Many fathers spend a lot of time on the road, or in the air. If you consistently have a surplus of frequent flier miles, or if your family knows you best by the back of your head, then there is some good news: you can stay healthy on business trips.
Certainly, temptations abound on business trips to sacrifice your healthy lifestyle. Sometimes, it is the local cuisine. Sometimes it is endless lunch and dinner meetings with clients. And often, the temptation after a long day to sink to the hotel bed and watch television seems overpowering.
The following tips for staying healthy while on the road for business come from seasoned "road-warriors" I interviewed. See if some of these ideas will help you keep your self in your prime, even when you are traveling.
1. Drink lots of water. This was the most often quoted recommendation by far from my road-warrior panel. Many complained about feeling dehydrated on planes. Most often recommended was bottled water - using a product with a label, and thus some responsibility of the bottler, gives some sense of quality and purity that may be uncertain in water from a tap.
2. Pack your own snacks. Relying on airplane food or airport snack counters is a poor idea for a health conscious traveler. Our experts recommend bringing your own low fat and healthier snacks like fresh vegetables, fruit, crackers and peanut butter, and bread sticks.
3. Stick to your schedule. If you are an early riser at home, get up early while you are on the road. If you combine the challenges of road work with a dramatic change in schedule, you will likely drag yourself around and find your energy levels at new lows.
4. Avoid alcohol. Many business travelers tend to drink more alcohol on the road than they typically would at home. Practice saying "no" to alcohol. It is becoming more and more acceptable and even fashionable to drink bottled water or fruit juices at a reception. Don't be afraid to ask.
5. Walk. Where possible, walk between appointments; take some time to sightsee on foot. Try using the stairs at your hotel instead of the elevator. Walking can be an excellent form of exercise, and the fresh air in many cities will do you good.
6. Workout. Most hotels catering to business travelers will have either an in-house fitness facility or one nearby that will offer free or discounted services. Bring some workout clothes with you and plan to use them. As an alternative, one of our panelists recommended bringing a jump rope with you in your suitcase, or put some hand-weights in your carry-on. Another panelist carried his running clothes and shoes in his carry-on luggage so he could run at the airport on layovers or when flights were delayed. One more recommendation: find a workout partner among your colleagues and workout with him or her. The companionship will help motivate you and you are more likely to keep a commitment to someone else than to yourself.
7. Eat Sensibly. Seems to be a logical suggestion, but one that is often ignored by travelers. If you do eat on the plane, order a low fat meal or fruit plate ahead of time. Try eating only breakfast and lunch, with a piece of fresh fruit or a light salad for dinner. Many restaurant menus now use a little icon to indicate heart-healthy or low-fat options. A couple of our panelists indicated that they have a cardinal rule about desserts on the road-never eat them! And avoid caffeine; it will tend to give you a short term energy boost that you will pay for later.
By following a few simple rules, you can make that business trip a positive, healthy experience and avoid coming back with extra inches or pounds. The key is using self discipline, planning for success, and following your plan.