Rethinking Business Travel Exercise

by Health, Productivity, Travel

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This is part two of a three-part series on rethinking business travel policies and how to support your road warriors on the road. Part One gave new ideas for eating on the road. Part Three will cover mindfulness and mental health. There's no better time to start rethinking business travel exercise. Throw out old rules about not paying for fitness centers or thinking outside the box on what you will pay for. 

Old school policies denied paying for a gym if a hotel didn't offer complimentary facilities. This never made sense to me. First, most hotels do have free facilities, so it wouldn't be that often that the charge would be incurred. Second, if I got a $75 per diem and spent $30, I still couldn't pay $10 to use the fitness center. Third, isn't my health and safety worth $10? I love to run when I travel. It's my way to explore, but not all areas are safe, especially for a woman. In the winter months, it may also be dark before and after the workday. It's a small price to pay for me to be able to do something that gives me energy, keeps me sane and maintains a sense of routine.

But guess what? That may not even be necessary! People are now used to working out at home or getting creative with what they have available. Here are some ideas and benefits to incorporate into your new travel wellness policy.

In-Room Business Travel Exercise:

in-room-exercise
  • Partner with hotels that provide wellness or fitness kits to the room. You can get bands, yoga mats, and even Peloton bikes!  
rubberbanditz
  • Provide fitness kits to pack in their luggage. Several years ago, I developed the Jetsetter Gym Kit with Rubberbanditz. It weighs 14 ounces but has up to 85 pounds of resistance! You can get a great workout without ever leaving your room. I've pulled them out in airports and taken them to parks.
  • Purchase apps at an Enterprise level or give a credit for them to purchase a fitness subscription. Beachbody on Demand has hundreds of workouts, and almost all of them are made for people to work out in their living room with little to no equipment. Perfect for a hotel room! Alternatives are Sworkit, Do Yoga with Me, and the Peloton app for those die-hards. Ideally, just offer credit and let them pick one they like.

Portable Standing Desks:

Standing desk

This isn't exercise, but it will still help prevent glute amnesia, especially when all the movement they get is from Terminal A to Terminal C. Providing a portable, lightweight, standing desk will allow an alternative to sitting and keep that pancake butt from getting even flatter. 

pancake-butts

This is also an excellent option for people working remotely that may not have the best office space at home. If they work from their couch or kitchen table, this allows them to move around and, even better, take their work outside.

Event or meeting planning:

Reconsider the long days where breakfast or meetings starts at 7:30, go all day until 5, and then there's a late dinner that doesn't end until 9 or 9:30. This makes exercise prohibitive for many people. They either miss out on sleep or miss out on exercise, neither of which are good. If you want people to be at their best, manage the group's energy by starting a little later, i.e., 8:30. Incorporate frequent movement breaks throughout the day and have a break before dinner. Start your evening meal early and allow people to get back to their room by 8 or 8:30 pm. Many people end up catching up on their emails so at least they can get some good sleep, or they may do a light treadmill session. The people who want to stick around for drinks can, but those who prioritize their performance, sleep, or movement can be ahead of the curve.

Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) is even more important than exercise. It's the little bursts of movement throughout the day – using a standing desk, taking the stairs, doing squats while you brush your teeth, pacing while you talk on the phone, or running from Terminal A to Terminal C. Continuing to encourage your travelers that every little bit does help will give them the awareness that small steps (no pun intended) matter. 

Business travel exercise doesn't have to mean significant dollars to your budget or an inconvenience for your travelers. Experiment with one or more of these tactics in your next corporate policy update.

Need more ideas? Check out Beyond Travel: A Road Warrior's Survival Guide or reach out to talk with us personally about your current corporate travel wellness policy.

If you're doing something innovative or your company supports these behaviors, please reach out and let me know!

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Your Weekender Snapshot and Tim Ferriss’s Five Bullet Friday are my favorite emails I receive.
jim west

Principal and Managing Director, GFF Architects