Traveling for business can be difficult, with abnormal travel times, busy schedules, and jet lag. Not only are you dealing with the usual pain points of travel, you have the added pressure of making a good impression in front of colleagues and clients. You barely have time to sleep, let alone think about where you can find a healthy meal or sneak in a quick workout. Research has shown that employees who travel extensively for work are at an increased risk of physical and mental health issues due to the chronic stress it can cause. Therefore, it has become incredibly important for business travelers to make their health a priority while away. To ensure you’re nourishing your body and mind during business travel, here are a few beneficial tips to help you focus on staying healthy during business travel:
To stay healthy and energized during business travel, it is important to drink plenty of water. Dehydration should be taken seriously as it significantly impacts our ability to think and function, and we become more susceptible to bacteria and viruses. As a rule of thumb, most experts recommend consuming 8 ounces of water per hour on a flight and 1 ounce for every pound of body weight during the day. To ensure you are getting enough fluids, take an empty water bottle with you, ideally one with a built-in filter. This way you’re able to fill up anywhere and remain hydrated throughout the day. It can be particularly helpful after airport security. Once on the plane, ask for water in addition to other beverages you order. Hotel rooms are typically stocked with water bottles, so have a drink before bed and as soon as you wake up.
It can be tempting to overindulge while traveling, especially since most of your meals are on-the-go or at a restaurant. It is unlikely you will be cooking any of your own food. If you know you’re going out for a big meal, eat light in the daytime. Try to choose a lean protein, an extra serving of vegetables, and if you order dessert, avoid the alcohol. And don’t be afraid to ask for a healthy alternative.
When you’re on the go, there are not always healthy options available, especially in airport terminals and hotels. Choices are typically limited to fast-food chains and kiosks stocked with potato chips and candy bars. These type of snacks may temporarily satisfy hunger, but will quickly deplete your energy levels. To avoid these situations, it is smart to prepare your own healthy snacks for your trip. Pack a sandwich or some fruit before heading out and skip the airport food. Mixed nuts and protein bars are great ideas since they don’t expire after an extended period of time and can be thrown in your carry-on bag for convenience.
On business trips, social functions are often times scheduled into the agenda and can linger late into the evening. While having a drink or two with clients may not be detrimental, too much alcohol can wreak havoc on maintaining your healthy lifestyle. Not only do the calories from alcoholic beverages add up, but it can cause dehydration, interrupted sleep, and make you less productive overall. To combat this, alternate alcoholic drinks with a glass of water. Or simply have a seltzer with lime.
Get Adequate Sleep
The impact sleep has on our health is undeniable but getting enough of it during a business trip can be tricky. Whether it’s the early morning flight, time zone changes or late night engagements with clients, you’re almost guaranteed to fall behind on sleep. It is important to keep a routine as much as possible. Commit to going to bed when you return to your hotel room rather than catching up on emails. And while you’re in the air, give yourself some down time to rest. Invest in a good eye mask and neck pillow, and take the window seat when possible to avoid having your sleep interrupted.
Even with a full day planned, it’s important to squeeze in a 30-minute workout to stay energized and keep your mood elevated. Most hotels have a gym or you can ask reception for a local gym recommendation that offers a daily-pass or free introduction workout. If you enjoy running, there is no better way to get outdoors and explore a new city than on foot. If you’re extremely tight on time, a few simple exercises in your room such as lunges, squats and push-ups, can go a long way.
Get Back on Track
If you indulged a little too much or skipped a workout, it’s ok. The key is to get back on track at the next opportunity so you can maintain your overall health and fitness goals.
Frequent business travel can easily hinder your attempt to follow a healthy lifestyle, but committing to making smart choices will greatly benefit you in the long run. Always try to take advantage of your company’s health and wellness programs. Healthy business travel is also the responsibility of your employer, so ensure that you have the necessary tools and support you need. Since travel will continue to be an important component of business activity, we encourage you to stay healthy while doing so.
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