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6 Tips for Staying Healthy During a Work Trip

Healthy eating.

Business trips can come with some fun perks, like traveling to a new location and a getting to spend time outside the office. But long hours on the road, shaking hands with new people, and the temptations of unhealthy food can also put a strain on your immune system. Add in the stresses of a difficult client or packed conference schedule and you’ve got a recipe for exhaustion. These are some tips to stay healthy and rested on your next work trip:

1. Stay hydrated on the plane. Humidity on airplanes hovers around 10-20%, which means air in the airplane cabin is even dryer than the Sahara Desert. For every hour you’re in the air, the Aerospace Medical Association recommends drinking eight ounces of water. If possible, skip airplane snacks like pretzels, which are high in salt, and bring your own snacks like an apple or banana. A small saline nasal spray may also reduce your risk of a headache after the flight, and a small bottle of lotion can help your skin from drying out.

2. Prioritize a daily workout. Business travel requires traveling light, so carrying around a full suitcase of exercise equipment is likely out of the question. If your hotel does not include a gym, you can still find opportunities to incorporate light exercise into the day. Free exercise apps like Nike Training Club include short, 15-minute core workouts you can do from your hotel room, no equipment required. If you can, pack a versatile pair of athletic shoes and go for a walk or jog in a nearby park. Some cities and hotels now offer bike share systems. If the weather is nice, skip the Uber and bike to your first meeting or morning coffee.

3. Choose healthy snacks. When you’re on the go, packaged and processed snacks can seem like a quick, satisfying solution. Unfortunately, these snacks are often packed with sodium, unhealthy fats, and added sugars, leaving you hungry and dealing with an energy crash. When possible, pack your own healthy snacks like unsalted almonds, raw veggies, Greek yogurt, or whole grain crackers.

4. Add movement into your day. Sitting for long hours in an indoor conference or client meeting can leave you feeling sore, stiff and de-energized. If possible, stand up and walk around the room for a few minutes every hour to get the blood flowing. Consider shaking up your routine and inviting the team to take a “walking meeting” in a nearby park rather than sitting around the conference table. Exposure to fresh air and nature lowers stress and helps the mind to relax, clearing the way for creative thinking and innovative ideas.

5. Beware the endless food buffet. From French fries to pasta dishes, buffet meals may include tempting foods you do not normally indulge in. When possible, opt for healthier food preparations, like "baked," “roasted” or “steamed” rather than “fried.” Watch out for heavy cream sauces on pasta dishes, ask for the dressing on the side for salads, and skip dessert offerings like cookies, brownies and candy.

6. Know when to call it a night. When we’re tired, our bodies may be more susceptible to infection. Minor colds and coughs could be symptoms that you need to slow down and rest. While late-night networking can make it more difficult to stick to your normal schedule, don’t be afraid to call it a night when you need to rest. You’ll be in better shape for the next morning’s agenda.

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