Keep fit during business trips

Staying fit while you travel for work isn’t as hard as you think. With planning and creativity, physical activity can be worked into the schedule of any business trip, says BCD Travel’s Katharina Lohse, a Hamburg-based communication manager and triathlete.

Lohse, who travels frequently for work, does two or three triathlons a year. “In the months prior to a triathlon, I train three or four times a week,” she said. “During the rest of the year, twice a week is the minimum, even when I’m away from home.” Making it work means being strategic.

“My most important tip is to choose the right hotel. I prefer to run outdoors, so I always choose an in-program hotel that’s close to a park or other running space. I also check to see if the hotel has a good gym,” she said. An alternative is to search for fitness centers close to your hotel or meeting location; ask the hotel concierge for help, Lohse recommended.

Planning is also essential to staying committed to fitness. First, pack smart. “It’s easy for runners. I only need to pack my running shoes and sports clothing, and I use an activity tracker to measure my performance.” Here’s a pro tip: Pack a separate pouch for storing damp items or take advantage of hotel laundry facilities.

Once the hotel is secured and bags are packed, busy travelers need one last thing—time to work out. “Choose a moment that suits you,” she suggested. “I sometimes see people leaving the hotel in their sports gear before breakfast. I prefer to run after the working day to clear my head. This always livens me up, especially if I am tired from discussions and meetings. You also get to appreciate the surroundings.

“If you’re not sure whether it is safe enough to run outdoors, look for a running partner among your colleagues or clients,” Lohse suggested. “This may even provoke a useful business discussion.”

If safety concerns or weather prevent outdoor activity, use the space in your hotel room. “There are plenty of exercises that you can do indoors and without using weights: sit-ups, push-ups, squats, lunges and planks can all be done in the hotel room. This 7-minute workout uses only body weight, a chair and a wall. Another option is the hotel swimming pool. This is ideal for me, especially when I’m training for a triathlon,” she said.

If you’re worried about bumping into colleagues or clients in your workout gear, don’t be. “In my experience, this tends to earn respect,” Lohse said. “Just go for it. Go running, do exercises in your hotel room, take a 15-minute stroll, but get moving.”