Written by: Vanessa Werner, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
In today's fast-paced corporate world, business trips have become an indispensable aspect of professional life. Particularly in the aftermath of the pandemic, work-related trips have staged a comeback. Reestablishing face-to-face interactions with business partners not only provides a sense of human connection but also plays a pivotal role in cultivating stronger relationships with colleagues. While it can be exciting to visit new places, get to know new cultures, and meet clients or colleagues, it often comes with its own set of challenges. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle during business trips can be tough, as the change in routine, long hours, and constant dining out can take a toll on your well-being.
However, with some careful planning and mindful choices, you can ensure that your business trips do not compromise your health. In this article, we'll explore eight healthy travel tips, offering insights to help you maintain optimal well-being during your professional journeys. By incorporating these practices, you can ensure a return from your journey both professionally and physically refreshed.
1. Plan ahead
The key to a successful business trip, both professionally and health-wise, is to plan ahead. Before you leave, research your destination. Find out about healthy dining options, locate nearby exercise facilities, and pinpoint local parks where you can go for a run or walk. Transform extended waiting periods, such as those before boarding or during train travel, into productive research sessions. Opting for accommodations with a fitness center or proximity to these amenities can make a significant difference and knowing your options in advance will enable you to make better choices during your trip.
2. Pack healthy snacks
During extended trips, business travelers don't have the time to sit down and enjoy a healthy meal at all times. The rush may lead to the temptation of opting for a croissant, grabbing a candy, or engage in some other type of snack.
Fortunately, you can prevent this habit by packing the right way. Nutritious snacks like nuts, granola bars, energy balls, and dried fruits can save you from making unhealthy food choices while on the go. Having a stash of healthy snacks will help you resist the temptation of sugary or processed snacks.
3. Check hotel fitness options
Do not only look for the most comfortable hotels at your destination but instead search for hotels with convenient fitness opportunities. Opting for a hotel situated within a 10 to 15-minute walk from your workplace presents the opportunity to accumulate steps by walking instead of relying on taxis.
Many such accommodations provide complimentary access to fitness centers or gyms for guests. You might also find (indoor) pools that allow you to swim early in the morning before you have your first business meeting. Runners might even appreciate a hotel close to green space for their early morning run. In case the chosen hotel lacks fitness amenities, you can still maintain a workout routine using a bodyweight exercise plan—an excellent option for a quick and effective workout within the confines of your hotel room (a practice embraced by all my Feel Your Power clients during their business trips).
4. Choose healthy meal options
On extended business trips, especially with tight schedules, meals tend to be hectic or challenging to come by. However, in addition to packing healthy snacks, you can avoid much of the problem by pre-planning your meals while away from home. Look for restaurants that offer a variety of nutritious dishes, and try to incorporate a balance of vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains into your meals. Avoid overindulging in heavy or fried foods. Communicate your dietary preferences to hosts, ensuring they are aware of your eating habits, especially during shared dinners or when placing food orders. This proactive approach can contribute to a more seamless integration of healthy eating habits into your routine during the business trip.
5. Prioritize sleep
Studies have proven that sleep is one of the most critical variables in staying healthy. If you don't get enough of it or rest during irregular hours, your immune system will weaken, and you will become more likely to catch a sickness along with several potentially devastating long-term effects.
A well-rested mind and body are essential for your productivity and health during business trips. (also see: here) Ensure you get enough sleep by adhering to a regular sleep schedule, even when you're traveling in different time zones. Avoid working late into the night; instead, allocate specific hours for work and leisure. You could also use earplugs, an eye mask, and a white noise app to create a sleep-friendly environment in your hotel room. While optimizing your limited time is crucial, it's equally important to allocate moments for breaks, recognizing that prioritizing your body's needs is a fundamental responsibility.
6. Maintain An exercise routine
Even if your schedule is packed, make time for exercise! It's acceptable to trim down your routine, but eliminating it entirely is not advisable. Use the hotel gym, go for a run, or do a quick bodyweight workout in your room (even though using the hotel gym might not be possible). Exercise not only helps you stay in shape but also boosts your mood and energy levels and can help you reduce stress.
Speaking of flying: sitting still at high altitude can harm your body. Therefore, you need regular movement, especially in the thin air, to avoid blood clots and other harmful health effects.
Some small exercises can help you to keep moving even as you remain in your seat. Ankle lifts and rotations, muscle contractions, arm stretches, and neck rolls can all help your body without impacting or inconveniencing your fellow travelers.
7. Stay hydrated
Dehydration can lead to fatigue and decreased cognitive function, which is the last thing you need during a business trip. Carry a reusable water bottle and make an effort to drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially if you're in a dry or air-conditioned environment. Avoid excessive caffeine or alcohol consumption, as they can dehydrate your body. Try also to avoid energy drinks or sugary drinks, as those can cause you to become sluggish and unproductive.
8. Avoid stress factors
Business trips often come with high-pressure situations, so it's crucial to find ways to manage and reduce stress. The more relaxed your body and mind are, the more likely you will be to stay healthy. Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or mindfulness to stay calm and focused. Don't forget to take short breaks to clear your mind during your busy day. Instead of opting for action or horror movies during your flight or downtime in the hotel, consider listening to soothing music or engaging in a guided meditation journey for a more serene and rejuvenating experience. (also see: here)
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle during business trips is not always easy, but it is essential for your well-being and productivity. With proper planning and a commitment to making healthy choices, you can successfully navigate the challenges that come with travel. By following these eight healthy travel tips, you can stay on top of your game and return from your business trips feeling energized and ready to conquer your professional goals. Don't let the demands of travel compromise your health; instead, make it an opportunity to prioritize self-care and balance in your journey toward success.
Small steps often produce big results. That's why I believe incorporating minor adjustments during business trips is more effective than attempting to revert to your regular routine afterward—typically an approach that proves challenging. If you are seeking additional support, explore my website and reach out here.
Together, we can identify the optimal solution tailored to your needs.
Vanessa Werner, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Vanessa Werner is a distinguished leader in the fields of fitness and nutrition, known for her ability to develop strategies that seamlessly align ambitious life goals with her management career. Over the past two decades, she has leveraged her expertise to guide over 200 individuals and leadership teams helping them increase their energy levels, strength, and balance. Her signature program, "Feel Your Power", empowers purpose-driven leaders to discover their body as a beautiful powerhouse, creating a solid foundation for their authentic and contemporary approach to (self) leadership. Vanessa resides in Germany and southern France with her husband, dogs and horses, living her career and life to the fullest.