My job requires about seven weeks of travel a year. While that is relatively minor, it is still almost 15% of the year and too much to let good health and fitness habits lax. It is important to remember that work travel is not vacation. This can be hard when you do not have access to a kitchen, gym, or your regular routine.
Here are some tips that I use to try to stay focused on my health when traveling for work.
1. Water – I buy a large bottle of water at the airport and put my initials on the lid. I keep it with me and refill it throughout my travel. While it would be more earth friendly to bring my own bottle, I prefer not to drink from public fountains if it can be avoided. I do make every attempt to recycle the bottle that I buy.
2. Pack healthy snacks – Typically I carry a peeled and separated orange, some unsalted nuts and a bar that is made with natural ingredients and no added sugar on my travel day. This helps me avoid unhealthy choices as well as saves money. I am also prepared in case of flight delays or time zone changes that make you hungry at non-typical meal times.
3. Pack healthy snacks, part 2 – I always have snacks in my carry-on but also pack additional snacks in my packed luggage to last throughout my travel. Mini cans/pouches of tuna, dried apricots or dates, and additional healthy bars are my top choices. While often my meals are non-traditional I think about what I might need to fuel my body. Vegetables are typically easy to find but as a pescatarian, protein is not.
4. Come prepared if you like dessert – I have a definite sweet tooth. I pack individually bagged portions of m&m’s. They do not melt and they are a far better dessert choice than a 700 calorie piece of cake at a hotel restaurant. This also helps me avoid temptation when I am being served dessert at both lunch and dinner.
5. Limit alcohol – Most days I do not have any alcohol. If I do, I have a 2 drink or 300 calorie limit and drink extra water that day as well.
1. Stay Active on travel days – I consider the plane ride my time to sit. While at the airport, I try to take a walk or at least stand while waiting for my flight.
2. Be creative in regards to exercise – Often I have to modify from my typical workouts but I still fit in exercise every day. No gym? That’s an excuse! Too cold or unsafe to be outside? That’s an excuse too! In the past, I have done walking lunges and run laps in the convention meeting space, did mini workouts in my hotel room, got dizzy swimming laps in a little hotel pool, or climbed the stairs of the hotel for a workout. Not sure where to start? A simple internet search of “hotel room workouts” produced 1,370,000 results!
3. Reducing gear – I typically pack 1 workout outfit for every 3 days. I pack a mini bottle of Febreze and spray down my clothes after each workout. While ideally it would be great to wear a fresh outfit every day, that isn’t practical when traveling.
Sticking as close as possible to my normal routine makes the transition to traveling and back again that much easier. I find that I have more energy, am sick far less, and am better able to resist skipping workouts to sleep in or having extra snacks both while traveling and after.
Yours in Health!