Traveling for work can be stressful and unpredictable. You may be at the mercy of a daunting conference schedule, less than ideal weather, or a demanding client. On top of all of that, how are you expected to stick to a meaningful exercise routine?
If left unchecked, bad habits that form during business travel can seriously impact your quality of life and the productivity of your work trip.
It can be easy to view business trips as "cheat days" and allow yourself to slack on your regular fitness regimen and diet, but in most cases, you will be more productive on your business trip if you find a way to be active.
Fortunately, there are creative exercise options for business travelers that go beyond the traditional hotel gym workout. Below we explore our top five tips for maintaining your fitness routine while on the go.
1. Stay active while you commute.
For someone who is always on the go, incorporating light physical activity into your commute will help offset the detrimental effects of sitting for long periods of time, as well as provide structure to your fitness routine. For example, those expecting a layover on a flight can plan ahead by packing their walking shoes and walking laps around the terminal.
Another simple solution is to take the stairs over the elevator whenever you get the chance. If you're expecting a long layover, see if there is a gym near the airport and try to get in a quick workout or group class, or go for a quick jog around a local park.
Once you've reached your destination, small changes in your daily activity can make a big difference. If you're traveling to a city and are fortunate enough to find a place to stay downtown or in an active neighborhood, take advantage! Walk to meetings when you can. Get out and explore the city.
2. Use what you have.
Don't overcomplicate things. Business travel usually requires traveling light, which means carting around exercise equipment probably won't be a sustainable option.
So be flexible. Incorporate bodyweight exercises you can do in your hotel room, such as crunches, pushups, or yoga, into your routine.
If there are trails or a park near your lodging, go for a walk or a jog. If your hotel has a swimming pool, swim some laps. Or rent a bicycle (many cities now have some form of user-friendly bike rental system).
3. Prioritize your workout.
Make time for your workout routine, whatever that may entail. Ideally, you should work out around the same time every day, even while traveling. Working out in the morning is typically recommended, as it allows you to clear your mind before you start the day, but you will be most likely to succeed if you tailor your workout to your schedule.
Also, technology is your friend. There are plenty of excellent apps that can help keep your fitness routine on track. These range from simple pedometers that encourage you to meet your daily step goals to apps that provide personalized daily routines and push reminders.
4. Start right away.
Once you've settled in after a long flight or train ride, it can be difficult to find the motivation to do anything other than relaxing.
Make things easy on yourself by packing your exercise clothes in luggage that's easy to access, such as a carry-on, or wearing them during your commute if you can. This way, you are dressed and ready to exercise as soon as you reach your destination.
5. Take care of your body.
When we're outside of our normal environment, it can be easy to forget that the same rules apply as they do back home. Staying active requires maintaining a diet that makes you ready to work out.
Eat right, drink plenty of water, and go to sleep at a reasonable hour, even while traveling. To make it easier on yourself, buy groceries when you can to decrease the temptation to eat out for every meal.
Go easy on the after-work drinks. If you simply can't avoid going out or you just want to blow off some steam, order wisely.
Although these strategies may feel like sacrifices at first, they will be worth it in the long run. Your body will thank you, and you will be fresh for your meeting the next day.