• Ray

Exercise While Travelling Part 1

Hopping in and out of planes is exercise enough, you say. But that’s not the kind of exercise that will condition your heart, make your reflexes and joints more fluid, keep the sugar levels down or keep you from swinging from one mood to another!

Nor is it the kind of exercise that will make you euphoric after a good cardiovascular session. You need to counteract the effects of jet lag, artificial air in pressurized aircraft cabins and sky fatigue.

What are some of the reasons why travelers do not incorporate exercise while they’re on the road?

  • They’re stressed or too tired

  • They don’t feel comfortable about working out in unfamiliar surroundings

  • They don’t have access to a hotel gym

But if they made just a tiny effort to change this thinking, they’d be on the road to fitness sooner.

Engaging in exercise allows you to get out of that bubble of meetings, seminars and tours.

Walk when on the Road


When traveling, have a pair of good walking shoes so that you won’t feel so daunted about getting from one side of the airport to another.

Having the right pair of walking shoes will encourage you to walk up the stairs instead of taking the escalator, to walk instead of taking the conveyor belt, and to transfer from one concourse to another on foot instead of taking the shuttle service.

You may not know it, but walking these long distances with your luggage in tow serves as a combination/weightlifting exercise!


Fitness while Flying

Once settled comfortably on the plane, make sure you time your stretching and walking periods. If it’s just an hour’s flight, walk around the plane once and do your stretching at the back of the plane; if it’s a three hour to five hour flight (east to west in the North American continent), try to get up from your seat and walk around at least once every hour, doing leg extensions and trunk/neck movements.

If you’re crossing the Pacific or Atlantic oceans, those killer flights need not kill you. Increase the frequency of your stretches and walking.

Airlines such as Japan Air Lines show videos of how travelers can incorporate flexibility movements while seated or standing. Take full advantage of these videos. The exercises may help you ward off fatigue and jet lag.

A note about DVT

In the last five years, there have been reports about flight passengers, especially in economy class, suffering from DVT – deep vein thrombosis.

The link between confining airplane seats and deaths from DVT (formation of deadly blood clots) has been established by the United Nations World Health Organization. It has nothing to do with gender, risk factors or genetics. Everyone is at risk in economy class! This should constitute a compelling reason to integrate exercise while high in the sky.

To make exercise possible while traveling, schedule your flights so that when you get to your destination, you don’t rush through dinner and then go to sleep.

Try to arrive during the late afternoon/early evening, to give you time to shake off the fatigue from the trip and have at least an hour to do exercises either in your hotel room or in the hotel gym.

Important “to do” things when traveling

  • Be fully rested before a trip – have the usual “to pack” items ready well in advance so you’re not scampering for them at the last minute, depleting your energy levels.

  • Time your sleep correctly – as soon as you board, get the local time of your destination and set your watch accordingly. If it’s already nighttime in your destination, wear blindfolds and ask for a pillow and try to catch a few winks.

  • Drink plenty of water – wine and cocktails will only dehydrate you further; note that humidity levels inside aircraft is below 10%, so water is your best bet.

  • If your job requires you to travel at least four times a month, ask your company’s travel department to book you in hotels with gyms or a swimming pool.

  • Make time out of your travel schedule to insert a workout into your grinding schedule.

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