Health Tips For Business Travelers

Health Tips For Business Travelers


Airport Travel via Jnpet on WikicommonsIf your job demands that you travel a lot, it can make it hard to keep on top of your healthy routine. Sometimes, a little disruption may be unavoidable, but if you’re smart, you can minimize the negative consequences of business trips.

Don’t Make Excuses, Get Exercise

Sure, there are plenty of reasons you could give for not getting in your daily routine, but none of them are valid. There’s pretty much always time and space for exercise.

In Transit: Always wear exercise shoes for the plane trip. When you’re in the airport, don’t just sit down and zone out with your smartphone. (Sure, you say you’re working, but with the exception of answering a vital email, the odds are you’re not getting quality work done.) Instead, take the time to walk. If you’ve got a long layover, see if the airport has a gym and showers you can use–many do.

At the Hotel: Book a hotel that has a pool and/or gym. If it’s convenient to exercise, you’re more likely to do it. If your hotel doesn’t have a gym, pack a resistance band. Between that and improvising a little, you can get a full workout in your hotel room. You can also walk up and down the halls and become a stairmaster.

Targets of Opportunity: If the weather is decent, walk to all your meetings. Eschew the elevators and escalators to take the stairs. Ask at the Santa Ana hotel about parks or walking paths nearby that are safe and convenient. Getting your exercise outside will also help you get vitamin D, boost your mood, and help you sleep (see below).

Business Lunches Are Not for Binging

When you’re traveling, there are dozens of daily temptations that can wreck your diet, but there are also strategies you can use to avoid them or minimize their damage.

In Transit: Pack your own snacks for the trip. Not only are airplane snacks and meals usually expensive, they’re often laden with fat, salt, and sugar. Whole grain snacks contain protein, lots of fiber, and complex carbohydrates that can stimulate the release of serotonin, helping you feel relaxed when traveling. Avoid sodas and fruit juices on the plane, as well as caffeine. Opt for water as your drink. If you need flavor in your drink, try bringing some dried coconut milk that can be dissolved in water.

Breakfast: Doughnuts are a big temptation for business travelers. They’re easy to pick up and eat on the go, plus they go with coffee. If your hotel has a breakfast, don’t let yourself get tempted by the doughnuts. Instead, try some plain yoghurt, if they have it. Otherwise, try some skim milk, peanut butter toast, and an apple.

Business Meals: When eating at a business meal, follow the same strategies you use at home to stay healthy. Get dressing on the side of your salad, cut large burgers in half, and remember that you don’t have to eat everything on your plate. Don’t worry about wasting food if you don’t have a mini fridge in the hotel room: it’s just as much a waste if you eat it and it’s turned into fat in your body (or maybe even more so).

Cocktail Meetings: If you’re a teetotaller, you can get away without drinking at meetings held in the bar, but otherwise, drinking is still considered part of the business culture. Alcohol contains a lot of calories, though (not to mention the sleeping problems and dehydration that can come with too much drinking), so it’s best to be moderate. Try to count on drinks when planning your calorie budget for the day, but if you’re looking to trim calories, stick to wine, light beer, and straight alcohol (or mix with club soda, water, or lime or lemon juice).

Get Quality Sleep When You Can’t Get Quantity (or Vice Versa)

Getting enough rest is essential to your well-being. Not getting rest will lead to increased stress, decreased performance, and can impair your metabolism, leading to weight gain.

In Transit: You need to know yourself. If you can sleep on the plane, it’s okay to schedule an early or late flight, but if that doesn’t work for you, don’t sacrifice sleep. Use sunglasses or a sleeping mask to increase darkness and make it easier to sleep if necessary. Some foods contain melatonin, which can help you sleep. Some examples are dried cherries, almonds, tomato juice, and ginger. (Candied ginger is also good for helping to settle your stomach if you get motion sickness.)

Reset Your Clock: When you get to your destination, try hard to reset your clock. You can start before you leave by shifting your bedtime appropriately, but when you want to set your internal clock to local time, your best tool is getting outside and getting sun. Light is probably the most important cue for establishing your circadian rhythm. If you can’t get in the sun, try turning on all the lights in your hotel room in the morning.

At the Hotel: Try to maintain the same routine at the hotel as you follow at home. This can help signal your body that it’s time to sleep. If you have a white noise generator at home, transition to using an app on your phone, then use that in your hotel room. Although it’s tempting and they set it up that way, don’t watch TV in bed. Watch TV and work on your laptop from the table or desk.

Watch What You Drink: Alcohol can make you feel sleepy, but it actually leads to poorer quality sleep, so try not to drink too much, and give yourself time to clear alcohol from your system before going to bed (allow about an hour per drink after you stop drinking). A late afternoon latte may seem like a perfect pick-me-up to help you get through the meetings, but remember that caffeine can impair your ability to sleep, even if consumed six hours before bedtime.

If You Haven’t Got Your Health . . .

Remember to prioritize keeping healthy when you’re traveling for business. Most business trips, it’s important to operate at an optimal level, and falling off the wagon of your health routine can really knock you for a loop.

Keeping to your health routine will ensure you’re in the best shape possible to close the deal.

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Dr. Matthew B. Candelaria (PhD, U of Kansas 2006) is a seasoned traveler, having visited more than 20 countries and 30 US states in many different configurations. He has been on a book tour, taken a European tour, and now enjoys traveling with his kids, who are remarkably good travelers.

Holiday Inn Santa Ana OC
2726 S Grand Ave
Santa Ana, CA 92705


2726 S Grand Ave
Santa Ana, CA 92705
Phone: 714-481-6300
Alt Phone: 1-800-972-2576

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