Travel workout: Fitness tips for business travelers

When you're traveling for work, it can be tough to stick to a fitness routine. Use these tips to maintain your fitness program.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

If work keeps you frequently away from home, it can be challenging to maintain your fitness program. Travel time and meetings might leave little room in your schedule for exercise. But dedication and planning can help you stay in shape — and ease the stress that work travel can cause. Consider these travel workout tips.

Pack for fitness

Before your trip, research the hotel or nearby fitness facilities and pack accordingly. Your travel workout essentials might include:

  • Athletic shoes
  • Exercise clothing
  • Swimsuit
  • Jump-rope
  • Resistance tubing
  • Hand grips
  • Headphones
  • Yoga mat
  • Smartphone or tablet

Keep active as you go

Whether you're traveling by car, train or plane, work travel can force you to sit for long periods, which isn't good for your health. To fit some physical activity into your travel days, wear your walking or running shoes. If you're traveling by plane and time permits or you encounter a delay, stroll through the airport terminal rather than sitting at the gate. When traveling by train, walk through the cars occasionally. If you're driving, take breaks to get out and stretch.

If you know you're going to have a long layover at an airport, check to see if the airport has a gym and pack your carry-on bag accordingly. Keep in mind that equipment varies and fees might apply.

Get started

When you arrive at your destination, set the tone for your trip by working out right away, even if it's just a quick walk to check out your surroundings. If that's not possible, schedule time for your next workout and treat it as an important appointment.

Consider these ways to work out or be active:

  • Walk. Walking is something you can do indoors or out, and requires no equipment. Walk the airport, or walk the hotel or conference center halls. Walk to your meetings. Take the stairs. Or take your walk outdoors to check out local parks and trails. Ask the hotel staff about safe nearby routes for walking or running.
  • Use hotel fitness facilities. Many hotels have gyms or pools, or offer day passes to local fitness centers.
  • Skip rope. Use a jump-rope in your room or at the hotel gym.
  • Do jumping jacks. Try a few sets in your room.
  • Try an online class. If you have space in your hotel room, use your laptop, tablet or smartphone to find a workout and follow along. If you can't find space indoors, consider taking your workout outdoors.
  • Use resistance tubing. These stretchy tubes, which can be used virtually anywhere, offer weight-like resistance when you pull on them. Use them to strengthen nearly any muscle group.
  • Take advantage of your own body weight. Try pushups, pullups, planks, lunges and squats.
  • Get wet. Swim laps in the hotel pool.
  • Try a new activity. Look for classes and group activities or meet-ups that interest you and allow you to explore your surroundings and participate in local culture.

Listen to your body

If jet lag or schedule changes leave you exhausted, make your workout shorter or lighter than usual. It's OK to take it easy once in a while. Because travel can be so disruptive to how you sleep and what you eat, it's not always the best time to try to increase your fitness level.

Remember, however, that regular exercise can help reduce stress and feelings of low energy, which might be just what you need to get down to business.

March 23, 2019 See more In-depth