Frequent business trips may bring you to far off places, but they’re definitely not vacations. Unlike time off, regular business travel accelerate aging, and increases the likelihood of suffering from a stroke, heart attack, and deep-vein thrombosis.
In recent articles, the Harvard Business Review not only highlighted the health risks of business travel, they also emphasized two approaches that build endurance and maximize time on the road.
Peter Bregman, CEO of Bregman Partners and a former ski racer, suggests that business travelers approach their own trips like athletes, prepping ahead of time and supporting their health every step of the way. He draws contrast between his time traveling as a former athlete and the his routine as a business traveler:
As an athlete, my travel regimen started three to five days before my race trip. I made sure that I slept at least eight hours each night. I ate consciously, exercised moderately, and meditated religiously. I drank lots of water, but no alcohol.
But as a business traveler? Even before my trip starts, I lose sleep because I’m trying to finish work, prepare for meetings, and cross things off my to-do list before I get on the plane. And once I’m en route, I encounter unhealthy food everywhere…And when my energy lags or I start to feel stressed, I grab one (or five) cookies…It takes a severe toll on my body.
Instead of sinking into unhealthy routines so common on the road, embrace travel with the same rigor one would bring to a distant sporting event. Prepare with a lot of sleep, stop drinking after that first glass of wine, and make some time for relaxation.
As a business traveler, you can still maintain your health and emphasize productivity. Dorie Clark recommends these short, productive activities for frequent travelers:
- Listen to podcasts to engage in professional development
- Make a series of short phone calls
- On flights, focus on writing projects
- Do some pleasure reading for “strategic renewal”
As a business traveler, you can maximize your performance while maintaining both your well being and productivity.