Friday, August 9, 2019

Preventative Health Tips For Musicians On The Road | Music Think Tank

For most musicians, heading out on the road comes with the territory. You get the chance to spread your sound far and wide and hopefully pick up some new fans along the way. But touring isn’t all fun and games; long stretches on the road can take a significant toll on your mental and physical health.

Understandably, health is usually not the first priority for musicians on tour, but it should be. By taking care of yourself, your stage performance can improve, and you may feel more energetic and creative. And staying healthy on the road starts with preventative care, as well as advanced preparations. It may require some work, but by making your health a priority before embarking on a tour, you’ll be better prepared for the long days and nights ahead of you.

Starting Off Strong and Healthy

Did you know that your oral health is directly linked to overall well being? In fact, WebMD reports that, “gum disease is linked to a host of illnesses including heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disease, osteoporosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.” For that reason, keeping your mouth healthy is key to a successful tour. 

Within six months prior to hitting the road, it’s in your best interest to visit a dentist for an oral exam and cleaning. Oral exams serve as an initial line of defense against serious gum and tooth issues, according to dental professionals. Further, most dentists recommend routine cleaning on at least a semi-annual basis for optimal oral health.

Once your oral health has been taken care of, consider other aspects of your health that may need to be addressed while on tour. For instance, where will your meals be coming from? Eating well is another important factor that may affect your on-stage performance, and a diet that’s heavy on fried foods and starches can actually zap your energy. You may also want to start up a daily exercise routine prior to touring. Studies show that exercise may make you a better musician, improving your creativity while also boosting your self-confidence.


Accessing Healthcare While on the Road

In our modern digital era of advanced communications, it’s easier than ever to access healthcare, no matter where you are in the U.S. or the world. Whether you have a routine health-related question or experience a sudden illness, your primary care physician may be just a video chat away. Accessible services like telemedicine are at the forefront of patient-centered trends in healthcare, equating shorter wait times and comprehensive treatment.

If you experience a large-scale health emergency or otherwise need to visit a brick-and-mortar hospital or urgent care clinic, make sure you know exactly what your insurance covers. Further, your insurance coverage should be in place well before you head out on tour. In some cases, you may want to eschew traditional insurance for a health savings account (HSA). With a HDDP-HSA qualified savings account, you’re in control of your medical funds and may be able to avoid paying for insurance coverage that you rarely use. That can result in significant savings over the long-term.

As a last resort or if your insurance coverage is lacking, you may be able to utilize facilities at a local musician’s clinic in the city where you’re performing. Musical hubs such as New Orleans and Baltimore offer healthcare to local and traveling musicians who are underinsured or uninsured. And with all the costs that accompany touring, visiting a musician’s clinic can help keep your budget intact.


The Importance of an Emergency Fund

Touring comes with its share of expenses, even if your record label is covering some of the costs. Food, lodging, and gas are just a few of the basics when it comes to spending while on tour. But what happens in the event of an emergency? You should have a small nest egg put aside in case of a mechanical breakdown or health-related emergency.

It’s important to note that an emergency fund isn’t typically something you can scrape together at the last minute. It may take months for you to build up a significant amount of savings, even if your emergency fund goal is relatively meager. And you may want to get creative when it comes to helping grow your emergency fund: Consider selling your unused possessions on sites such as eBay and Amazon, or perhaps take up a part-time side job in the months prior to your scheduled tour.


Final Thoughts

Staying healthy while on the road takes almost as much diligence and dedication as performing itself. Don’t leave the planning of such an important aspect of touring for the last minute. Instead, put together a pre-tour health plan that includes an emergency fund and wellness checkups. With your healthcare under control, you’ll be much more equipped to handle the pressures and excitement of the touring life!


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