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Business travelers often let their health and fitness goals slide while traveling and sometimes catch illnesses while on a trip. You need to work long hours and adhere to hectic schedules while traveling, which often becomes an excuse not to follow healthy practices.
However, it is crucial to ensure that your mind and body stay healthy while working. For this, you need to plan ahead and make small changes to your trip routine. Even if it’s just packing some healthy snacks or planning to fit in a workout each day, these little changes can make a big difference in how you feel during and after your trip.
Here are a few business travel health tips that will help you stay productive while traveling.
People often use traveling as an opportunity to binge local snacks and try new cuisines. According to a survey, 44% of business professionals are more likely to eat unhealthy meals while traveling than they would at home. While you don’t need to follow a strict diet during traveling, it is still important to include nutritious food in your meals to stay healthy.
An important business travel health tip is incorporating protein into every meal to feel full for longer. This way, you won’t get hungry quickly and will be less likely to indulge in unhealthy, processed snacks. Also, instead of buying unhealthy junk food on the go, try pre-packing healthier snacks like sandwiches, fruits, and nuts.
When you wake up, your body requires nutrients to replenish itself after a long night’s sleep. However, It is difficult to eat meals timely when you are on a hectic schedule. Hence, you sometimes tend to skip breakfast when rushing for an early meeting or catching a flight. This can cause many problems, such as slower metabolism, food cravings, and overeating later in the day.
A vital business travel health tip is eating a nutritionally dense breakfast such as oatmeal, fruits, eggs, or other protein-packed options. If you are in a hurry, have a quick and easy meal like cornflakes and milk. This will give you the energy to focus on your business tasks for the day.
When traveling to a new place, you can be tempted to try out new dishes. However, you should avoid certain dishes, such as raw meats and seafood, which have a greater risk of causing food poisoning. These dishes are often undercooked and can harbor harmful bacteria like salmonella. It’s also wise to be cautious about the food you purchase from street vendors. The food may not have been properly washed and could be expired.
Frozen foods or prepacked perishables also have a greater chance of being contaminated by bacteria due to re-freezing and thawing them. In addition, you should also avoid unpasteurized dairy foods since food regulations vary from country to country.
Another business travel health tip is to stay away from buffet restaurants as the food usually sits out for a long time at room temperature before it’s served, which provides the perfect environment for bacteria to breed.
When traveling, make sure to always have a water bottle with you to stay hydrated. Dehydration can cause headaches, fatigue, and cramps, so drinking enough water is important. A report suggests that, on average, women and men should consume 2.7 liters and 3.7 liters of water, respectively. Staying hydrated also improves your sleep quality, cognitive functions, and mood.
Also, when looking to stay hydrated, it is easy to be drawn in by sugary drinks or alcohol. But you should avoid these as they can lead to excessive hunger and binging. Caffeine and alcohol can also cause dehydration, so it’s best to stick with water or drinks with low sugar content. Coconut water is a great alternative to replenish electrolytes and boost energy.
As a foreigner, drinking tap water makes you more susceptible to waterborne illness. This is because your immune system isn’t used to the bacteria in the water.
Therefore, it is recommended that you avoid drinking tap water, even if you are traveling to countries such as the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, or Singapore, where tap water is considered safe.
It is best to stick to sealed bottled water to maintain your business travel health. Also, avoid consuming ice because it might also be prepared from tap water.
Maintaining personal hygiene is essential to avoid catching contagious diseases such as colds and flu. When traveling, you are using shared spaces with thousands of other people. From escalator rails to public transport, you come in contact with surfaces that might be hotbeds for harmful germs.
Consequently, it is essential to wash your hands regularly before and after you come into contact with common surfaces. If you can’t wash your hands, sanitize them with an ethanol sanitizer. You can also bring a disinfectant spray to sanitize public objects.
Moreover, as a precaution, wear a mask and avoid touching your face. Your nose, mouth, and ears are inlets for germs on your hands. Also, keep your nails trimmed so that dirt and dust can’t accumulate underneath them. For overnight flights, bring your own travel pillows and blanket.
Traveling can sometimes expose us to new types of germs and bacteria that our immune system may not be used to fighting off. Moreover, hotel rooms are not always as clean as we would like them to be. This is why taking extra precautions when staying in one is important.
When you reach your room, sanitize objects often used, such as tables, handles, chairs, toilets, bathroom counters, and most importantly, your bed. Sanitize your luggage as well before you bring it inside.
It is also a good idea to wash any glasses or cups before you drink from them. Wear a different pair of slippers inside the room, so you are not bringing in any outside germs with your shoes. These business travel health tips can minimize your chances of falling sick while traveling.
Working out does more than just keep you physically healthy. It can also reduce stress and anxiety. In fact, working out during business travel can improve reaction time by 61%. This can help you make better decisions while managing your business. However, fitting workouts into the daily routine is challenging yet essential for people who travel frequently.
Hence, you should plan to include seamless workout sessions in your travel itinerary. For instance, you can book a hotel with a gym or close to one. If you don’t want to go to a gym, you can do bodyweight exercises in your hotel room.
You can book a hotel near a park for a morning run while on business trips. It is also recommended that you pack light workout equipment, such as sports shoes, jump rope, or resistance bands, to make the most of your time and stay fit.
If you don’t want to exercise while on a trip, don’t worry. You can increase your NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) by doing things like light walking, cooking, cleaning, and even shopping. These activities can add up and make a significant difference in your energy expenditure.
To increase your NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis), you need to make small changes to your business trip routine. For example, you can take the stairs instead of taking the elevator. Or, walk around instead of taking a cab when exploring the city. You can also walk to the store when you need groceries and walk to the restaurant instead of ordering food. Just 10 minutes of walking can help you burn almost 100 calories.
This business travel health tip allows you to stay active and healthy even when you don’t have time for a formal “workout.”
Sleep and Rest
Another business travel health tip is to get adequate sleep. Lack of sleep can be frustrating for business travelers. It significantly reduces your productivity by decreasing alertness and concentration.
Another phenomenon that causes a shift in the sleep cycle of travelers is jet lag. It is a condition where a person feels sleep deprived after traveling long distances across different time zones. It is usually accompanied by extreme tiredness and headache.
To have a productive business trip, try to get timely sleep. Carry noise-canceling headphones and eye masks if traveling on a long flight. Once you reach your destination, align your sleep schedule with local timings.
Furthermore, to have a sound sleep in your hotel room, avoid caffeine before your sleep time, close the blinds to create complete darkness, and put away your phone at least an hour before you plan to sleep.
Professionals can often feel stressed due to hectic schedules and heavy workloads. However, excessive stress can lead to headaches and stomach problems. It can also cause anxiety and depression in a few cases. Therefore, stress management is necessary while you are on a business trip.
There are many ways to reduce stress while traveling, but one of the best is by getting some physical activity. Exercise releases endorphins that improve your mood, so take a run or hit the gym when you’re stressed. If you don’t have time for a full workout, try meditating in your hotel room or in a nearby park.
Another way to reduce stress is to opt for an advanced travel management software tool that helps you manage your bookings and change your travel itinerary on the go. Hence, you can save a lot of time and effort in managing your travel and expense, reducing stress.
Medication and Supplements
As a business traveler, it is important to be prepared for unforeseen circumstances. You might get injured or catch a disease. In such cases, you can use an emergency kit until you get further help.
Your first aid kit should be equipped with everything you need to treat minor injuries and illnesses, such as band-aids, adhesive tapes, gauze, and ointments for cuts and bruises. Additionally, you can pack medicines in case you catch a cold, the flu, have allergies, or experience stomach illness. Being prepared helps you handle minor mishaps without having to run to the store or call a doctor.
When you travel for business, you might find yourself eating out more often than usual. Since restaurant meals might not give you all the nutrients your body needs, it’s a good idea to take a daily multivitamin tablet to make sure you’re getting all the essential vitamins. You can also take probiotics to ensure a healthy gut during your trip.
A few supplements can help give you a much-needed energy boost and make you more productive. For example, magnesium can improve your sleep quality, while zinc and vitamin C can help boost your immunity. It is a good idea to get a health checkup before traveling, so you only take the supplements your body needs and maintain your business travel health.
As a business traveler, it can be easy to lose track of your usual healthy habits when you’re on the go. However, you are accountable for your health and well-being while traveling. By keeping these few important business travel health tips in mind, you can ensure a productive business trip while staying healthy.
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