Can you keep up your healthy and active lifestyle when you are constantly travelling for business? With all the jet lag, constant meals out and client events with a generous amount of alcohol, it seems like quite a challenge. Here’s some steps that will help you out.
You can set the wheels in motion right from the start when you plan and book your trip. The location of your accommodation can contribute massively to keeping fit and healthy. Select a hotel that is walking distance from the main city and areas you are likely to be meeting clients and colleagues. This can also save you money on transport so it’s a good way to kill two birds with one stone! It’s also worth checking if the hotel has any spa or gym facilities. Village Hotels is a good choice for this as they have a gym, spa, sauna and swimming pool across all 29 of their properties.
A spa to relax in will surely come in handy if you’re suffering from jet lag? Unfortunately, I’m sure many of you have experienced jet lag and it can’t be prevented, but there are steps you can take to minimise the effects. It’s easier to adjust to a time frame when you are travelling west so take more consideration when booking your flight times if you are travelling east.
The best way to prepare for jet lag is to adjust your body clock a few days before you travel by changing your sleeping pattern to an hour earlier or later each day. The more time zones you’re crossing, the more days you should allow to prepare your body clock. I put these steps in motion for a recent trip to New York. I definitely found it easier to adjust to their time frame, meaning I could enjoy my first few nights a lot more as I wasn’t falling asleep at the table.
A good way to cope with jet lag is good exposure to sunlight and drinking lots of water. Why not factor this into your fitness regime? Pack yourself a pair of trainers and some comfy clothes so you have the option to take some long walks or go for a gentle jog.
It’s hard to feel healthy and active when flying, especially on long-haul flights. Sitting down in one place for a long period of time is no good for your circulation. It’s important to keep moving when in the air, take a walk around the cabin every few hours or do some leg exercises in your seat.
It may be useful to walk to the back of the plane and get a top up of water. It’s easy for you to become dehydrated due to the low humidity levels so avoid drinking too much alcohol on board. The altitude will also make the alcohol go to your head quicker so it’s a lot better for your body to stick to water and other soft drinks on a flight.
Whilst food options on a flight can be limited, my experience of hotel breakfasts is quite the opposite. It’s easy to get blown away by the vast amounts of food at a buffet breakfast, you’re never short of options.
Is breakfast one of your favourite meals? I love breakfast and my day doesn’t start until I’ve eaten in the morning. You may feel the opposite and never think to have breakfast. The phrase ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’ is still relevant. If so, what should you eat to make it worth your while?
There's no specific meal combination you should have to ensure a healthy breakfast, but simply balance out your food. If you’re a porridge fan, this will give you a good source of wholegrain from the oats. Maybe you’re a scrambled egg and avocado fan? This gives you protein and healthy fats in one meal. Try out different foods to see what gives you a morning boost.
As your day passes by and you attend meeting after meeting, I’m sure you will find yourself feeling peckish and tempted by the tasty treats on the table? If you’re craving that sweet fix, there are many substitutes you can have that will keep you satisfied and healthy at the same time. Get yourself a juicy fruit compote, or take it a step further and can create your own fruit combos: peanut butter and banana, fig and almond butter or strawberries and macadamia butter. You could even add vegetables to your fruit for added nutrition, or grab some raw nuts and seeds for some protein.
A good accompaniment to these snacks is of course water. It’s easy to forget to stay hydrated when you’re on the move all the time, especially when you have client lunches and dinners with endless amounts of alcohol at the table. Indulging in the many bottles of wine seems like a good idea at the time, but you might regret it the next day. When ordering, there is nothing wrong with being the person who asks for a jug of tap water for the table.
This diet is easier to maintain on business trips within the UK and Europe but what if you are travelling further? Hong Kong and Mexico City are popular business travel destinations, but they have a very different cuisine to the UK and Europe. Don’t worry, you can still stay healthy no matter where you travel!
When it comes to the Chinese cuisine, you are better sticking to steamed foods such as dumplings and vegetables and it's best to choose steamed or boiled rice over noodles as they are not cooked in any sauce. Mexican dishes may seem slightly harder to keep healthy with all the cheese and dips. If you want to enjoy the best of Mexico at less calories, stick to soft tortillas over crunchy ones as these are baked instead of fried. You can still enjoy the ever famous burrito but substitute the meat for beans as you will eliminate calories and get some fibre too.
With all the dinners and meetings, it may be hard to find some spare time to focus on yourself. If you can free up an hour or two, you can definitely make it worthwhile to keep yourself productive and fit. If you were smart enough to pack those running trainers, do your own workout in your room at the hotel or go for a run outside.
Maybe you would rather explore the city? Cycling has been found to be the healthiest form of transport when exploring cities. It has a positive impact on your physical and mental health. If you aren’t a keen cyclist, then there is no need to worry as walking is the next most beneficial transport mode on business trips.
All of these steps sound simple enough to maintain but having the motivation to keep up that healthy lifestyle will make everything a lot easier. Be motivated, be productive, and be happy.