Fitness on the Go: 5 Simple Strategies for Work Travelers | Blog
03Jan 2024
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Fitness on the Go: 5 Simple Strategies for Work Travelers

At first glance, traveling for work seems okay because you get paid to visit new places, explore new cultures, and see more of our world. 

But if you have had any business trips, you can probably attest to how exhausting they can be, regardless if you are a seasoned jet setter or a roadshow newbie. A study shared by Hilton Hotels & Resorts showed that productivity can drop for business travelers for a variety of reasons.

The good news? Exercise is the best antidote. Compared to their sedentary counterparts, physically active individuals appear to be more alert and reactive while traveling, performing at an impressive 61 percent better.

So how do you stay fit while traveling for work? Being on the road can throw everything out of whack, especially for people used to a specific routine. Fortunately, there are ways to work around all the issues that arise while on the road. Read on to learn about five simple tactics to stay healthy and on track.

Let's jump in. 

1. Move!

Movement can sometimes feel like an abstract idea, but it does not have to be the case because you move your body every day, whether you realize it or not. 

Perhaps a bigger problem is that people seek the "optimal" way to move their bodies and stay active, which creates unnecessary complexity. In truth, moving more is simple and does not require special planning; it comes down to having the right mindset.

Take, for example, travel. Many folks feel that frequent business tips and vacations keep them from being active. Fortunately, that does not have to be the case. Even the busiest travel arrangements include plenty of downtime. 

Stay out of one place while waiting at the airport between flights. Instead, move around and explore the airport. Are you looking for an extra challenge? Take some of your luggage with you for additional resistance, and do some squats or lunges

Couple physical activity with stretching to prevent tightness and muscle cramps, especially on longer flights. Take opportunities to walk, climb stairs, jump rope, and more. 

Travel is also great because you get plenty of opportunities to see new places. Before starting your day, try fitting in a 20-minute workout. It could be as simple as a brisk walk in your area or a jog at the local park. The fresh air will wake you up, and exploring unfamiliar scenery can motivate you to get moving.

If the weather does not permit, stay indoors and do a bodyweight workout. Travel provides plenty of opportunities to move; you just have to look out for them and take advantage.

2. Prepare & Plan

A while back, we published an article titled "If you don't plan to stay fit while traveling, you won't." Feel free to read it next because it is full of helpful information. 

As you can probably tell from the title, the article focused on one core message: Planning is necessary for following through and working toward your goals. 

Most people are consistent with their training plan because they have a specific plan, even if they do not review it every day. For example, a person might know they have to hit the gym on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday after work. 

The problem is that traveling makes it more challenging to organize yourself, especially if you are on a business trip. Meetings, projects, and other obligations can take up the entire day, leaving no time for leisure and positive habits. 

So, it is important to prepare by making a plan for exercising. One good option is to take some equipment with you on the road. That way, you can have quick and effective workouts without leaving your hotel room. We will go over specific recommendations below.

Speaking of working out, set a specific plan for your routines. Get clear on three things:

  • When will each workout occur (specific time and day)
  • Where will you do each session (specific location)
  • What will you do during every workout (it is good to have a specific training plan)

Research suggests that setting a concrete plan increases adherence and boosts the chances of success. For example: "I will do a full-body workout (What) every morning from 7 to 7:30 (When) in my hotel room (Where)."

Make it a priority instead of letting yourself get swept up by work or leisure later in the day. In addition to having a plan for working out, think of simple ways to add movement to your days. For instance:

  • Take the stairs when possible
  • Get off the bus one stop earlier and walk
  • Move around your area on foot
  • Take walks in the evening to aid digestion and explore the new area

Most importantly, plan how you will adapt your exercise and eating habits ahead of time to feel confident that you will stay healthy on the road. Most obviously, you want to avoid overindulging at company dinners. Even if you attend a dinner meeting or enjoy a night out with coworkers, set a curfew for yourself and stick to it. Remind yourself how important it is to get the National Institute of Health's suggested seven to eight hours of sleep each night. 

3. Drink lots of Water

You would be surprised how big of an impact adequate hydration can have on your energy levels, well-being, cognition, physical abilities, and overall health. Unfortunately, chronically tired people often look for fancy ways to get out of a slump and feel better, never stopping to think about how the basics can make a difference. 

Drinking lots of water becomes even more critical on the road, especially if it involves airplane travel. This is because the humidity in the airplane cabin decreases, taking the moisture out of the air, which often leads to dehydration, even during a relatively short flight. 

It is best to get a water bottle at the airport instead of relying on the cabin service. Doing so aligns with our philosophy of planning rather than falling victim to circumstances.

Furthermore, bottled water can be particularly necessary in some parts of the world where the water conditions are unsafe. If you can not get your hands on filtered water, consider a self-filtering water bottle to use while traveling.

While you are at it, pack some fresh fruits if possible. These contain large amounts of water and further keep you hydrated. Apples, citrus fruits, pears, and peaches are fantastic options.

Finally, research your destination ahead of time to get a good idea of the water conditions. Access to drinkable water is not an issue in most parts of the world, but it is something to consider for remote and isolated destinations. Pro Tip, the gym in a hotel is a good source of water too. 

4. Bring your Equipment

Many hotels have gyms, and our platform can help you find the best training facilities. Check out GymFactor - the ultimate tool for finding the best gyms while on the road.

All of that is good, but what if you have to stay somewhere without access to workout equipment? For example, traveling to a remote or exotic location would likely mean not having access to a gym. Even if there is a training facility, it probably will not be good enough for effective workouts.

Of course, you could just take a break from working out and not worry about training. After all, you are on vacation or traveling for work, so why worry about fitness? 

The problem is that killing your momentum can make it difficult to return to the gym later, causing you to stay inactive for long periods. So, continuation is key. Strive to be active on the road, and you will not struggle with consistency.

One obvious option is to do bodyweight exercises: push-ups, squats, plank, etc. That can be an excellent way to maintain your fitness, but it might get tedious if you are more advanced. For instance, if you can bench press 300+ lbs, you will probably have to do at least 35 to 40 push-ups per set to challenge yourself. 

The second option is to bring some equipment with you. Useful items you can bring with you include resistance bands, a TRX suspension kit, a jump rope, and a comfortable pair of headphones (Bluetooth or with wires). Check out our recommendations on some cool things you can take with you.

You can do fun and effective workouts in your hotel room with equipment such as a jump rope, resistance bands, slider disks, and other compact training tools. It is best to pick activities that allow you to stay as close to your routine as possible while on a business trip. You can even use an app, to set up your next hotel room workout, even if you have little to no equipment. We also share plenty of helpful information for alternative fitness solutions, such as workout apps.

5. Plan for your Sleep

Making time for physical activity during the day will help you get better sleep at night - it is that simple. Numerous surveys suggest that active people are likelier to say, "I had a good night's sleep."

Data suggests that exercise is good for sleep and that those who classify themselves as active exercise have the best sleep. In contrast, non-exercisers report having the worst sleep.

Sleeping well on the road can be particularly tough, especially on long flights and if you experience jetlag. Because of that, it's necessary to prepare ahead of time. For example, bring some earplugs if you are a light sleeper who wakes up from the slightest noise. And if you are used to a pitch-black bedroom, call the hotel you plan on booking and ask if the rooms come with blackout curtains. If not, pack an eye mask.

Set yourself up for a good night's sleep to get the rest you need. Read more about how sleep affects your training results in our article.

To Conclude

As you may already know, traveling can sometimes take time and effort. The flight, the hotel stay, and the work you need to do can be downright exhausting.

If you want to stay healthy and energized on the road, you must ensure that you get enough sleep and exercise regularly. 

Good hotel gyms are rare, and most rooms are not set up for physical activity. However, that does not mean you have to avoid exercise altogether. Follow these tips to stay fit on the road. Also, check out our hotel gym finder allows you to search for hotels with specific gym equipment. is the platform for the Fitness- and Health-Minded Traveler.

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