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Six ways to stay healthy on the fly

Travelling? Skip the side trip to sickness with these tips for staying healthy and energized.

(Photo: Shioguchi/Getty)

Certain things are a given when travelling on business. The flight leaves before dawn, you’re sleep deprived from the get-go, and then you arrive tired. You likely skipped breakfast and are getting by on a generous infusion of caffeine. No wonder you’re all business, but your immune system is on vacation! It happens to even the most travelled globe-trotting exec. The good news is it doesn’t have to be that way.

You have the power to change the typical picture of business travel—and avoid picking up a bug on your next trip. Here are six ways to be on top in every time zone.

1) Seize control. Drive your travel schedule instead of having it drive you. Build in enough sleep hours (usually, 6-7 hours is good). That means avoiding a 3 a.m. departure from home to the airport. Make time for exercise and meals, too. Figure out in advance when, where and how you’ll work it all in.

2) Book a hotel with a gym. Or get your trainer to show you what you can do with a skipping rope or bungee cord and a pair of running shoes. Some airports have smartly added gym or spa facilities so you can rejuvenate on arrival (check out Chicago O’Hare’s Hilton Athletic Club).

3) Eat breakfast. Make it a balanced one of complex carbohydrates, lean proteins and good fats. Call ahead to request that a healthy lunch be on the menu—this is especially easy to handle if your company is running the meeting or event.

And did you know that skipping meals and trying to power through can dumb you down before your meeting starts? (See: “Skipping Meals Makes You Dumb and Fat“)

4) Sanitize! Wash your hands more often. You’ve got a day ahead of meeting strangers everywhere from the airport to the convention centre and that can leave you exposed to a plenty of viruses and bacteria. These are what hand sanitizers were made for.

5) Pack supplements. Travelling is when you need them most, yet people often leave supplements out of their bags to save a little room. Big mistake. A trip is when you’re most likely to be nutrient deprived—at a time when your body needs more nutrients, not less. Not sure what to take? My colleague, naturopathic doctor Shelley Burns, has worked up a tried-and-true list, “Laptop. Check. Business Cards. Check. Supplements? Double Check.”

You are the boss of your travel time. Approach it this way and you’ll be the envy of road warriors everywhere, always operating at your peak performance—and in any time zone.

Elaine Chin, M.D., M.B.A., is a founder and Chief Medical Officer of Scienta Health, an executive health practice.

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