Business trips can be educational, for example, if you need to write a narrow-topic essay, on being useful and lucrative at the same time. They can also present problems when it comes to gaining weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle because your normal routine is disrupted. If you are a working traveler racking up some serious frequent flyer miles, here are a few things that you can do to stay in better shape and keep an eye on your health.
Keeping Fit When Traveling by Air
Air travel consists of a large amount of time waiting in airports followed by sitting in cramped quarters on long flights. Actions air travelers can take to improve their situation:
- When waiting for the plane, do not just sit in the gate area. Before the flight and during long layovers, walk the terminal. Some airports, like Minneapolis-St. Paul, mark the mileage. You do not need a measured track. 45-50 minutes at an even walking pace will result in three miles of heart-pumping aerobics.
- Be sure to pass the many food stands without stopping. Most of the stands at the airport sell sugary confections, bagged carbohydrates or cream-laced beverages. Eat a healthy meal and find other ways to pass the time, rather than cure the boredom by snacking.
- Although airlines are reducing meals and snacks during the flight, bypassing them altogether will save many calories. Peanuts, pretzels and other goodies add up, especially without any exercise. If you need to get your money’s worth, carry something healthier on the plane and stash the snacks for later.
- On the flight, stand up or move around in the seat as much as possible, without incurring the wrath of your seatmate or the flight attendants. Sleep if you can, and use the time later for exercise.
Keeping Fit when Traveling by Car
Riding in an automobile skips the layovers, but adds a lot of time sitting behind the wheel:
- Stop for breaks every two to three hours. Instead of sitting in the car, or hopping back behind the wheel after a trip to the restroom, take a brisk walk, as long as the area is safe. If you do not want to stray too far from the car, walk in circles around it. It is unlikely you will be seen by anyone you know at a rest stop.
- When stopping, avoid fast food or donut shops. Calories are the same in every state, and the boredom of driving can be assuaged by the radio or books on tape as easily as French fries. Plan ahead by carrying healthier food in the car, such as fruit in a soft sided cooler.
Deep Vein Thrombosis
In December 2016, I ended up in the hospital for several days due to a DVT (deep vein thrombosis) in my leg and two PE (pulmonary embolism) in my lungs. My treating physician told me that I was lucky to be alive. Scary to say the very least. One of the reasons this happened to me was due to the long hours I spent sitting at my desk and working on the blog and being online. I was lucky if I walked 800 steps a day and when I did decide to get outside and walk, the most I ever managed would be about 2,000 steps a day. DVT and PE are both life-threatening if not treated immediately.
If you lead a relatively active life when you are not traveling (such as an average of about 10,000 steps a day or more) then you already know the benefits of keeping physically active. When you’re on a business trip, however, keeping physically active during your travels can be difficult. If you are going to be on a flight that lasts longer than a couple of hours, be sure to get up and move around as you are able to. Compression socks can help when you are in a confined area as well and unable to move about frequently.
So remember, a healthy traveler is more likely to be alert and clear-headed, and have an edge as a savvy road warrior. Be that warrior and find healthy ways to keep moving, stay fit, and take care of the body you’ve been given so it will continue to take care of you.