Healthy Travel Hacks For Business Travelers
A lot of my friends think it’s glamorous when they hear I travel the world for work. One week I might be in Seoul or New York. The next week, San Francisco or London.
But most people don’t realize how hard it is for business travelers to stay healthy when you’re eating bad airport food, sitting for hours on a plane and sleeping in a different city with early morning wake-up calls.
I recently read a report in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine that found business travelers have a 92 percent higher chance of being overweight compared to non-business travelers. The research also said that it only takes two weeks of business travel to gain weight.
As the CEO of a health tech company, I can’t tell customers to get healthy if I don’t represent it in my own life. My health is a representation of our company brand. Today, I’m proud to say I weigh a healthy 165 pounds on a 5’9” frame.
I’m in better shape at 37 years old than I ever was in my twenties. But it wasn’t always like that.
Several years ago, I was a part of those business traveler statistics until my doctor told me I had to lose weight. He woke me up when he said my life depended on it. Along the way, I discovered five healthy travel hacks that have changed the way I stay healthy. Here’s a closer look at those health hacks I live by on the road.
Walk 10 minutes after every meal: I like to practice what I call a “walk & talk meeting” after every meal. Most business travelers already live on the phone. Why not schedule that meeting time after you eat and conduct a business call while on a walk? This “walk & talk” hack gives me time to exercise without it feeling like work. It also gives my body time to digest the food. I also make sure I always wear walk-ready dress shoes that come with a cushion for extensive walking. The more barriers you can prevent, the more likely you will practice this hack.
See Related: Airports with Walking Paths
Adjust my sleep schedule in advance: Sleep deprivation alters the hormones that regulate hunger and appetite, causing you to eat more at night. I always try to adjust my internal clock to my future city before I arrive. For example, if I’m traveling from NYC to Tokyo — and it’s nighttime in Tokyo — I take melatonin (4 mg) to fall asleep on the flight and adjust my body’s internal clock. I also travel on an empty stomach. I’ve found traveling on a full stomach delays my body clock from adjusting to local time. Both of these hacks help your internal clock adjust before jet lag sets in.
See Related: 5 Tips to Avoid Jet Lag
Schedule exercise time when others are asleep – and make sure you sweat: Business travelers frequently prioritize meetings over exercise, but this will never happen in the early morning. This hack is not easy but after a few weeks of practicing it, you will find it easier to exercise when others are asleep. And when you do exercise, make sure you sweat. Many people exercise for 30 minutes but they don’t break a sweat. Business travelers don’t have this luxury. You need to get that heart pumping and the body sweating. Interval training is my exercise hack. I sweat in the shortest amount of time.
See Related: How To Find Time To Exercise During Business Travel
Monitor caloric intake: You can never outrun a bad diet. Monitoring your caloric intake is the most important health hack you can apply in life. I use Noom to monitor the calories I burn and consume. By manually entering the food and drinks I consume, I subconsciously become more aware of the calories I’m consuming. This hack requires you to be mindful of what you eat. Noom keeps my caloric intake in perspective and makes me more mindful of the foods I choose to eat. The app’s coaches also give me a personalized plan, and give me a nudge when I begin to slack. For example, let’s say I go out to eat and have a big dinner with a business partner that exceeds my daily calorie budget – steak, wine, and cake. The next day, my coach will help me adjust my caloric intake for that day. Noom helps me become more mindful of what I eat.
Take additional vitamins and supplements – and drink more water: Many business travelers underestimate the value of vitamins and hydration. My personal favorites are: Vitamin B, C and D. Medical journals show these three vitamins keep us healthy. It’s not really a hack, but staying hydrated is also crucial for business travelers, which will help with the energy needed for exercise.
See Related: The Secret Ingredient to Healthy Travel
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