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How to exercise during a work trip and stay fit while traveling
If you’re traveling for work these days, make sure to keep your fitness goals in mind.
Your itinerary could include early-morning sales calls, late-day business meetings — and also long lunches, late-night meals entertaining clients and even follow-up work at night in your hotel room.
Research from the American Council on Exercise says that exercise increases alertness and productivity and also boosts moods — which can create a better mindset for business travel.
While you’re traveling, fitness experts say you don’t need fancy gyms, pricey equipment or an abundance of free time to incorporate fitness into your business travel schedule. To make sure get some exercise in while you're away, try these smart tips.
1. Use the hotel's amenities if you can
Aim for a hotel with a gym, a pool and one that’s in a pedestrian-friendly location.
You can swim laps in the pool, use cardio equipment and do weight-training in the fitness center and walk around the area where your hotel is located.
One traveler makes sure to book a hotel with a fitness center.
As a fitness professional who travels to certify trainers around the country, Cary Williams, CEO of Boxing & Barbells in Santa Monica, California, said she does her best to book a hotel with a gym when she’s traveling.
However, if you can’t find a hotel that offers all these amenities — don’t worry.
"If there is not a gym or the gym is closed, there are plenty of exercises you can do in your room without equipment," Williams said.
Also, to get your steps in, skip the elevator and use the stairs, she advised.
2. Do an in-room workout
The best plan, said Williams, is to set your alarm an hour earlier while out of town so that you have at least a good 30-45 minutes to get in a workout.
She recommends an interval type of workout with about six exercises: three body weight exercises and three cardio-types of exercises.
"Find a timer app on your phone and set it for 45 seconds of work time and 15 second rest time between exercises," she said.
Williams curated an example of a room workout. She said each of the following exercises should take six minutes (aim for five rounds): squats; knee ups (high knees in place); push-ups; jumping rope (bring you own); lunges; and sit-ups.
Plus, you can add some weights to your workout if you have your own, or you can use dumbbells from the hotel’s gym.
3. Explore your surroundings
Chelsea Cohen, co-founder of SoStocked, in Austin, Texas, said fitness is a vital part of her daily routine. When she is traveling for work, her goal is to ensure the same.
"Exploring keeps me fit," said Cohen. "Each business trip comes with a new opportunity to explore and indulge in exciting activities."
She added, "Whenever I’m in a new city, I make sure that I walk around a bit whether it’s for shopping or finding a good restaurant."
Cohen said she prioritizes taking a walking path to her work meetings.
"This helps keep my body in motion," she said. "The best thing is that walking keeps my mind off the usual workouts and gives me the much-needed exercise without needing to carve extra time for it."
Outside work meetings, pack a pair of sneakers and walk the area to learn about the new city and explore.
4. Embrace technology
As CEO of Brooklyn, NY-based MediaPeanut, Victoria Mendoza said she frequently travels for business; technology has helped keep her on track in terms of her fitness and health.
"I have recently learned to incorporate technology into my own fitness regimen," she said.
Technology can help those who travel for work stay on top of their fitness routines and practices. (iStock)
She uses several apps to help her with calorie counting, measuring calories burned during exercise and daily activities — and also measuring her daily steps and monitoring her exercise activities.
"Some of these popular apps are Fooducate, Strides, MyFitnessPal and Fitbit aside from the health trackers in my phone," she added.
Also, Mendoza said she’s hired virtual fitness trainers who monitor her fitness activities and plan her workouts at least twice or three times a week, even while she travels for work.
"Setting aside an hour for a virtual fitness trainer session allows me to not stray from my fitness goals and correctly do my workouts, even with limited machines." She said the virtual trainers come up with "exercise plans depending on the location and time and space that I have at my disposal."
5. Cycle your way to health
Jarelle Parker, a Silicon Valley personal trainer in Menlo Park, California, suggested booking a bike tour around a new city.
"This is a great way to meet people and to be adventurous by exploring a new environment," she said. "It's also a great way to incorporate fitness into your travel."
She mentioned that Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, New York and San Diego "have amazing bike tours for fitness travelers."
If indoor cycling is more the preference (along with others to help motivate you), Parker noted that the ClassPass app can help.