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A key aspect to maintaining a healthy lifestyle is developing a simple, manageable plan to respond to those “out of your routine moments” that come with being a busy adult, playing multiple roles, and carrying a lot of responsibility.  If you are a heavy business traveler, these moments may actually define your routine, while making it very difficult to inject healthy behaviors and choices into your day-to-day.  Even in those moments when you have less control over your environment you should take control of your diet, nutrition and fitness choices (no excuses).

In other words, don’t let the natural challenges posed by travel define your health while traveling.  Here are a few tips to improving or maintaining healthy eating and exercise habits while traveling:

  1. Be Prepared:  Spend a few minutes while packing your bags to ensure you have a few healthy, portable snacks, and set a daily goal for activity/exercise, and some work-out clothes.
  2. Don’t Be Held Hostage to Unhealthy Options:  Just say “NO” to bad (and bad for you) airline food, and do not feel that since the Applebee’s in parking lot next to your hotel is the only restaurant around, that you simply have to load up on saturated fat and empty calories.  It’s your health, so if you are comfortable making solid dietary decisions on an airplane or in a restaurant with a large number of unhealthy decisions  – – go for it.  However, I find it empowering to waive the meal-cart on so that I can eat something healthy (e.g. trail mix, protein bar, or even a healthy sandwich or salad from one of the airport venues).  It’s amazing how people will eat a crappy airplane meal “because they feel they already paid for it, even if they already ate before getting on the plane” – – then they end up paying for it physically.  We all no that airline foot is terrible, so make a different choice.  Also, keeping some healthy snacks with you will ensure that you’re less likely to gorge when you arrive at your final destination.
  3. You Don’t Need a Gym to Work Out:  Set a daily goal while on travel to exercise for at least 30 minutes per day.  In addition, think through your routine so that the goal is specific and likely to motivate you to action.  If the hotel has a gym then you will have options (e.g. treadmill, weights, machines, etc.), however, I suggest you take on the Jack LaLanne mind-set when traveling “no hotel gym, no problem.”  If you don’t have access to a gym, put together a routine with some basic exercises (e.g. 100 push-ups, 200 crunches, 20-30 minutes of walking/jogging).  Do is first thing when you wake up, before you go to an evening event, or even when you return from your evening event — every day.  You may feel you don’t have 30 minutes, but in reality you can make the time, it just takes a goal and some self discipline.

While there are a number of things you can do to travel healthy, I believe these three elements are simple to remember and can be incorporated into almost any schedule.  These travel basics alone can make a substantial difference in how you feel while traveling, and when incorporated with some other “healthy living” choices will help you build some momentum to improving your overall health.

Small steps add up!