Traveling...? Read these 3 simple health tips to help implement a healthier trip!
Traveling for business (or traveling on vacation, for that matter) can wreak havoc on your waistline and your mood. Even business travelers who follow a strict workout and diet regimen at home often struggle with fatigue and weight gain while on the road. By the time you factor in jet lag, long meetings, and on-the-go eating options, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with maintaining your health while you’re away from home on business. In fact, a study by Columbia University discovered those who travel more than two weeks each month reported higher BMIs and “poorer self-rated health” than their non-traveling coworkers. But don’t give up hope just yet, because staying healthy as a business traveler is as simple as knowing what to expect, and spending a few extra minutes prepping for your trip by implementing these 3 simple health tips. 1. Get a Good Night’s Sleep Countless studies have been conducted over the past decade showing the enormous impact of getting less than 6 hours of sleep. According to researchers, the effects of reduced sleep during business travel sometimes leads to: Reductions in efficiency and productivity Increased levels of stress Lack of concentration and poor memory Trouble staying awake during the day To overcome the struggles of sleeplessness, you have a few options at your disposal, with the first of these being adherence to your normal sleeping schedule (if meetings and the time zone you’re in allow for it). Other tried-and-true methods are: Exercise. 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise improves sleep quality by 65 percent. Keep tech to a minimum. The light from your computer, smartphone and tablet suppresses your natural sleep functions. Bring along bits of home. You may be comfortably At Home Anywhere, but having your favorite pillow or sleepwear really can help you sleep better. 2. Make Time for Workouts When you’re out of your normal day-to-day routine, it’s not uncommon for exercise to get set aside for a night of watching television or winding down on the couch with high-calorie snacks. Yet, exercise during business travel is often more important than at any other time, because it not only ensures a better sleep cycle, but it’s also been shown to reduce stress and improve your mood. When you’re traveling for business, here are some great ways to make sure you’re getting a great workout: Use the on-site gym. Most corporate housing units offer specials such as free gyms that are open at all hours to accommodate travelers’ busy schedules. Go for a swim. Even if a gym isn’t available, pools are a great option for getting in some cardiovascular exercise. Do body-weight exercises. If you prefer the comfort of your furnished apartment’s living room, you can do sit-ups, push-ups, yoga and other body-weight exercises before or after your work day. Get to know the area. A walk or brisk jog around the area you’re visiting is great for cardio as well as for seeing what other fun places you can visit during your stay. 3. Maintain Your Diet Whenever Possible Between heavy meals with clients and colleagues, happy hours that extend late into the evening and the ease of fast food, keeping your diet intact during business travel is probably the most difficult way to stay healthy. But even if you do indulge a bit while you’re away, there are a few simple techniques you can use to avoid weight gain and keep yourself energized. Pass on the fast food breakfast. It may taste great, but fast food is loaded with sodium, fat and preservatives that can quickly add a few pounds over the course of a week or two. a. Select healthy breakfast alternatives such as yogurt, fresh fruit and cereals that are high in fiber to stay sharp and keep your digestive system working at peak efficiency. Avoid lunches that lack nutrients. Conference and client lunches usually involve a menu heavy in delicious but decadent foods that can put you into an afternoon “food coma”. Give yourself a second wind at lunchtime by choosing a salad or a healthy sandwich on whole-wheat bread instead of a high-calorie, high-fat meal. Don’t overdo the alcohol or caffeine. Coffee is a great pick-me-up in the morning, but it shouldn’t be the only liquid you’re getting throughout the day. Alcohol, too, is appealing when you’re out with colleagues or clients, but might leave you dehydrated and lethargic the next day. You won’t have to give up either one, but make sure you’re also drinking water in between your cups of coffee and cocktails. That way you can stay perked up during the day, have a good time in the evening, and still be ready for everything taking place the rest of the week. Bonus: If you already know you’ll be missing out on many of the healthy snacks you usually have at home and you don’t have time to cook healthy meals in your furnished apartment every day, bring enough multivitamins with you to supplement your business trip meals. Staying healthy while you’re traveling for business doesn’t have to be a challenge. With a little preparation and discipline, you can still sample some great food and enjoy the area nightlife without it affecting your health and well-being.