At home, it’s all too easy to reach for the takeaway menu when you arrive back after a long, tiresome commute or find another pressing issue to stop you going to the gym. Getting away from your usual surroundings on a business trip is the perfect time to break these less-than-healthy habits.
When you stay in a hotel designed for business, your downtime is perfect for a proper detox: eating healthy food, finding the swimming pool, getting outside for some fresh air and culture or simply meditating in your downtime.
We asked nutritionist and fitness consultant Sally Naylor for her tips on giving yourself a healthy boost on your business trip.
You can enjoy a healthy breakfast
Even if you’re on a tight schedule, have breakfast. It gives your metabolism a kick start, helps you concentrate, and makes you less inclined to indulge in a sugary boardroom muffin mid-morning. “But resist that tempting full English and go for healthier options such as eggs, porridge, yogurt and fruit instead,” advises Sally.
You can cut back or avoid alcohol
Business trips are notorious for boozy lunches and fizz-fuelled networking parties. “Drinking too much dehydrates you, stops you sleeping properly and makes you feel rough the next day. And you’ll regret those empty calories,” says Sally. A good hotel will have a whole range of delicious non-alcoholic drinks, juices and mocktails, so you can indulge, but without the morning after headache.
You can eat healthily
You can take control of what you eat on your business trip and choose healthy options. When you feel peckish and fancy a snack or room service, keep it light - select grilled fish, chicken, vegetables and salad rather than a burger and chips. Go for lighter, nutritious dishes on their all-day menu.
You can take sleep seriously
Tempting as it is to hit the clubs in a new city, use your business trip to catch up with some deep, restorative sleep in a comfy bed. Sally says, “A good night’s sleep will do wonders for your concentration and feeling of wellbeing.” Pick a room in a hotel’s quiet zone and switch your tech to silent so you don’t get disturbed by alerts pinging. A spritz of lavender or chamomile aromatherapy essential oil on your pillow will help you drift off in no time.
You can fit your workouts in
Pack your whole workout kit: trainers, joggers, tees, resistance bands, Fitbit and swimming costume so you’ve no excuse not to hit the hotel gym or swimming pool. Go even further and schedule an exercise session into your working diary. Sally’s sage advice is: “Get your exercise sessions in early, before everyone else is up. They’ll give you a morning energy boost and your evenings will be free for any spontaneous social events.”
You can walk or run round the city
You’ll be surprised how many walking steps you clock up sightseeing around a new city in your downtime. Head out for a walk when you first arrive, rather than straight to the bar, especially if your hotel is in a great central location. “It will help you wind down from your journey as well as giving you an exercise boost,” says Sally. If you enjoy running, an interesting change of scenery – new parks, streets, bridges and sights – is enough to get you outside, exercising while you explore.
You can calm your busy mind
No matter how organised you are, daily working and business travel have their own stresses and pressures and give you lots to think about. It’s important that you use downtime to look after your mental health. Give your mind a break by taking some head space in your peaceful hotel room to practise meditation or mindfulness, or simply take time to read or listen to music.
You can benefit from arts and culture
Research shows that ‘museums can be restorative environments - places where people go to relax, recharge, and boost their mental and physical well-being’. Use some of your downtime to explore the city’s museums and art galleries. If you pick a hotel that’s right in the centre, you may find you have world-class museums on your doorstep. Even tiny, quirky ones have something surprising and educational to offer.
“If you view business trips as an opportunity for some restorative ‘me time’ they’re great for kick-starting a healthy regime you can continue when you get back,” concludes Sally.