Over the passed several years, family and friends have made a number of suggestions around health and fitness that have made their way into my travel repertoire. Some have worked and others are perhaps more work for the gains based on my business travel schedule. While I have done well to keep the doctors complaining about my numbers, I also seem to have more energy and focus in my day to day activities. Whether you are traveling on business or home for the holidays these five tips will help you cope and enjoy your travel with renewed vitality.
1. Eat Deliberately.
We all have different bodies and those bodies – hate to tell you, Dear Reader – change over time. Which means those carbs (also sugars) we put away in our 20s have to be very well managed. Favor “greens and pro-teins” if over 40 and watch high cholesterol foods with high cream and egg yolk content. If you can swing being gluten-free (or even “gluten selective”) try it. That combined with limiting red meat to once or twice a week mean less blood flow to your digestive tract and more to your muscles including your heart (and your brain).
2. Eat Oatmeal for Breakfast.
The corollary to eating deliberately is to eat oatmeal for breakfast as often as possible. My friend is in his 70s and still hikes with the teenagers and keeps fit by this secret weapon. Oatmeal has the effect of non-gluten carbs for energy and positive cholesterol impacts for the heart. Add nuts or granola for a protein boost.
3. Get at Least 6-7 Hours of Sleep Each Night.
Executives across industries have become increasingly vocal in the need for sleep. Yahoo CEO Marissa Meyer apologized for falling asleep during a meeting, giving off a less than professional appearance to her guests and colleagues. Whether you are traveling with the kids or overseas (or particularly both) get your shut eye. As a fallback take a nap but make sure it is real sleep and not just dozing to get precious REM time.
[Sub-corollary: If you don’t sleep, you need to eat. Our bodies can adjust if you need to pull that all-nighter or you can’t sleep across the pond, just take a fourth meal at midnight. Then get your nap the following day.]
4. Exercise at least 20-30 minutes at least three times a week.
As a distance runner I can throw all of the diet rules out the window when I am burning 3,000 to 5,000 calories a day. In the off-season (as around the holidays) I need to make sure that I can still exercise at more modest levels. Treadmill runs, hotel pool lap swims, yoga, or even brisk walks help keep the blood moving, increase circulation, and promotes high metabolism. The result: generally more energy for work and recreation.
5. Skip the Red-eye Flights
Bargain hunting for flight fares – which appear to be quite high relative to recent years – during the holidays is common practice. You take what you can get at the best fare to get to Grandma’s house in time for dinner. However early morning and late flights without significant time changes can really mess with your body clock and impacts both sleep and diet cycles (see above). If you can afford to do so, travel during normal waking cycles based on your outbound departure time. You will enjoy your travel experience and your family will too.