy and stay in shape this year at SXSW? Here is how to do it:
Bypass the escalator and elevator and use the stairs
Exercise is one of the best ways to stay healthy, and in shape. Don’t take the escalator or the elevator when at the conference center or any of the venues. Avoid it at your hotel, too. Seek out the stairs and take them from floor-to-floor and by the end of the day you’ll have earned quite the workout.
The stairs at the conference center are hard to find, but they’ll often times get you to your next panel faster because nobody is on them (use this map to find the stairs ahead of time) Avoiding the escalators may also be a good way to avoid germs. Have you seen how crowded they get?
Get in a quick workout or swim
Whether you’ve just woken up or are stopping off at your hotel to drop off your things, get in a quick 30-minute workout or swim. Every hotel has a gym these days. Hop on the stationary bike or the treadmill. Do a few laps of the pool. The quick bout of exercise will freshen you up and help fortify your immune system.
There are plenty of ways to get around SXSW and year-after-year it gets easier and easier not to walk. There are pedicabs, taxis, and chauffeurs offering free Chevy rides. This is understandable as the additional venues are increasingly spread out.
But try to walk as much as possible. If you know you are headed further, get an earlier start. By the end of the day you will have walked a few miles. And you get all that time to be outside in the sun (assuming it’s not raining) where you’ll get plenty of vitamin D3 and fresh air.
If there isn’t enough time to walk from venue to venue, ride a bike. Tern bicycles is offering free bike rentals every day at SXCycles. Or rent a bike by the hour from Austin B-cycle. Pick one up and use it to get around. Just like walking, you will get plenty of exercise and several doses of vitamin D3 and fresh air.
Take a spin or yoga class
If your hotel is out in the boonies, like most of us, getting to the gym won’t be as easy. Fortunately, there are ways to get in a workout while downtown. SXSW is sponsoring Yoga classes every morning at 9:30am. And Women’s Health and Cyc are offering a pop-up spin class where they’ll be spinning tunes and giving out breakfast, juice, and swag.
Both yoga and spinning are a great way to realign your body and mind. And they are a nice break from all the running around. Add the yoga classes to your SXSW schedule or visit the Cyc web site for more details on how to RSVP for the spin classes.
Drink plenty of water
Water intake is essential to staying healthy. You should be drinking anywhere from 2 to 3 liters of water per day, preferably more. If you are drinking alcohol, it’s a good idea to drink an additional glass of water for each adult beverage to counter dehydration.
I recommend drinking one water bottle of water during each panel you attend. Then refill it as you make your way to the next panel. You’ll easily meet the minimum requirement and hopefully have flushed any recently acquired germs and toxins from your body.
Wash your hands, a lot
Since you will be drinking all that water, you will have to use the bathroom a lot. Take that opportunity to thoroughly wash your hands with warm soap and water. Washing your hands regularly is one of the best defenses you have against the spread of germs. If you are one to socialize and shake a lot of hands, this becomes even more important for you.
Sugar is to humans what Kryptonite is to Super Man. It makes us weak. Avoid eating more sugar than you already have to from eating out every meal. Avoid cookies, brownies, donughts, muffins, and other treats that are loaded with sugar. Eating additional sweets, which have little nutritional value, just makes it harder for your immune system to fight off illness.
Eat your fruits and vegetables
Everyone knows this but few actually do it. Eat your fruits and vegetables. Does your hotel offer a free breakfast? Skip the sugary cereal and go for the bowl of apples and bananas that no one is touching. Grab a few extra to keep in your backpack for later that day.
At dinner, order a side of vegetables, or be sure to eat the vegetables that come with your main course. Either way, eat your vegetables. Fruits and vegetables provide vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients. Eating them is one of the best ways to keep your immune system strong. Plus, you’ll just feel better about yourself.
One last thing…
Take it easy. Get enough sleep. Don’t try to do too much. And take breaks when you need them. Go easy on your body and your body will go easy on you.
Photo credit: ann harkness, Funky Tee, Roger Mommaerts