In a world where global connectivity is the norm, business trips often become a routine. The typical frequent flyer, on average, undertakes an astounding 10 to 20 trips per year. Maintaining your health during these trips can be challenging, but with the right habits, you can keep fit, active, and healthy.
Physical Fitness: Move More, Sit Less
Constant travel often translates to prolonged sitting during flights and meetings, leading to sedentary habits. Many studies have shown that prolonged sedentary time could lead to increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and other long-term health conditions. Both the British Heart Foundation and the American Heart Association strongly recommend avoiding long periods of inactivity.
To mitigate these risks, travellers need to make movement a priority. Choose to walk over using the escalator or moving walkway when possible, and opt for a quick jog or a workout at your hotel’s gym. Portable exercise equipment, such as resistance bands, can also be handy. Some hotels even offer exercise equipment right in your room, such as Hilton’s “Five Feet to Fitness” initiative, which provides in-room training zones and workout equipment.
You could also find low-impact body weight exercise videos online giving you the chance to keep healthy and active within the confines of your hotel room, without needing to bang about and potentially disturb other guests. There are even workout videos on YouTube specifically designed for noise-free hotel room exercising!
Nutrition: Make Smart Food Choices
The hectic schedule of business travel might push you towards quick, convenient, and often unhealthy food choices. We all enjoy convenience food and like anything, in moderation this isn’t a problem, however it’s easy to get carried away. Over time a poor diet can lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other long term health complaints.
A great way to keep on top of a healthier eating regime is to plan your meals ahead, or purposefully choose restaurants with healthy options. Opt for whole grains, lean proteins, fruits and vegetables instead of processed foods.
Of course plane food isn’t always the finest quality (though if you’re lucky enough to be flying business class with a luxury carrier fine dining isn’t quite so hard to come across) but you can still avoid the worst excesses in favour of more wholesome options. There’s almost always a fresh fruit option after all!
Hydration is key, too. The dry cabin air can lead to dehydration, making it essential to drink water regularly during flights. And of course no matter how much complimentary bubbly might be on offer, drinking too much alcohol on a flight is almost always a bad idea. Wine or beer with your meal is perfectly acceptable but try to avoid falling into the trap of taking up the flight crew’s offers to keep your glass topped up at all times.
Sleep: Prioritise Quality Rest
According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Unfortunately, jet lag and irregular schedules will inevitably disrupt sleep patterns for frequent flyers.
Use the top traveller’s tools at your disposal like sleep masks, earplugs and neck pillows to make your flight more comfortable. Also, adjusting your schedule to suit your destination time zone a few days before departure can help mitigate jet lag, if you’re able to do so.
Obviously your company travel policy or own budget might dictate the class you need to travel in but when flying long-haul if you know you need to arrive refreshed and ready to go, with minimal turn around time, the premium you pay for a business class suite with lie-flat bed can be worth its weight in gold. Nobody performs at their best if they haven’t slept well!
Mental Health: Reduce Stress and Practice Mindfulness
Regular travel can lead to increased stress levels and anxiety. A 2017 study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine demonstrated that business travel can negatively impact mental health due to the strain and disruption of routines.
Practicing mindfulness through meditation, deep breathing or yoga can help manage stress levels. Apps like Headspace, Waking Up or Calm offer quick, guided mindfulness sessions you can do anywhere to help restore your mental wellbeing.
Regular Health Checkups: Stay on Top of Your Health
Frequent travellers are at an increased risk of certain health conditions. Regular health checkups allow for early detection and treatment. Consider getting vaccinated if you are traveling to areas with specific health risks.
A Balanced Lifestyle for Business Travellers
While business travel comes with its own set of challenges, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is achievable with the right habits. Incorporate regular physical activity, nutritious food choices, quality sleep, stress management techniques and routine health checks into your travel routine to stay fit, active, and healthy on your business trips.
Remember, maintaining health and wellness isn’t just for when you’re at home; it’s a commitment to yourself that travels with you wherever you go.