How to Prioritize Working Out While on a Business Trip

July 4, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Traveling can suck the life out of you. While it may seem crazy to think about adding something else to your seemingly already-too-full schedule while you’re on a business trip, choosing to pound the pavement or hit the gym or find your zen really can help. Exercise can restore focus, alleviate stress, boost your endorphins, and improve your sleep. Motivated now? Okay, here are a few ways to incorporate working out into those days away from home.

Plan ahead. If you’re already in the habit of working out and want to maintain your routine, the solution is simple: adjust your schedule and make the time. It may mean getting up 30 minutes earlier and making space in your luggage for your running shoes, but putting it on the calendar will give you a better shot at actually following through than if you just think you’ll fit it in “at some point.”

People jogging in Frankfurt am Mein. Could be on a business trip, or they could just live there. We don't know.

Jogging is a great way to work out on a business trip. All you need are your running shoes and workout clothes.

If you aren’t a regular exerciser, there’s no time like the present to seize the opportunities that present themselves. Let’s start at the airport. Walking between security and your gate instead of taking the train will help you stretch your legs and increase your heart rate without sweating. Those moving sidewalks can be walked on too, but don’t look at your phone while doing so. Better yet, skip the moving sidewalk and count the extra steps. (Make sure you have a good step counter on your mobile phone to keep track.)

Once you arrive at your hotel, take the stairs to and from your room, and consider checking with the front desk for dining establishments within walking distance. You might even go one step further (pun intended) and choose the location of your hotel so that you can walk to your appointments.

If you belong to a gym at home, check its website to see if there’s a location in the city you’re visiting. You know those workout rooms you’ve seen signs for or walked past on your way somewhere in the hotel? Those places actually exist and would allow you to walk or run on a treadmill or pump your legs on a stationary bike.

Swimming is also great exercise, and a swimsuit and goggles don’t take up much room in your suitcase, and your workout is only limited by the pool’s hours of operation. Investigate options for joining a class at a local yoga studio or find a mobile website or app that will provide a stretching routine you can do on the floor in your hotel room. You can also take a travel-sized yoga mat, and some higher-end hotels even provide them for guests. Do this before bed to encourage your mind to let go and wind down for the day.

Working out requires intentionality and perseverance. To help you work toward the achievement of a health goal, think about signing up for a race or setting a few goals using a fitness tracker like Fitbit, Leaf, or Misfit Shine. As Nike has been urging for nearly 30 years now, just do it. Your trip will be healthier, feel more productive, and you won’t be upset you missed those days when you get back into your routine at home.

How do you prioritize working out on your business trip? Do you maintain your same discipline on the road that you do at home, or are those a few much-needed rest days? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Robert Strauss (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 2.0)

A Healthier Approach to Business Travel

June 27, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

While the stresses of business travel on the body and the mind have been well-documented, some of you may not be paying attention to some bad habits you’ve developed as a frequent traveler.

When we travel for business, we often look at the efficient use of our time as the benchmark to determine a trip’s success. But if you don’t factor in the extra time you spend preparing for those meetings, as well as the pressure you feel to make a great impression or close an important sale, you’re not putting yourself in the best situation to succeed.

What if, instead, you flew in a little earlier so you could give your body time to adjust to the time difference, or even experience a little down time? You might find that extra time refreshes you and reinvigorates your approach to the meeting at hand.

Hotel room in the Renaissance Columbus, OH

Be sure to get plenty of rest while you travel for business.

Prep time isn’t just completing a checklist to ensure you have everything you need before you leave. It’s psychological as well. If you don’t allow yourself the time necessary to prepare mentally — which includes getting sufficient rest — your preparation isn’t complete.

Further, when we travel, our eating discipline might also be challenged. There’s fast food whenever we need something quick, or large portions and rich foods at nicer restaurants. We’re often expected to wine and dine our clients and create an experience for them that communicates how much your employer values them.

If you go into that dinner without giving any thought to the effect the heavy food and alcohol intake will have on your body and your ability to sleep well, you’re also setting yourself up for a difficult morning after, when you’re under pressure to perform your best.

Stress, lack of adequate, restorative sleep, and poor eating all take their toll on business travelers. What if you decided to create a new game plan for your travel that would allow you to treat your body and mind well?

Consider factoring in more time to get from point A to point B, instead of creating a rushed pace. Be mindful of the prep time you need in order to function well. And do whatever you need to perform at your best. That may mean saying no to an unnecessary dinner out and working out at the hotel fitness center, or being careful about what you eat, knowing that sugar tends to stimulate the brain instead of calming it. If you have certain habits that calm your mind and center your soul at home, don’t neglect those practices while you’re traveling.

If you approach business travel with discipline and healthy habits to follow, you’ll be able to accomplish more and the recovery time afterward will decrease.

How do you travel for business? Do you maintain your same discipline on the road that you do at home, or is that a mini break and a special treat for yourself? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: David Jensen (Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)

The Health Risks of Longer Travel

June 22, 2017 by · 1 Comment 

While those who don’t travel for work envy those who do, those who really spend their weeks navigating airport terminals, car rental counters, and there’s-no-place-like-home uncomfortable hotel rooms can attest to its negative psychological, physical, and social effects. Aside from their road warrior stories, there is now real data that supports the negative impact of their travel.

According to the Harvard Business Review, there are now several scientific studies that corroborate these realities:

  • Those who travel frequently, particularly those doing long-haul travel (both in distance and time away from home), age more quickly.
  • Those who travel frequently are at increased risk of experiencing a stroke, heart attack, or deep-vein thrombosis.
  • A plane wing on a long-distance flight. Longer travel can have negative health effects if you're not careful.

  • Frequent travelers are exposed to unhealthy levels of germs and radiation. Yes, radiation. According to an article in the Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal, an annually published report that details for employers their human resources responsibilities, travelers who fly more than 85,000 miles per year are absorbing radiation levels that exceed regulatory exposure levels for the general public in most countries.
  • Frequent travel also affects the body through jet lag, stress, mood swings, sleep problems, digestive problems, as well as the well-documented effects of the lifestyle: lack of exercise, poor eating habits, and excessive alcohol consumption.

With all the technology at our fingertips to connect virtually, why then is business travel increasing? According to an article written by Marcus Holmes, co-director of the Social Science Research Methods Center at the College of William & Mary, face-to-face meetings have been proven to “increase rapport and empathy, facilitating cooperation and enhancing bonds between the parties.”

Boris Baltes at Wayne State University says research also shows that virtual communication actually decreases effectiveness between colleagues, increases the time it takes for work to be completed, and leaves team members generally feeling dissatisfied about the process. And a 2005 article in The Leadership Quarterly said leaders found it simpler to build and maintain high-performing teams with regular, physical contact with those reporting to them.

So, what’s the long-haul traveler to do to combat the effects of his or her work-related travel? The research strongly suggests developing a strong support system at home to counteract the negative impacts. Still, the fact remains that corporations are not addressing this concern internally, nor are they preparing their employees with the tools they need to withstand the stress of frequent travel.

That means you need to take care of it yourself. You’re worth it. Find time to rest on your trip, eat healthy food rather than junk or rich food, and be sure to take time to exercise, even if it’s just a short walk before dinner.

How do you maintain your health during business travel? Do you exercise and eat right, or do you go hard and use your time at home to recover? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Fuzz (Pixabay, Creative Commons 0)

One Thing That Makes Business Travel More Enjoyable

June 8, 2017 by · 1 Comment 

Over the last few years, we’ve written about how to cope with the rigors of business travel. We’ve documented the negative physical, psychological, and emotional stresses, and suggested ways to change your approach so that you are better prepared, not only to make the most of it, but to recover quickly after it. But it’s still travel, and those who travel even once a month know business travel can be rough.

But if your travel schedule exhausts you, imagine being John Greathouse, the start-up entrepreneur behind GoToMeeting and other successful new businesses. He shared in a Forbes article how he would travel without any margin for error or rest, often flying a red-eye to a foreign country to visit a client, only to arrive and go directly into a full day of meetings that didn’t end until after a late dinner.
Skyline of Paris, France at night. Imagine a business travel trip like this!
When he would arrive home, friends would ask him what he saw in well-known destinations such as Paris. He would proudly declare that he only saw the airport, the sites where he met his clients, the interior of cabs, and hotel rooms. He realized he was, a “proud, yet pathetic, road warrior.”

Although he made Herculean efforts to remain committed to his family — often flying overseas just for a weekend at home with his wife and kids — he realized he was sacrificing opportunities for the sake of doing business efficiently. He had visited dozens of countries and had no memories other than those related to work. He knew he had to change.

He found himself inspired to become a part-time tourist while on his business trips by taking a cue from professional surfer Shaun Tomson. As detailed in an article on inertia.com, Tomson was headed to Milwaukee, not exactly a surfing mecca, to share the themes of his book, The Code: The Power of “I Will”, with some corporate execs.

Here’s where Tomson’s approach diverted from Greathouse’s. Instead of trying to squeeze as much business from each city he visits, he asks himself, “What can I do to make this business trip more rewarding?”

For Tomson, that meant Googling “surf shops in Milwaukee” and contacting the shocked owner of Lake Effect Surf Shop, Jacob Bresette, and asking if he could stop by. That call resulted in an impromptu surfing outing in frigid waters with some fellow enthusiasts, and Tomson’s first experience with freshwater waves.

Tomson recounted, “The waves weren’t stellar, but it was still an epic session for me because the stoke level was off the charts. Here I was in Middle America, surfing with guys who brave frigid conditions to partake in the sport I love. They thanked me for stopping by, but the truth is, I was the one who felt honored.”

Greathouse has taken Tomson’s approach to heart and suggests others do too. When you plan your next business trip, remember that there’s more to experience there than the closing of a deal. Perhaps you could meet up with some people in that town who also share a hobby, or schedule some quiet moments of reflection and engagement with the beauty of a park or a museum. In Tomson’s case, his efforts also led to increased book sales and improving his personal brand. Plus, he got to have a little fun.

When your whole person is engaged in business travel, all aspects of it — even those related to the business you’re there to conduct — will be enriched.

How do you travel for business? Are you in and out as quickly as possible, or do you look for future experiences and memories? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Jim Trodel (Flikr, Creative Commons 2.0)

Study Finds People Who Vacation More Often Live Longer

July 20, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

What do coronary heart disease (CHD) and vacation have to do with one another? Nothing, you might think. But Dr. Brooks B. Gump and Dr. Karen A. Matthews studied 12,866 men between the ages of 35 and 59 with high risk for CHD for 10 years and proved otherwise.

It has now been scientifically established: going on vacation is good for your heart!

Hiking at highest peak in Kosova - Gjeravica. Now that's a healthy vacation!

Hiking at highest peak in Kosova, Gjeravica. That will certainly help your heart!

Gump and Matthews gave men questionnaires at their annual physicals that asked them to rate how they felt after going on vacation. Their research determined that vacations “reduce ongoing stressors,” “eliminate potential stressors and anticipated threats,” and “provide a unique opportunity for behaviors having restorative effects on anabolic physiological processes, such as social contact with family and friends (36–38) and physical activity (15), in the context of reduction of stress-initiated catabolic effects.”

The reason it took a scientific evidence to prove what we want to believe in our hearts to be true is that, in the American work culture, taking time off is seen as something “bad” employees do. If you think you haven’t succumbed to this mindset, ask yourself these questions:
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Want to Get Healthy? Travel More

May 4, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Would you like to grow your brain, have more energy, eliminate stress, and decrease your risk for a heart attack?

A British Airways 747 - coach cabinBelieve it or not, you can achieve all that if you just travel more. It seems too good to be true, but there are scientific studies to prove it.

How does travel grow your brain? Paul Nussbaum, a clinical neuropsychologist and adjunct professor of neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh, explains.

“When you expose your brain to an environment that’s novel and complex or new and difficult, the brain literally reacts,” he told the Chicago Tribune in 2014. That exposure causes the brain to sprout dendrites — dangling extensions — which Nussbaum said grow the brain’s capacity. Who doesn’t want a bigger brain?
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4 Health Travel Apps We’d Like to See

January 22, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

A recent article in Forbes Magazine by Robert Szczerba pointed out some rather gaping holes in the travel and health app world. They all relate to dealing with medical emergencies while traveling abroad. This is one aspect of travel many people overlook; they don’t think that a sudden ailment or accident will come up as they daydream about their glorious trip to Italy they’re taking next summer.

Unfortunately, accidents do happen. Being struck down by a car or strep throat is no fun at any time, but especially if you’re in a foreign country where you don’t understand the customs or language.

Here are four useful apps Szczerba suggested and we’d like to see.

English: High View Chinese Medical Clinic

High View Chinese Medical Clinic (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Find-A-Clinic could help you find the closest clinic or medical care facility that could help you with whatever medical situation you’re dealing with. It would even have a way to notify the facility you were on the way.

InsuranceAssure would interface with your insurance and let you know what is covered and what isn’t in real time instead of waiting several days. (This may take longer than the others, given that it isn’t always possible to get a straight answer from someone on the phone, but it would at least be a start.)

MedBox would guide you to find the nearest pharmacy that carries the over the counter or prescription drugs you need for the situation you find yourself in. We’re fairly close on this one, since you can use a barcode scanner to read the UPC code of the needed product. You can do that right now in the United States and a few other parts of the world, but you need to have the UPC code on hand.

HealthyFoodAnywhere can help you find the healthiest places to eat. This is useful for healthy eaters, of course, but it could also help those with health problems, such as diabetes or heart disease. The app could also be invaluable for people with food allergies or even people who choose to eat a specific type of diet, such as vegetarian.

Even if these apps are never developed, it’s a good idea to carry a list of your prescriptions, health problems, and any other key information a health care worker would need if you do become sick while traveling.

What health travel apps have you been using? What would you like to see someone create? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page or in the comments below.

Better Than Wrinkle Cream? Travel’s Anti-Aging Effect

July 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Here’s a sobering statistic: In a study of 2,300 American workers who get paid vacation, only 25 percent said they take advantage of every day they’re allowed. Sixty-one percent said they continued to work even while on vacation.

There are plenty of other blog posts — books, even — that could be written on American work culture and why we don’t take advantage of the benefits of our jobs. This blog post is a plea to consider traveling more.

Travel Keeps You Healthy

178.

(Photo credit: Deb Stgo)

Why? A recent article in the Dubai Chronicle documented the results of a survey several existing studies on leisure travel’s health effects and found that it actually boosts cognitive and cardiovascular health, particularly in middle-aged people or older.

One study, for example, followed women from 45 to 64 years old for 20 years; women in the study who took vacation twice a year were at much lower risk of having a heart attack or dying of a heart-related disease than those who traveled every six years.

If you’ve encountered significant delays and other frustrations during your travels, you may feel the exact opposite. But I think that to reap the anti-aging effects of travel, you have to flip the old adage around: It’s the destination, not the journey.

My Own Experience

I can personally attest to this, actually. My wife and I are fortunate enough to be able to travel to the Caribbean a fair amount, and it’s absolutely essential for helping us relax.

A big part of the relaxation for me is shaking up my routine and immersing myself in a totally different environment and culture, away from my everyday lifestyle. Vacation is an opportunity to shake yourself out of your deepest ruts.

I am, unfortunately, often part of that 61 percent of workers who continue to work while on vacation, but it’s for self-preservation. I go through my emails once a day and flag the important ones for my attention when I return. It only takes a few minutes and makes coming back to work the following week a lot less stressful.

I’d love to hear whether you connect with the findings of this survey. Do your vacations alleviate your stress levels? How do you cope with the stress of returning to a full inbox? Share your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.

Health Advice for Regular Air Travelers

January 12, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

If you fly often, you might feel yourself starting to get run down after a busy week of travel. It’s a lot harder to take care of yourself when you’re on the road…you don’t have all the familiar trappings of home: your bed, your kitchen, your gym.

But there are ways to stay active and healthy when you’re traveling. I should know — I’ve struggled with a lot of the same health concerns other frequent business travelers do: exercise and diet. Here are a few tips to help you live healthier on the go as a business traveler:

Exercise

I’m not talking about doing jumping jacks in the aisles or crunches in the lavatory. But there are plenty of ways to keep active during a busy day of travel beyond running from one delayed flight to another.

The security line is a great place to start: Do little stretches or neck rolls while you’re waiting to get through TSA. And before your flight, instead of sitting at the gate checking your BlackBerry, take a quick walk around the terminal if you have time.

Deep-vein thrombosis, also called “economy class syndrome,” can cause deadly blood clots in travelers on long flights. Keeping moving as much as possible — even in those cramped quarters of the airplane — will help you avoid things like this. When the captain turns off the “Fasten Seat Belts” light, use that freedom to move about the cabin. Even getting up to grab something from the overhead compartment or walking back to the lavatory makes an important difference.

Common culinary fruits.

You don’t have to eat all this stuff, but one or two pieces on the way to the airport would help. (Image via Wikipedia)

Diet

If you’re in a morning rush at the airport, even if the bulk of your meal is a Danish or huge cup of coffee, sneak in an apple, orange or banana at breakfast when you can — these are fairly easy to find in most airports. Same goes for salads at lunch. Adding in healthier options like fruits, vegetables and whole grains is more important than completely overhauling the way you eat when you travel. Nobody’s perfect!

If you find yourself hitting the airport convenience store on a regular basis for chips or candy bars, consider saving a little extra money and cutting unnecessary calories by keeping a little stock of granola bars, energy bars, fruit bars, or other healthy on-the-go snacks when a craving hits.

One final note: Planes are notoriously dry — with a humidity level of 10 to 20 percent, much lower than typical indoor humidity of 30 to 65 percent — and staying hydrated is so important. You may not be able to bring full bottles of water through security anymore, but there are ways around this. Bring an empty refillable bottle in your carry-on. Buy a bottle at the convenience store or terminal Starbucks. Ask for water instead of coffee or soda during your flight’s beverage service.

Tips For Traveling Healthy

December 17, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The last thing you want to do while traveling is get sick. Unfortunately, it’s easy to overexert yourself on the road, depleting your body’s natural defenses.

Plus, when you’re focused on the sights and sounds of a new destination, you often forego healthy practices such as getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, staying hydrated and maintaining a balanced diet.

Fear not, brave traveler. Here are some tips for staying healthy away from home:

Keep Your Hands Clean: Wash your hands often. And not only before eating, but after you’ve touched common items (like laptops, phones, iPods, etc.) which are breeding grounds for germs and viruses. Also use hand sanitizer and wet wipes regularly, especially if you’re unsure of the quality of the water.

Stay Hydrated: You not only expend more energy (which is dehydrating) when traveling, the airline’s pressurized cabins dry you out. Therefore, it’s critical that you drink enough water (bottled preferably) to replace the fluids your body is losing. Also, go easy on both alcohol and caffeinated drinks, which are diuretics and make you put out more than you take in.

Get Enough Rest: Despite the adrenaline rush, don’t ignore you body’s need to replenish itself with sleep. This can be difficult early in your trip due to jet lag (when you travel across multiple time zones, your body’s internal clock is not in sync with the destination time zone, making it difficult to sleep). Adapt to the local schedule immediately by eating meals and going to bed at the appropriate times.

Eat Properly: With the number of calories you burn while traveling, it’s important to get enough nutrients. But, be selective about what you consume, especially when traveling overseas.  Though the food you eat abroad isn’t necessarily unsafe, your body isn’t accustomed to it. This gastric unfamiliarity combined with the use of natural fertilizers abroad can lead to digestive difficulties.

Research your destination’s most popular restaurants through Trip Advisor, making sure to study the reader reviews closely. If praise for a given eatery is universal, chances are that international travelers aren’t getting sick from the entrees.

To minimize your risk of contracting any food-borne illnesses, be sure to:

  • Drink only bottled water, and avoid ice, unpasteurized milk, cheese and yogurt
  • Don’t eat raw or unpeeled foods. The foreign traveler’s rule of thumb is “Cook it, wash it, peel it, or forget it.”
  • Only eat condiments that come in sealed packages.
  • Order entrees “well done”, and send them back if they’re not served hot.
  • Use caution when ordering seafood, and steer clear of clams, mussels and oysters.

Don’t leave common sense at home when you travel. Your health depends on it.