“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.” – Lucius Annaeas Seneca, De Tranquillitate Amini, A.D60
I work with a lot of people trying to stay healthy on the road. Our whole team also works hard to maintain healthy lifestyles, so for our clients and for ourselves, we surveyed the state of healthy business traveling and found the best advice for you.
During business trips when there is a lot of stress, people often turn to traditional and quick “comfort” foods such as donuts, pizza, and ice cream. I really like macaroni and cheese J Unfortunately, these high-fat foods are usually the worst possible choices because they can make someone feel lethargic and less able to deal with the stress of travel and business decisions. Following is some web advise for travel eating.
USA Today has an 8 step plan for healthy eating:
- Pack healthy snacks
- Choose deli style meals at airports
- Skip pastries and donuts at meetings
- Avoid soft drinks at meetings
- Sandwiches, wraps and salads for lunches on the road
- Choose wine or low cal mixers for drinks
- Avoid mindless snacking at bars and in between meetings
- Simply prepared meals for dinner
Entrepreneur Magazine has 11 tips, including the following:
- Stay hydrated
- Stick to your regular eating schedule (have snacks on hand if needed)
- Look at the nutritional information on packaging and restaurant signs
- When possible, customized your meals with healthy substitutions (like whole grain bread)
- Order sauces on the side
Body Health Tips
Keep moving! One of the things I have realized is that mobility is the foundation of good physical health. We need to be uncompromising in this regard! My favorite coach is my smart watch’s “Time to stand Up!” notice. I get a little tap on the wrist – whether I’m sitting at a desk or sitting/ lying down on a flight. Recent trends like standing desks and yoga balls as chairs, etc demonstrate some of the creative ways to stay mobile, flexible and strong no matter what.
TheRealBuzz has some great exercise tips for before, during and after a flight. Including:
- Before take-off and before you board take a brisk walk. Exercise will invigorate you, help you de-stress and get the blood pumping around your body — which can reduce the risk of DVT.
- In the Air the key is to be as active as possible. You should try to get up and walk around whenever you can (ideally, about every 10 minutes) — but you can also do some exercise in your seat. Try the following routine every half an hour to maintain mobility:
- Alternate between clenching and relaxing your feet and toes.
- Contract and relax all your leg muscles.
- Make a ‘pedaling’ movement with your legs.
- Stretch your legs, arms and hands.
- Take some deep breaths.
- Gently stretch and rotate your neck
- Post Flight
- Get up and go!— Despite your in-flight mobility exercises, you will still have been confined for a long period during the flight — so as soon as possible, stride out in the airport terminal and get the blood flowing with a brisk walk.
- Stretch yourself— Cooped up in cramped conditions can leave you stiff and immobile. After your brisk walk, spend 10 minutes stretching the major muscle groups to help return your body to a more normal state. Flexibility exercises will make you feel loose, supple and light on your feet.
Focus on the Feet
I never ever compromise style for comfort, firmly believing that we can have it all. Beauty is as important as health. I also strongly believe that we should always weave leisure into our business travel. To that end, I’m always looking for shoes so I can maintain an active lifestyle in style. Heels that are flexible and sturdy enough to bike or walk to the next meeting and then continue to dinner with the locals.
I recently spent a few days in Lisbon, a city of cobblestone streets and hills where I learned a lot about having the right shoes! And strong yet flexible ankles…. My sandals quickly deteriorated but there were alternatives everywhere – all up to the challenge. I think the best bet is to go with something you would wear in Rome, Lisbon or Nantucket – Learn from the pros!
Shoes with Comfort and Style
Travel and Leisure offers some examples of shoes for many different situations. Some of my favorite:
- Stylish Slip-ons – if your business culture is more casual, this could be your one-pair option.
- Classic flats – for the flexibility to be dressier. You can dress these up or down
- Shoes for Athleisure – i.e lightweight on-trend sneakers – for your leisure jaunts after work/on the weekend.
- Shoes with a little lift
Exercises for the feet
Feet and ankles are often forgotten about when thinking about exercises but travel enough for business and you will quickly realize their importance. They don’t have to be sore at the end of a busy day.
Runners World has some workouts for strengthening feet and ankles. Some that I find to be particularly helpful
- Balancing on the wobble board. You can use a pillow in your hotel room and simply try balancing on one foot at a time.
- Toe Curls – just use a hand towel
- A foot roller – these are small and light weight and you can just leave it in your carry on so you can have them at the end of a long day.
Mind Health Tips
I recently started meditating in the mornings and have found it to make such a difference in my mood and concentration! The Mayo clinic considers mediation to be a simple, fast way to reduce stress and maintain health. Types of secular meditation include
- Guided meditation – there are many cool apps out there to help with this.
- Mantra Meditation – Originally a Buddhist or Hindu practice but you can create your mantra. A word repeated to aid in concentration.
- Mindfulness meditation – Concentration on the breath is one great way to do this.
- Qi Gong – great if want to be doing something while meditating
- Yoga – mind/body multi-tasking
We are happy to work with our clients to make their trips as beneficial to them as possible. Not only do we strive for efficiency and fun, but we love to give advice on healthy habits and keeping the mind vigorous! Blue Orange Travel is a full service travel agency for business mixed with pleasure. See it in color!