When you’re traveling for business, it can be easy to forget about your health. Even if you’re the kind of business leader who goes for jogs in the morning, and you plan your meals in advance, a change in schedule can throw your ordinary habits out of whack. And if you’re flying for long hours, or adapting to a different time zone, you’re going to have to deal with additional problems like jet lag and dehydration. Being a business leader is inherently busy, coming up with new strategies like using eChecks to pay your employees and spending hours checking in on your social media presence. Add that to travel, and your health habits are suddenly not so great.
Luckily, there are some great strategies you can use to stay healthy while on the road (or in the air). It’s all about finding creative ways to establish healthy habits during a busy time–and here’s how.
Don’t fly too early
The last thing you want is to arrive at your destination exhausted, on only a few hours of sleep, totally stressed out before having to give a presentation or meet an important business partner. Even though early flights are often cheaper, the price you have to pay is huge if you have to wake up several hours before a 7 am flight. There’s so much stress from the very beginning, with pressure to wake up at an unusual time so that you don’t miss your flight (and having packed all the right things, too), and no matter how many cups of coffee you drink, you’ll still feel terrible.
Considering that in May 2018, the airline on-time arrival rate was 79.4 percent, you have a pretty high chance of missing your flight or getting your suit sweaty from running to get to the gate. Pay the extra amount; it’s worth it, especially if you’re dealing with jet lag later on.
When we’re traveling, it’s too easy to forget to drink water. Gin and tonics on the flight don’t really count. According to Food & Wine, “[T]he average beer has somewhere in the neighborhood of three to seven percent alcohol content in every 12-ounce serving, while a five-ounce glass of wine could have as much as 14 percent alcohol content. A single, one-and-a-half-ounce shot of liquor could contain up to a whopping 70 percent of alcohol content.” So instead of drinking, if you have a fear of flying, find some meditation strategies or talk to a professional about possible medications.
In part, it’s hard to stay hydrated because of airlines’ requirement that you fly with small amounts of liquid. But there’s an easy solution: a large, unfilled water bottle that you refill at the airport. We recommend drinking what you can before the flight because it can get tiresome to ask flight attendants for water over and over. And when you arrive, don’t forget to rehydrate, too.
Write down what you eat
When we’re traveling, we often find ourselves in front of a McDonald’s, not necessarily wanting to order anything there, but knowing that there isn’t any other option in an airport or train station where all the other shops are closed. Sometimes, eating unhealthy things while traveling is something you’re forced to do. And if you’re traveling for business, people you’re meeting might expect you drink a lot with them (which means empty calories), or you won’t be able to stay no to a large dinner that’s carb-heavy.
By writing down what you eat, this gives you a little extra control. That way, you can have more control when you’re making your own meals at the hotel, or go out on your own to explore the city you’re traveling in. Considering that worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975, taking some time to make sure you’re getting enough greens and eating well is a good idea. If you think you might have trouble, use an app to help you keep track.
Schedule time for exercise
Finally, it’s smart to take some time to exercise. If you’re in a new city, go for a walk; any cardio exercise can help stop metabolic syndrome, as well as having many other health benefits such as greater focus and an uplifted mood. If you think you might not have much time, think of downloading an app that will coach you to get your heart pumped in twenty minutes, doing body-weight exercises.
These are some of the best ways to stay healthy while you’re traveling, even if you’re busy almost the whole time. What other strategies do you use to stay healthy as a business leader?