Working on the road – fitting in fitness

In the Sagevita philosophy, the term “vitality” means, “a vital force present in all living things”.  A sound body is necessary for that vital force to exist.  Indeed, you need a sound body to be vital and to enjoy life to the fullest.  Certain of our attitudes and activities can result in a sound body. What attitudes and activities enable us to develop and maintain a sound body for our “vital force”?   A necessary attitude is, “I am a sound body for my vital force.”  A necessary activity is intense daily physical exercises.  How can we be sure to perform that daily activity when we are on the road?  How can we be sure to fit in fitness?

business travellers2

So many of us are traveling frequently and, in some cases, for long distances, several days and across several time zones.  Our minds and bodies can become disoriented and prone to lethargy.  In addition, when we travel our schedules tend to be more full than when we are at home base. We are also challenged to fit in our exercise equipment into our suitcases.  Given all factors, avoiding exercise seems to be OK.  However, it is not.  Indeed, continuing our daily routines to the extent possible enables us to cope much better with the jet-lag and the full schedule.  What can we do to maintain our daily exercise when we travel?

Exercising, sleeping and eating

What, when and where will we exercise?  And, what, when and where will we eat and sleep?  Yes, sleep.  The right kind and frequency of exercise and nutrition will not benefit us if we do not get enough sleep.  What about nutrition?  When traveling and exercising, you need more carbs than usual.  Be sure to get enough protein – avoid booze and desserts.

We sometimes spend so much time traveling to our destinations that the time there is incredibly valuable. If you don’t get a good sleep while en-route, then sleep as much as you can when you get there.  Working out helps you to get good sleep as well as mitigate the symptoms of jet-lag.

The key factor is planning. A recent New York Times question-nd-answer session with Dianne Sykes Scope, an exercise physiologist, included this advice:

“Plan the month ahead, and capitalize on the time you have at home to exercise. Let’s say you’re travelling twice this month, a total of 18 days out of 30. The days you’re home, get in as many of your routine sessions as you can. It’s really about burning calories over the month, so if you achieve your goals at home, then you don’t have to worry while you’re away. If you’re gone for more than three or four days, though, you’ll want to get in some exercise.”

Exercise every single day

Personally, I don’t agree.  In my view it is far better to plan every day to include a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise every single day and to vary the exercises. It’s sensible to adjust your exercise routine on the road so you avoid skipping it.  Since business trips can be long, you must avoid more than a day or so off and only if absolutely necessary.  Getting back into the routine after several days of being out of it will be very hard and could also potentially end in injury.

runningonraodAnd, what should the exercises be?  If you cannot get access to equipment you normally like to use, a run or a long walk is an alternative. You don’t need a Stairmaster if there are stairs. A swim may be possible even for persons who do not normally.  Push-ups, sit-ups and chin-ups done to fatigue are terrific for stimulating energy and clearing the mind.

Here is an idea for you that I got from recently reading The Happiness Advantage – The Seven Principles that Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor (Random House), a book I highly recommend. Achor stresses the need to develop habits which promote our well-being and suggests some ways to trick ourselves into becoming habitual by reducing the time between deciding and acting.  For example, for those who find it difficult to get out of bed early in the morning to exercise, he suggests going to bed with your exercise clothes on and with your exercise shoes next to the bed.  This reduces the time between being awake and being ready for exercise.  Try it.

Fitting in fitness is easy when you plan for it and make it a habit.

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