Tips for Staying Fit on the Road

No matter how dedicated you are to staying fit, business travel can make it difficult to maintain your exercise regimen. Here are a few tips for overcoming obstacles such as long flights and long hours spent in airports and meetings.

At home, before you go. Start by planning ahead. If all you have is a vague sense that “I’ll get some exercise in,” chances are it won’t happen. Take a few minutes to research the fitness options at or near your destination.

Next, pack smart. Bring along these travel-workout essentials:

  • Athletic, running, or walking shoes
  • Exercise clothes
  • Swimsuit
  • Music and headphones
  • Exercise video or CD

Other sensible options include a pair of light weights for upper, mid-, and lower-body workouts and an exercise tube or band for resistance training. Keeping a workout bag packed with these items will go a long way toward ensuring that you actually use them while you’re on the road.

At the airport. How many hours do you spend waiting for flights? Instead of sitting down, glued to your laptop, why not get up and get moving? Most airports are large enough to give you a solid workout in a single lap around the terminal. Wear a pair of athletic shoes while in transit and make the most of those inevitable layover times. Bonus points: Avoid moving sidewalks and escalators.

In the air. We all know that sitting for long periods of time isn’t good for our health. When you book your flight, opt for an aisle seat. This will make it easier for you to stand up and stretch frequently. Walk the aisle a couple of times during the flight. While seated, flex your leg muscles, ankles, and calves. Every bit helps.

At the hotel. Wherever you’re staying, it’s likely your hotel has some kind of gym on-site. If not, check with the concierge about fitness centers nearby. Some facilities are better than others, of course, but you find you have access to top-of-the-line training and workout machines if you take a look. You could also go for a swim in the pool. In any case, devise an exercise schedule — and stick to it.

In your room. Remember that exercise DVD you packed with your workout gear? Now is the time to use it. Other ideas: Plan one 10-minute yoga routine when you wake up and another at the end of the day. Walk briskly up and down the hallways of the hotel and climb the stairs between floors.

On the job. Unless your sales meeting is being led by Attila the Hun, chances are you’ll get several breaks throughout the day. This is not the time to slather cream cheese on an onion bagel. Instead, step into the lobby or adjoining conference room and stretch. Gently rolling your neck, twisting your upper torso, contracting your abdominal muscles, even just standing up — all of these activities get your blood flowing and keep you alert for the next round of sitting and talking.

In your free time. If you plan wisely, you can find time to explore the area around your hotel. Ask the concierge about safe parks or trails nearby. Find out what the locals do for exercise (running, swimming, etc.) and join them. Take advantage of your new surroundings, and remember — have fun.

About Lee Polevoi

Lee Polevoi is an award-winning freelance copywriter and editor and a former Senior Writer for Vistage International, a global membership organization of chief executive officers. He writes frequently on issues and challenges faced by U.S. small businesses.
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