Even a short workout, on a busy day will work out the frustrations and stiffness brought on by travel. Just a few moments on the treadmilll or fitness trail can release stress, improve vitality and attitude, and wake up your mind for a more productive day. The following simple tips have helped me exercise on almost every one of the 250+ days a year that I'm on the road.
1. Keep your bag packed with shoes and clothing for exercise. When I come home from a trip, I take my workout clothes out of my bag, put them in the wash, and immediately insert clean socks, clothes and shoes. Usually within 2 minutes, I have my "next trip bag" packed and ready to go.
2. When you make or receive your lodging arrangements for the trip, look at mapquest.com (or another geographical website) and locate the nearest park, bike trail, etc. If you communicate with the hotel staff in advance, ask about good places to run/walk.
3. Open your day planner and make an appointment with yourself to exercise. Write it into your journal as a very important commitment—it is!
4. Just before you leave your house, check the weather at your destination (weather.com). If you need to pack additional clothing, throw it in your bag. It’s always better to have extra clothing/equipment for varied weather conditions (ear band, hat, sun glasses, etc.), and an extra pair of socks (to use as gloves or to replace wet ones).
5. Bring 3-4 quart size ziplock bags. You may need these for wet clothing, etc., on the return trip.
6. As you check in, ask the front desk staff members if they know of safe running/walking routes from the hotel. If they don’t, ask if there is anyone on the back office staff who might run or know about courses nearby.
7. Most major hotels/motels provide complimentary exercise facilities with treadmills and other cardio workout equipment. Be sure to ask the front desk if there are times when the treadmills tend to be full—so that you can schedule exercise at other times.
8. Get up early. Most busy travelers tell me that it is much easier to wake up 45 minutes earlier than to try to insert exercise into a busy travel or workday. I don’t believe that the reduction of 45 minutes of sleep is a problem for most people. In general, it’s best not to exercise strenuously close to bedtime, because many will not sleep well if they do this.
9. Coffee or other stimulant (sometimes hot water) will usually get you going. A cup of coffee has been shown, in research, to improve endurance—and it certainly helps the nervous system get ready for performance. If you have caffeine sensitivities or heart rhythm problems, don’t drink coffee.
10. If you are challenged for time, just exercise for 5 minutes. Five minutes is infinitely better than zero minutes, and most people who go out to run/walk 5 minutes, continue for 20 or 30. Most exercisers who report back to me after doing only 5 minutes, say that even this short amount makes them feel better throughout the day.
Exercise can not only help you become more productive in whatever you do—it can bring you joy. By being flexible, and by planning ahead, you can gain control over your schedule, and receive the many benefits that only come from exertion.