There are many challenges to those of us trying to stay healthy and fit. One I encountered recently was a business trip to the East Coast.
Eating well and exercise are hard enough when you’re home; being away from home makes it that much more difficult.
When you’re traveling, you eat in restaurants, sleep in a different bed and your routine is changed.
And when you’re on a different time zone, you also have body clock adjustments that deplete your energy levels.
Here are some things that I found useful during my five-day trip that helped keep me on course to continued fitness.
• Adjust your schedule. I made sure to adjust my running and workout schedule because of the long journey to the East Coast. Instead of my usual day off – Friday – I switched my rest day to Monday, which was a full day of travel. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to squeeze in a workout that day, so I altered my schedule to make things work. Planning is a key component of fitness and health. Planning out your schedule ahead of time helps you avoid missing workouts.
• Keep stress in check. Travel can be stressful, so it’s imperative to keep things in perspective. The trip to and from North Carolina had its frustrations. First, a huge traffic jam on the freeway led to us miss our early flight. There was a time when I would have been really upset about this. But I remained calm and went with the flow. We were put on the next flight and were on our way. Because we were late to check in for the next flight, my bag didn’t arrive with my flight. I had to make a trip back to the airport late at night to get it. Again, I tried to keep things in perspective and not stress about it. The stress of travel can lead to unhealthy choices, such as skipping a workout or eating poorly. I was mindful of this and kept my stress in check.
• Make good eating choices. Restaurants are rife with bad options. Our hotel had a breakfast buffet that was included in the price, so we went there every morning. They had an omelet station, all-you-can-eat bacon and sausage … it was tempting. But I stuck to my healthful eating and made good choices. I opted for yogurt and fruit, a ham and cheese omelet and some oatmeal. I was proud of myself that I stayed away from the bacon!
• Snack wisely. Making smart snack choices is critical, especially in the workplace. During our training sessions, I had a banana, a yogurt, some almonds and a few pieces of chocolate. I avoided the muffins, the chips and the other not-so-healthy snacks that we were offered.
• Do work out. Our training sessions began at 9 a.m. every morning, so getting my runs in required some early wake-up calls. It was worth it. There were a few times where I considered sleeping in, but getting my workout in early in the morning made me more energetic as I headed to the long days of training. There are easy ways to get your exercise in while traveling, as most hotels now include fitness centers. During my trip I even did some push-ups and planks in the hotel room.
• Go easy on the alcohol. Because this was a work trip, I was mindful of not overdoing the alcohol. I had a glass of wine at dinner and that was about it. While others were finishing their night at the hotel lobby bar, I opted for a cup of hot chocolate. It made for a better night’s sleep and more energy in the morning.
What do you do to make healthful choices while traveling? I’d love to hear your ideas and maybe feature them in a future column. Email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.