Staying Healthy on The Road
Weighing in on Business Travel Road Warriors
By Christie Macartney
Travelling for work can wreak havoc on your health. Job pressures, the travel itinerary, dealing with different time zones, travel changes, and blowing off steam from tough meetings can be overwhelming.
The very words “travel” and business invokes images of high-powered suits, laptops, cell phones, crossing the country for training seminars, conferences and most of all, clients. Have you ever heard this one, “You’ll take the red-eye, go straight to a 7 am meeting and then…?”
According to the US Travel Association in 2012, 33 percent of domestic business trips included air travel compared to just 11 percent of leisure trips. Nearly eight in ten (79%) leisure trips were by car compared to less than half (48%) of business trips.
Usually the last thing on anyone’s mind during travel is a workout or giving attention to good, clean nutrition. Unfortunately, the food on airlines remains subpar but it’s getting somewhat better. Oh and then the time to exercise, when can that be done with early wake up calls, meeting and a plane to catch or a long drive back home. Is it realistic to think the working road warrior can survive and lead a healthy lifestyle too? Damn right!
Access to healthy nutrition options, a fitness centre and support from employers is good business. More and more employees are looking to companies that care.
Regular work travel is linked to loss of fitness, weight gain as well as depressive disorders. It is often confirmed in scientific studies that a healthier member of staff is a lot more effective, along with incredibly strong links of staff fitness and health to the company’s net profit. Yet, many businesses are disregarding the impact of business travel on their employees’ overall health. A good option for corporate gifts possibly? On the other hand, a travelling employee’s healthy lifestyle will mean improved job fulfillment, better performance as well as over-all much better mind and body. Today’s employees are looking for something more from the company’s they work for. Quality of life is starting to take president.
What strategies for any business traveller can be applied now?
Firstly, a change in mindset is essential because avoidance or procrastination are the true reasons some people won’t get started. Why? Most people get over whelmed with all the information online with respect to a training routine and how to eat. Additionally, all the diets, nutrition myths and the latest trend of “what not to eat” is very confusing.
5 Steps To Get Started Today
1. Bring your gym gear and use the fitness centre provided in the hotel where you can access personal training session, fitness classes, yoga, swimming pool, hotel running programs, walk around the perimeter of the hotel or inside garden areas. Ask your booking agent to call ahead to get info on gyms in the area. A simple workout doesn’t have to involve much equipment. Jumping Jacks, Jump rope, push-ups, lunges, squats and other exercises can be done with just body weight. A yoga mat, light weight cross training shoes, resistance bands and light weights are a great start as well. Light stretching is a great way to end the day and ease into a good sleep.
Some hotels have agreements which allow hotel guests to access local gyms for free or a nominal fee. Ask when you check-in (or make your reservation with the concierge). Or, you can often find a coupon for a free trial membership at a local gym. Depending on the weather and time of day, you might be able to find a local park or school that has a running track. Some also have workout stations which guide you through a reasonable workout. A workout DVD and a laptop works well too. Please consult a physician before starting any physical routine.
2. Eating Right on the fly can be difficult especially in foreign countries if you are not used to the cuisine. Avoid eating heavily, focus on lots of vegetables, fruits, lean proteins and try not to go “overboard” on carbohydrates like pasta, bread, cakes and processed foods which can make you feel bloated or tired. Limit alcohol and caffeine which can be dehydrating. One drink in the air can feel like two on the ground if you are flying. Stock up on water and herbal teas to help maintain energy.
For food, I like to stay at hotels that at least have dorm size refrigerators and microwaves. That way I can stop by a grocery store and pick up a few things to make meals. Rotisserie chicken is fairly healthy and yield multiple meals and stock up on fruits, cut veggies and assorted nuts. This will prevent you from stopping for fast food when you’re traveling in a car. It will help reduce temptation if you are traveling in a plane on which calorie-laden snacks like cookies, crackers and soda are being served. I always bring along meal replacement shakes, protein bars and supplements to keep on track with my health regime. My go to product is Isagenix. www.christiemacartney.isagenix.com or contact me for additional nutritional guidance at www.christiemacartney.com
3. Get your sleep and take cat naps when you can. Healthy travel requires plenty of rest and sleep. Get a hotel room at least two floors away from all the parties, elevators, and ice machines. Ice machines are noisy and adjacent rooms are affected. Bring your own pillow if business travel takes you away for more than 7 days. I promise you will thank me.
4. A few tips for maintaining a healthy back: Luggage with wheels is better than one big one to lug around. A good piece of carry-on luggage should have enough space for all of your clothes and be able to withstand an occasional mad dash to the terminal or better than that, call a porter. Good Housekeeping Magazine rated The Briggs & Riley Transcend 24″ Expandable Upright ($300) the most “durable”. It was the only bag to earn perfect scores on durability, acing water resistance and abrasion tests and taking rough handling with ease.
5. An important tip while travelling is to wash your hands frequently and avoid others who are sick. Bring along your essential medications for the “just in case scenario. If you do get sick, don’t panic. Rest, take your medications and it will likely pass in a day or two. Take time to relax and read or watch an in-room movie. Upon your return your co-workers will appreciate your not spreading any illness to them.
6. Remember to do a little bit of work while you are away. A few days can mean that a pile is growing on your desk, and the fear of falling behind can add to the stress of any trip. Before you leave for a trip, try to be as up to date as possible, and keep pace with email messages and other work related tasks as much as possible while traveling. It’s not home, but it can be close.
7. Travel stress can have a major impact on your health. Take the time to bring some items that help with relaxation. Being away from home can throw you out of your comfort zone, off your “schedule”, so be sure to bring a little bit of home with you, and get at least a little bit of relaxation that you (presumably) get at home. That can mean bringing a book, music, a journal or even a hobby. Stay connected to friends and family if trips are longer than a week. There are many forms of media that can help you remain connected so your aren’t disconnect and feeling lonely. If you have time on your trip, bring a camera and visit some interesting sites. Lastly, meditations help to disconnect and reconnect to ease the pressure on your shoulders. Remember to breathe…
I understand that time may be an issue or something else will come up to derail your health. However, I encourage you to make some adjustments. Catching the “red-eye” to get home early sounds good when you book your ticket but it takes a toll on the body. The jet-lag-induced energy buster shows up and it’s clearly marked on a business traveler’s face. Bags under the eyes, pale skin and the belly overhang.
Select a few of the suggestions. It doesn’t cost much to set yourself up for healthier habits, but the long term impact of not doing anything will be much worse. And I know what your mother or father would say if they knew you weren’t taking care of your health.
About Christie Macartney
Christie is a health and anti-aging coach, who specializes in helping women look substantially younger. She is the founder of Take Flight Into Your Life Coaching Program, which is advertised as a foolproof system for helping women to look 10 to 15 years younger. She is the host of Health Talk – a popular web-cast on health and wellness, and has over 15 years of experience in the health and wellness industry.
Christie devotes her life to teaching wellness to people around the world! The people that study with her become personal advocates for their own health, and they-can learn to design a life that is focused on positive health choices and habits. It is her mission to show people how to design long-term, results-producing strategies for living a high-quality life.
To get in touch with Christie Macartney connect here: www.christiemacartney.com