Frequent travelers know the plight: between airports and ever-changing hotels, it's difficult to stay strong and live a healthy lifestyle. Of course, difficult does not mean impossible. In fact, here are 10 essential tips for frequent business travelers to stay active and take care of your body in the air, in the hotel, and in-between.
1) Pack Healthy Snacks
On longer trips, business travelers don't have the time to sit down for a wholesome meal at all times. When rushing from gate to gate or luggage claim to the hotel, you might be tempted to stop for a donut, get a candy bar, or engage in some other type of quick snack.
Fortunately, you can prevent this habit by packing the right way. Granola bars, nut mixes, fruits, and other healthy snacks in your carry-on can go a long way towards avoiding hunger and boosting your energy.
2) Dress Comfortably
Unless you go straight from the airport to a meeting, don't feel like you have to dress up for travel. Doing so can harm your health, especially if you wear clothing and shoes that don't allow your body to breathe or forces you to sit uncomfortably for long periods of time.
Instead, don't be afraid to dress for comfort. That includes sneakers rather than dress shoes and jeans rather than slacks. As long as you have time to change into your business attire after your arrival, nobody will bat an eyelash.
3) Check Hotel Fitness Options
In the course of your booking process, you might look for the cheapest or most comfortable hotels at your destination. Here's another variable to add to your consideration: always search for hotels with convenient fitness opportunities.
Most often, that includes a fitness center free for guest use. But you might also find indoor pools that allow you to swim some lanes early in the morning. The runners among us might even appreciate a hotel close to open space for their morning routine. Of course, you also need to pack the right clothes to take advantage of these opportunities.
Throughout your travel, especially when flying, you will be near countless people who sneeze, cough and spread their germs. Even non-hypochondriacs would be well-advised to keep their hygiene up to avoid catching those germs.
Sanitize your hands frequently, especially before and after eating meals or snacks. When possible, wash your face with clean hands and a facial cleanser. Also, it's ideal to keep travel-sized antibacterial wipes to disinfect surfaces near you. Stay clean to avoid catching a cold from mere proximity.
5) Pre-plan Meals
On extended business trips, especially with tight schedules, meals tend to be hectic or challenging to come by. However, in addition to packing healthy snacks, you can avoid much of the problem by pre-planning your meals while away from your office. Research restaurants that offer healthy foods at your airports and destination. Inform yourself about prices, opening hours, and the average time to serve. The better you plan, the less likely you will be tempted to make a last-minute stop at a nearby fast-food chain.
6) Prioritize Sleep
Studies have proven again and again that sleep is one of the most critical variables in staying healthy. If you don't get enough sleep or rest during irregular hours, your immune system will weaken, and you will become more likely to catch an illness along with several potentially devastating long-term effects.
Getting that sleep, of course, can be challenging – mainly when you fly on red-eye. Still, it makes sense to plan, keep a routine as much as possible, and commit yourself to at least some down periods while in the air. Noise-canceling headphones can help block out distractions near you and help make the most out of your downtime.
7) In-flight Exercises
Speaking of flying: as it turns out, and as any frequent business traveler probably suspects, sitting still at high altitude can harm your body. You need regular movement, especially in the thin air, to avoid blood clots and other harmful health effects.
Some small exercises can help you to keep moving even as you remain in your seat. Ankle lifts and rotations, muscle contractions, arm stretches, and neck rolls can all help your body without impacting or inconveniencing your fellow travelers.
8) Adjust Car Habits
If your business travel occurs via car, some steps can help you stay healthy and active during long drives. First, avoid treating your seat like a lounge chair at home. Instead, adjust it to approximate your office chair, which should help you maintain a healthy posture.
Other simple tips can help as well, such as emptying your back pockets to avoid tilting your hips to one side for long periods of time. Comfortable shoes, as well as healthy snacks, matter just as much as they do when you fly. Make frequent stops to get out and move a bit as you can.
This is not optional: if you want to stay healthy while traveling for business, you need to hydrate. The more electrolytes your body gets, the more likely it will be to survive and thrive in the course of your trip.
If you purchase water or other hydration drink after the security check, you can take it to the airplane with you to avoid relying on in-flight service. Your hotel room should also be stocked with water bottles so you can make sure you get enough to drink at all times. Try to avoid energy drinks or sugary drinks, as those can cause you to become sluggish and unproductive.
10) Avoid Stress Factors
Finally, it makes sense to avoid stress as much as possible during your travels. The more relaxed your body and mind are, the more likely you will be to stay healthy. Thorough planning is one way to take the stress off your mind, which includes booking the trip well ahead of time and planning out your spare time.
Take these steps, and your chances of staying healthy as a frequent business traveler increase drastically. Smart eating, exercise, and stress avoidance all play into that equation. The more strategic you are on your trips, the better for you and your health.