Staying healthy during business trips can be hard. Most business travelers have probably experienced the negative effects frequent business travel can have on our bodies, energy levels and overall health.
However, there are a few easy ways to avoid this and stay healthy no matter where you go.
In this article, we have compiled some practical tips to maintain your health and energy levels during business trips:
6 Tips to Stay Healthy During Business Trips
1. Stay hydrated during your travels!
Popping pills for headaches and fatigue has become an epidemic. Many of us choose to treat headaches and tiredness with medicines rather than resolve the underlying issue.
Dehydration is one of the main reasons for feeling tired and sluggish especially when we’re travelling. We avoid drinking water for fear of not finding a clean toilet when we need one.
Air travel tends to exacerbate dehydration.
Business travellers, especially on long haul flights, choose caffeinated drinks and alcohol instead of water. Alcohol is a well-known diuretic that makes you want to pee more frequently. Consequently, it worsens dehydration.
To avoid exhaustion and flight-related headaches, stay hydrated! If you’re worried about flight toilets and the germs they may house, pack some disinfecting wipes and a hand sanitiser in your cabin baggage.
Remember that dehydration can also worsen jet lag, leaving you tired and listless. Hard to make a memorable impression on your colleagues and clients when you have brain fatigue, right?
2. Make sure to get enough sleep
Business travel comes with a lot of perks. You get to visit new places, experience different cultures and even expand your professional network. But frequent business trips have downsides.
For instance, it’s not always easy going to bed on time when you’re away from home. Business trips often entail hectic schedules, client dinners and invitations to hang out with colleagues at bars after work.
We often find ourselves accepting these invitations for Fear of Missing Out. This can completely disrupt our routine and sleep patterns.
Sleep deprivation can result in low energy levels and cause various illnesses like hypertension, heart disease and even depression in the long run. That is why it’s important to get on a healthy sleep schedule especially during work-related trips.
If you find it difficult to get enough sleep on business trips, try to employ sleep apps like Sleep Cycle, Pillow or Sleep Score.
If you’re averse to using apps and technology, use good old-fashioned blackout shades, eye masks and comfortable beds to improve your sleep quality.
People who suffer from travel-related insomnia should also stay away from alcohol and caffeine and exercise regularly.
In addition, try to stop using laptops, mobile phones and tablets one hour before your bedtime. If you’re having trouble dissociating from the digital world, uninstall Instagram and Facebook.
REMEMBER: You may be able to pull off all-nighters when you’re young but it will gradually take a toll on your body and mind as you get older.
3. Cook your own meals on long trips
Cook your own meals! This is definitely one of those “easier said than done” things. Business trips often mean excitement, access to new restaurants, expense-account meals and room service temptations. These things almost always amount to unhealthy eating.
What’s the solution? If you’re on a long business trip of over a week or more, try to find a fully-furnished apartment or a serviced apartment instead of a hotel.
Unlike their predecessors, today’s travellers can choose furnished apartments that suit their lifestyle and convenience. There are rental service providers all over the world that offer furnished homes with fully functional kitchens.
This gives you the freedom to lead a normal life without too much disruption to your routine. Get a bag of groceries and make your own meals instead of eating out every single day.
4. Pack healthy and portable snacks on the go
During business trips, it’s normal to get the munchies (almost like you’re on weed!). You may be tempted to run to the nearest kiosk or 7-Eleven to grab a few bags of unhealthy snacks and a fizzy drink with high amounts of sugar.
Granted, it is extremely satisfying to wolf down a bag of cheetos or potato chips. There is nothing wrong with it. The occasional indulgence is fine. Just don’t make a habit of it.
In addition to cooking your own meals, try to pack healthy snacks.
Healthy and portable snack options for business travellers include:
5. Exercise frequently!
Exercise is crucial for your health and well-being. It’s not always easy to find motivation to hit the gym on business trips. However, your health and energy levels will improve drastically if you incorporate some exercise into your business travel lifestyle.
If possible, look for gyms and sports clubs which offer day-passes and short-term subscriptions.
6. Take care of your digestive health!
Healthy gut equals healthy body and healthy mind. Although we don’t give it the importance it deserves, gut health is one of the most crucial elements of a healthy body.
Research shows that many business travellers struggle with digestive issues, especially when they don’t have regular meals at work and compensate by having large meals at restaurants night after night.
How do we resolve this? At the end of the day, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to gut health. People have different bodies and different nutritional needs. That being said, the following tips may help you improve gut health in the long run:
- Try to have smaller meals instead of 3 large meals. It will have a positive effect on your metabolism and curb frequent snacking.
- Yoghurt, kimchi, kefir, kombucha and sauerkraut are great for your gut. Naturally fermented foods are garnering a lot of attention from health experts and for good reason.
- Incorporate bone broth into your daily meal plan. Many health professionals swear by it. Bone broth contains copious amounts of collagen that has anti-inflammatory properties and nourishes the stomach lining
- Eat less sugar! Sugar is actually your arch nemesis and one of the biggest threats to your gut health. While good bacteria improves your gut and reduces inflammation, sugar feeds bad bacteria and helps them thrive. If you’re in the habit of snacking on foods loaded with refined sugar, phase it out gradually.
- Avoid smoking. Smoking affects your gut health as well as your heart and lungs. It contributes to many disorders like heartburn, stomach ulcers and GERD. It also weakens your pyloric sphincter over time.
- Ditch artificially sweetened sodas and go for healthy alternatives like coconut water, green tea or sparkling water.
No matter where you go and how frequently you travel, following at least some of these tips will help maintain your health and some semblance of normalcy.