How many times have you packed your sneakers, gym clothes and iPod with only the best of intentions and then find by the end of your business trip you either feel guilty for not having used them, or worse, you regret bringing them all together because they added weight to your carry-on? For many road warriors, business travel means workouts either suffer or become non-existent. It is no wonder: When early client meetings and late-night dinners become the norm how can there possibly be any time for a workout?
While on a recent business trip, my colleague Janet seemed surprised when I told her I would be heading to the hotel gym before our 7:30am breakfast with our client. We had a late night and the 7:30 am meeting seemed early enough without the hotel workout. I don’t know why I felt compelled to launch into an explanation, but I did. In short, I told her that if I don’t exercise in the morning, then I don’t feel or operate my best, which ultimately means the client suffers. Once I finished my diatribe, she said she would be there as well…and she was. Later in the day, she thanked me…she felt great, even with the early wake-up call.
If you struggle with choosing between a workout and an extra half-hour of sleep, here’s why you might prioritize the hotel workout:
- Promotes Regularity: Business travel often comes with a disrupted digestive tract and things don’t necessarily move as freely as we’d like. Exercise helps to maintain proper bowel function and reduce constipation. Additionally, as a result of the unavoidable change to our diet or eating habits during travel, it is pretty common to experience gas. Exercise will help to alleviate or reduce this as well.
- Sustains Energy Levels: Travel can take a lot out of our systems and deplete our energy levels…especially when crossing multiple time zones. Exercising helps us to maintain our energy levels and stamina so that we can be productive, alert and effective.
- Promotes Weight Maintenance: Weight gain for business travelers is one of the biggest complaints I hear. And, if you are on the run a lot, the fancy dinners and lackluster food choices can really add up on the scale. If you indulge or find it difficult to stay healthy dining-out during the business trip, maintaining a travel workout while you are away will help you to “stay on track” so that you don’t have to work extra hard when you get home.
- Supports Sound Sleep: Just as exercise helps our energy levels, it also helps ensure a good night’s rest. As business travelers, getting a good night sleep is extremely difficult, yet extremely needed. Keeping up with a travel workout helps us maintain good sleep patterns and overall well being while we are away.
- Reduces Hangovers: Team dinners and client events often cause us to indulge in a few extra alcoholic beverages. Believe it or not, if you feel a little sluggish or even hung-over the day after a big night out, exercising will make you feel a lot better. You’ll sweat out the toxins, giving your body a leg up in the recovery process.
- Reduces Stress: Even when we travel for pleasure, the process can cause added stress. Whether we experience flight delays, long security lines or lengthy check-in processes, the stress easily mounts. Exercising will help you to decompress and manage the stress that builds up from your travel.
- Reduces Muscle Soreness: Business travelers are known for their carry-on. Who wants to wait for their checked bag when every minute counts? Carrying and lifting heavy luggage and computer bags, jostling through airports and navigating crowds, however, can cause pain and fatigue in your back, shoulders, neck and feet, just to name a few areas. Exercising helps stretch out sore muscles and release the tension that builds so that you ache a whole lot less.
So next time you contemplate skipping the gym as a result of a late night or an early breakfast meeting, think about the benefits you’ll reap.
Do you maintain your exercise regimen while traveling for business? What are your reasons for doing so?