How to stay healthy on your next business trip

man watching plane take off from airport window

Travelling for business can be a rewarding experience, allowing you to visit new destinations and network with other professionals in your field. But leaving your daily routine behind can quickly derail healthy habits and disrupt your active lifestyle. From flight fatigue and busy schedules to limited food options, there's no shortage of business travel pitfalls you'll have to contend with. And while you may be tempted to skip a workout, indulge in a greasy meal or work through your lunch break, it's important to keep your health and well-being in mind. 

The good news is that staying healthy while travelling for business is easier than you think, especially if you plan ahead. To help you maintain your active lifestyle on the go, we've put together a few health tips every travelling professional should know.

Travel during the day

Although you may not have the final say in your travel plans, booking a midday flight can help you avoid jet lag and keep your sleep schedule on track. According to the Mayo Clinic, jet lag occurs when your circadian rhythm is disrupted by travelling across multiple time zones, which can leave you feeling fatigued and irritable. Airline cabin pressure and a lack of sunlight can further amplify these symptoms, so try to avoid red-eye flights if possible.

The best way to prevent jet lag and travel-related exhaustion is to gradually adjust your sleep schedule before you leave. If you're travelling east, going to bed one hour earlier each night can prepare you for a new time zone. Conversely, if you're headed west, staying up for an extra hour can have the same effect.

Avoid processed foods

Healthy and nutritious meals are hard to come by in airports and busy city centres, as there is often an overabundance of processed foods. Rather than relying on restaurants and junk food, snack on nuts, raw vegetables, whole-grain crackers, yogurt and other fat-rich, high-protein snacks.

Stay hydrated

When travelling by plane, the dry air and low humidity can quickly dehydrate you if you're not drinking plenty of water. This lack of hydration can lead to a variety of short-term health issues, including impaired cognition, attention, memory and critical thinking. To stay healthy during your next business trip, the Aerospace Medical Association recommends drinking at least eight ounces of water every hour you're in the air. Bringing along a reusable water bottle is key, as it will allow you to keep your hydration level topped off and save on bottled water at the airport and beyond.

Walk everywhere

While many business travellers have expense accounts, hailing a taxi isn't the healthiest transportation option. Travelling by foot can help you stay physically active between your work obligations, which is especially important if you're not planning to use the hotel's complimentary gym. If you do find some leisure time, taking a self-guided tour of the city you're visiting can be a simple way to get some exercise in. Remember to check the walking distance between your hotel and destination before leaving to make sure it's relatively close.