Staying Healthy on Your Next Business Trip

shutterstock_53695795Business travel can be tough. You’re sitting on long flights, drinking too much coffee, suffering from jet lag and, not to mention, experiencing the stress of always “being on” and representing your company throughout your trip. It can all take a toll on your body and health.

In fact, researchers have found that business travel was linked to increased health risks including obesity, high blood pressure, and increased cholesterol. They also found that the more time people spent on the road for work, the greater those risks became.

Business travel by itself isn’t necessarily linked to these health issues. But the prolonged periods of inactivity, such as downtime at the airport or skipping the gym; decreased sleep from difficulty sleeping in different environments, late nights or time zone changes; elevated levels of stress; and dining out on bad foods, all add up to be the real problem with business travel.

Here are some measures you can take on your next business trip to make sure you stay healthy, sharp and refreshed.

On the airplane
When the flight attendant offers you a drink, choose water over soda and alcohol. You can also pick up a healthy snack in the airport before you board, like a pack of almonds, trail mix, or fruit. Avoid poor circulation from sitting for a long time by trying to get up and walk around at least once every two hours to keep your blood flowing.

At your hotel
Try squeezing in some time for physical activity. Find out if your hotel has a fitness facility. It will be easy to fit in time for exercise if you’re only an elevator ride away from the gym. If your hotel doesn’t have a fitness facility, ask if they have established a relationship with a club where hotel guests can go for free or pay a nominal fee. Or you can even squeeze in an exercise routine in your hotel room. Check your schedule for meetings and appointments to plan your workout time.

At a restaurant
When you’re out to eat for business lunches and dinners, try to employ the same healthy eating habits you have at home. When ordering your meal, ask for dressing on the side; request that your food be baked, broiled or grilled; load up on fresh steamed or lightly sautéed veggies; and stop eating when you’re full, regardless of whether there’s still food on your plate. If you’re dining at a chain restaurant, check out their nutritional information online to find out what your healthiest option is.

You should also try limiting alcohol, since it tends to be high in calories. Try sipping on club soda or diet-friendly choices like wine and light beer.

Before you leave
You can plan on staying healthy during business travel before you even leave. Visit your doctor about six weeks before you leave to see if you need any immunizations or vaccinations – some vaccines don’t reach their highest level of protection until about six weeks after you get the shot. If you’re due for any medical or dental checkups, try scheduling them before your trip. In case your doc does discover a problem, you’ll be prepared for your trip with medications you may need.

You should also find out if your current health insurance will cover a visit to a doctor while you’re in another country. If not, you might want to look into getting travel health insurance in case you do happen to get sick on your trip.

Overall, planning ahead and making good choices will help you stay healthy no matter where you have to travel for business. Doing so is the key to a successful and productive trip that might even be enjoyable too.

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