12 Best Workouts for Business Travelers
Before the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the globe, Americans made an average of over 400 million business trips each year. This equates to more than a million business travelers zooming across the world each and every day. Unfortunately, long-distance travel isn’t always easy on your body and health, but regular exercise may help you stay in tip-top shape while traveling.
The best workouts for business travelers can be performed in either a hotel room, a hotel gym, or an office. They tend to be brief and often require little to no exercise equipment. Exercising while traveling for business can help individuals avoid the pitfalls of a sedentary lifestyle.
In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of working out while traveling on business. We’ll also reveal some of the best workouts for the hotel room, hotel gym, and office. This way, you can practice any number of exercises while away from home, no matter where you happen to be.
Workouts for the Hotel Room
You can use a little of your down-time to burn some calories and recharge your batteries in the comfort and privacy of your hotel room. There are tons of hotel-room-friendly exercises that business travelers can practice, but we’ve found some of the most satisfying exercises to try while you’re enjoying your room.
Often confused with crunches, sit-ups are a full-body exercise that can help you tone your abdominal muscles while flexing your hips and stretching your spine and arms. Getting the hand of sit-ups may take a little time, especially if you’re out of practice.
However, a set of these may just be the most convenient way to break a sweat without bothering neighboring hotel guests or those who might be staying in the room below yours. Sit-ups also require zero extra pieces of equipment, making them a go-to option for business travelers.
To perform a proper sit-up, you’ll want to lie on a comfortable but stable surface. If you feel uncomfortable resting on your hotel room floor, you can choose to put down a towel. A bed may flex and move too much for sit-ups.
Once you’re on your back, you’ll want to bring your knees up so that your feet are resting flat against the floor. You’ll then want to cross your arms across your chest, or place your hands behind your neck and tighten your ab muscles. Using your core muscles, lift yourself upward from the hips and bring your torso forward toward your knees.
Hold this position for a second, then slowly release back onto the floor. Repeat at least ten times to perform a set.
Are you looking to work your legs, thighs, and butt while stretching your hip flexors? The lunge exercise may be the ideal workout option for you. Performing a lunge can help you experience a satisfying stretch throughout your lower half. When paired with free weights for your arms, a lunge can become a whole-body exercise.
To perform a lunge, you’ll want to begin in a standing position. You’ll then want to step forward with one leg, allowing the other leg to extend diagonally in support. Be sure to keep your knees slightly bent to prevent locking. Once you feel stable and comfortable, you’ll want to drop your back knee toward the floor.
While doing this, bend your front knee at a 90° angle. Be sure to keep your hips squared and hold your position for as long as you can. Aim for ten seconds during your first few sets. After performing several sets of lunges, you may experience more limber leg muscles and a greater endurance when taking long walks.
Planks can help you keep your abdomen slim and your arms toned, but they’re also an excellent exercise for building patience and endurance. Like lunges, plank exercises are often used in yoga routines to increase flexibility and imbue individuals with a sense of perseverance.
The idea of performing a plank is simple enough, but it can be surprisingly challenging to maintain a plank pose. Elbow planks can be slightly easier on the body than traditional ones, and they may help you transition to tougher physical challenges.
To do an elbow plank, you’ll want to get down onto your hands and knees. You’ll then want to lower yourself onto your forearms and let your legs push back until you’re raised on your forearms and toes. Keeping your spine straight and hips aloft, you’ll want to hold this position for as long as possible.
Have you ever wanted to soar through the air like a superhero? Air swimming exercises allow you to glide above the floor like you’re zooming around the planet. It’s also an excellent workout for your entire body. It’s also a common exercise for pilates classes.
To practice your pose, lie down on your stomach and stretch your legs and arms out. Allow your feet and knees to rise off the floor, letting only the tops of your thighs come into contact with the floor. Allow your arms to extend upward off the floor until your abdomen is the only part of your torso that is grounded.
In a gentle motion, begin to lift and lower your legs as though you were swimming across a pool. You may also want to perform the same action with your arms, being sure to keep your core muscle tight while you “swim” through the air.
Though it may feel silly to have a boxing match against an invisible enemy, shadowboxing can be a great exercise for your legs and arms. When you practice your footwork alongside your punches, you can also get your heart pumping, making this exercise both an aerobic and strength-building option.
Shadowboxing may require a little research, especially if you’re not familiar with common boxing techniques. However, it can be quite a lot of fun. If you’re having a tough day or feeling particularly stressed-out, you can imagine defeating your enemy or stressful workload with a few well-placed punches.
Workouts for the Hotel Gym
Not every hotel or motel has a gym, but many do. If you’re lucky enough to stay in a hotel that offers complimentary gym services, you may want to take advantage of those services. And while hotel gyms differ vastly, most include a few essential pieces of equipment, including:
- Free weights
- Stationary bicycles
As such, we’re only going to discuss exercises that can be done with these pieces of equipment. This will ensure you get the most satisfying exercise while at your hotel gym. The average hotel gym has the equipment necessary for a full strength-building and aerobic routine.
Many hotel gyms have stationary bicycles that are ideal for cycling exercises. Though you may be sitting while operating a stationary bike, that doesn’t mean that you aren’t burning calories or breaking out in a sweat.
Cycling is a great way to increase your cardiovascular health, improve your joint functioning and flexibility, and decrease your stress levels. Pedaling hard as you imagine crushing your next business proposal or meeting can help you work off unwanted stress and feel more prepared.
However, cycling is primarily an aerobic exercise. If you’re looking to work out your arms, you may want to explore any of the free weights your hotel offers.
Side Arm Lifts
Before attempting side arm lifts, you’ll want to decide the type of weights you feel comfortable handling. In general, weights that 10lbs or less are best for maintaining musculature endurance, while heavier weights are more appropriate for building muscle.
Side arm lifts can help you strengthen your shoulders while helping to strengthening your biceps. To do these exercises, you’ll want to pick up your chosen weights, stand up straight, and extend your arms outward so that they’re aligned with your hips.
Hold your arms level with your shoulders as your hands clasped tight around the weights. Hold this position for several seconds before slowly lowering your arms to your sides. Repeat this motion several times, being sure to gently move as you go. Doing so could prevent unwanted wrist injuries.
You may also try another version called scaption raises. This exercise is similar to the shoulder raise. Rather than raising the weights to the side of your body, you create a v-shape in front of your body, with your thumbs facing up. So, you are not raising the weights straight to the side or directly in front. Rather, you are finding that spot in-between to create that “v” shape in front of you.
Going for a walk is often underplayed. However, taking to the treadmill for a quick jog or a relaxed walk can be a wonderful form of exercise. Slower treadmill speeds may be easier on your joints, resulting in a low-impact aerobic activity.
Higher speeds can be harder on your knees and ankles, but better for your heart rate. If you’re attempting to hit a target heart rate for optimal fat-burning or endurance-building, you may want to opt for a jog rather than a stroll.
Many hotel gyms have treadmills, and though they’re bound to differ, they generally operate in the same way. Be sure to follow any posted safety guidelines and to start your exercise slowly. Before stepping onto the treadmill, you may want to do a few hamstring stretches.
If your hotel gym has a chin-up or pull-up bar, you may want to challenge yourself to perform a few chin-ups. If you haven’t performed a pull-up or chin-up in several years, it can be tricky to get yourself over the bar. But practice makes perfect. Additionally, it’s almost always better to start with chin-ups, not pull-ups.
Chin-ups can be easier to do because you can incorporate more of your strong bicep muscles rather than depending on your lats alone. To perform a chin-up, you’ll want to place your hands on the bars with the palms facing toward you. Grasp the bar and allow your muscles to flex as you pull yourself upward. Attempt to raise yourself high enough so that your chin passes over the bar.
It’s okay if you don’t make it during the first few tries. With every attempt, you’ll likely get closer to performing a satisfactory chin-up.
Workouts for the Office
If you’re short on time but hoping to keep yourself in the fittest possible condition, you may want to practice a few office-friendly exercise routines. These exercises are relatively imperceptible, allowing you to get a workout in without drawing attention to yourself.
While you’re waiting for your next meeting to start, you might want to pass the time with a few of these workouts for the office. They’re so subtle; you may find yourself practicing these exercises when you’re at your home office.
The Neck Roll
When you spend most of your day looking down at your phone or your computer monitor, your neck can begin to suffer. Fortunately, a neck roll can help loosen tightened muscles and reduce feelings of pain within the neck and upper shoulders.
To do this exercise, start off sitting in an upright position. Make sure that you’re practicing excellent posture. Then, pretend that there is a string pulling your head upwards. Let that string, and your chin, gently fall toward the floor. Then, roll your head in a counterclockwise position.
Be sure to move slowly to avoid injuring yourself. When you’ve reached your starting position, roll your head in a clockwise direction, also being sure to move gingerly. You can repeat this exercise, but take care not to strain yourself.
The Triceps Stretch
Biceps get a lot of attention, but they’re not the only major arm muscles. Your triceps are also crucial for arm strength and a toned look. The seated triceps stretch can be confused with a simple standard stretch-and-yawn; this makes it one of the most subtle and desirable office-based exercises.
To perform a triceps stretch, raise both arms above your head. Bend your arms at the elbow and let your forearms cross over one another behind your head. With one hand, pull the vertical portion of the upper arm toward your spine, feeling the stretch and holding for several seconds. Then, repeat with the other arm.
The only thing you’ll need to watch out for while performing this exercise is your deodorant usage. And once your neck and arms are feeling flexible and relaxed, you begin working on your butt.
The Glute Squeeze
Did you know that you can get an excellent butt workout in without noticeably moving a muscle? Performing a glute squeeze while you wait for a meeting to start or while you’re traveling may help keep your buttocks in excellent shape.
To perform a glute squeeze, simply tighten your gluteal muscles and hold them taut for several seconds before releasing. Repeat as often as desired to enjoy a slightly more toned gluteus maximus.
Benefits of Working Out While Traveling for Business
Traveling for business can be an enjoyable experience, but it can also be stressful. Having to navigate airport security checkpoints and wait for your flight can be tedious. Now that health screening checkpoints are also becoming more prevalent. Traveling for business can feel like a risky venture.
You may spend the majority of your travel time dealing with intense feelings of anxiety if you’re someone with a fear of flying, which can also be a relatively negative experience. Still, many travelers take a sigh of relief upon reaching their hotel rooms.
Unfortunately, that’s also the point at which some travelers order room service or some grub from a local delivery place. And while room service food can be tasty, as can pizza and buffalo wings, it can also be fantastically unhealthy. By the morning, your stomach may be growling with unabashed unpleasantness that lasts throughout the day.
There are far better ways to kick-off a business meeting, conference, or field call. More importantly, it is possible to eat delicious take-out meals and still feel full of energy and ready to go in the morning. The key is regular exercise.
Several benefits are associated with working out on a regular basis. Some of the most common benefits of exercise include:
- Decreased risk of heart disease
- Improved energy and focus
- Better sleep quality
- Weight loss
- Reduced risk of developing certain cancers
- Stronger muscles and bones
- Improved mood
- Lower blood sugar level
The good news is that you don’t have to have hours of free time to get a little exercise. The best and most effective exercises for business travelers can often be completed in mere minutes.
Travelers typically find themselves in seated positions, which can take a toll on their health over time. Finding a few minutes to squeeze in a few routines can be massively beneficial. Understanding these benefits may help you find the motivation you need to take those first few steps into exercising while away on business.
Without further ado, let’s explore these potential benefits in greater detail. After all, it can be difficult to summon the inspiration to tackle a challenge if you’re unaware of the rewards that await you!
Decreased Risk of Heart Disease
Exercising on a regular basis can help you reduce the risk of developing heart disease. Sadly, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. While a nutrient-poor diet of high-calorie foods can contribute to heart disease and obesity, a sedentary lifestyle can be just as damaging.
Traveling businessmen and businesswomen are often expected to remain seated during travel. This equates to hours sitting aboard airplanes, trains, and inside of vehicles. Being able to get up and stretch your legs may be an unavailable treat during these situations. As such, it’s crucial to take advantage of exercise opportunities at hotels or in office buildings.
Choosing to exercise while away on business may be an excellent way to help decrease the risk of suffering from a heart attack, a stroke, and other cardiovascular risks. Exercise may also help improve your energy levels and sense of focus.
Improved Energy and Focus
When you live a sedentary lifestyle, it can be challenging to feel energetic or focused. This can lead to a dangerous cycle of tiredness, as out-of-shape individuals are more likely to feel too tired to exercise.
However, once you take the first step into a new exercise routine, you’re already helping to change this cycle. Exercise is often recommended to those who struggle with symptoms of ADHD. It’s an excellent way to channel overwhelming feelings into a positive activity, and getting some fresh air while working out may help you focus more effectively.
When you’re exercising, your breathing more quickly, and your heart is pumping faster and harder. This means that you’re consuming more oxygen. An increase in oxygen levels has been associated with clearer, more focused thinking.
So, if you’re someone who tends to feel a little unfocused or lethargic while on a business trip, a few exercises may just be the thing to help you feel more motivated and confident. Besides, a great workout can help you get a profoundly restful night’s sleep.
Better Sleep Quality
Business meetings can be anxiety-ridden affairs. When you’re feeling stressed-out or anxious, it can be nearly impossible to get quality rest. Unfortunately, a lack of rest is only bound to make you feel more nervous, irritable, and anxious. Exercise may help you get the rest you so badly need and deserve.
Before human beings began settling into comfy civilizations, we faced many challenges, many of them physical. As such, obesity was not an issue. The act of hunting or scavenging for food was often an all-day affair, and early humans likely fell asleep rather quickly after sundown.
But with so many modern people working from behind desks, there’s less opportunity to exercise and burn-off the energy that fuels our instinctual stress response. As such, work stresses can translate to surges of adrenaline that keep us awake at night.
Spending at least thirty minutes each day on exercise could help you burn some of that nervous energy and feel more balanced. By the time night falls, you may feel relaxed and comfortable enough to fall right to sleep, even in an unfamiliar environment such as a hotel room.
One of the most widely-recognized benefits of regular exercise is weight loss. When you’re burning more calories than you’re consuming, you’re bound to lose a few pounds. Additionally, strength-building exercises can help you replace fat with denser, more structurally beneficial muscle tissue.
Many business leaders find themselves working at desks or large conference tables, and without proper exercise, this sedentary work habit can lead to weight gain. Stress-eating associated with stressful work environments or situations only increases this possibility.
But taking time to exercise each day can help individuals maintain their current weight or even shed some fat. There’s never been a better time to look better in your business attire. Besides, regular exercise may even help to reduce your risk of developing some types of cancer.
Reduced Risk of Developing Certain Cancers
Another drawback of staying sedentary is the increased risk of developing certain types of cancer, including lung cancer and colon cancer. Besides heart disease, cancer is the biggest killer in the United States. Consequently, daily exercise, combined with a healthy diet, may help you avoid two of the most significant causes of death.
Exercise helps to maintain various systems throughout the body. As we mentioned above, getting fit often helps your brain release chemicals that can make you feel calmer, happier, and more relaxed. Exercise can also help lower cortisol levels.
Cortisol is a hormone that your body releases during times of stress. While it can be useful in minute doses, it can become harmful when it’s constantly released. Cortisol may even encourage cancer cells to spread and grow. Exercise regulates the release of some hormones, including cortisol, helping to prevent cancers from overtaking healthy cells.
Stronger Muscles and Bones
Taking the time to exercise while away on business can help you enjoy stronger muscles and healthier bones. Long-term exercise may even help prevent the onset of various types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis. This is especially true of low-impact exercises that reduce wear on the joints.
While exercise may cause microscopic tears in muscle tissue, this damage is necessary for muscles to become stronger and healthier. Still, feeling sore and achy after exercising is called delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS. It is one of the primary conditions that cause individuals to quit exercising soon into their new routine.
Fortunately, the best exercises for business travelers are often relatively simple and low-impact. They can reduce the amount of soreness an individual typically experiences after exercise. Of course, if you haven’t exercised in years or decide to challenge yourself with hotel gym equipment, you may be more likely to experience muscle soreness after exercise.
The good news is that this soreness is often a sign of the development of stronger muscles and bones. Pairing regular exercises with a nutrient-rich diet may be the best way to shorten recovery time and keep skeletal tissue in tip-top shape.
Exercise can help reduce your stress levels and help you enjoy an improved mood. When you exercise, your body releases a concoction of feel-good chemicals, including dopamine. This can contribute to feelings of joy, happiness, and relaxation.
Getting your heart pumping and your body moving is also an excellent way to encourage your body to release serotonin, one of the drugs responsible for stress relief. This release of mood-regulating endorphins helps to reduce sensations of pain while also promoting a better, more cheerful mood.
Individuals struggling with anxiety or depression may find all-natural relief in regular exercise. Additionally, traveling business agents may find that exercise helps them to enter meetings feeling calm and confident.
Lower Blood Sugar Level
Another potential benefit of regular exercise is a lower blood sugar level. This benefit is particularly useful to diabetic and pre-diabetic individuals. Something as simple as a thirty-minute walk can lower blood sugar levels and help reduce dependence on injected insulin.
That’s because exercise causes circulation to improve and encourages muscles to consume more glucose for energy. As blood pumps harder throughout the body, the sugary glucose within the blood fuels muscles to keep working effectively. This naturally lowers blood sugar levels.
Of course, some individuals will still need to use insulin even after exercising regularly. Still, you may be surprised to find that exercise helps reduce many of the symptoms associated with diabetes, including heart disease and obesity.
There are plenty of opportunities to exercise and enjoy improved health, even if you’re often away on business. Taking half an hour to perform a few sit-ups, take a walk, or just even roll your shoulders and neck can make a huge difference in your energy levels, ability to focus, and overall health.
Exercising while traveling on business is fantastically straightforward. You can perform various exercises in the privacy of your hotel room, or you can choose to take advantage of your hotel’s gym. You can even attempt a few subtle exercises while at the office.
There’s no reason not to feel more limber, more confident, and more alive, so be sure to incorporate these exercises into your next business trip to enjoy a great night’s rest and a more relaxing journey.
Richard A. Lehman, LMT, CSCS
Compliment Your Body, LLC
1441 Broadway #6087
New York, NY. 10018
Compliment Your Body has been providing corporate chair massage and in-home massage therapy to New York City and the surrounding boroughs since 2004. We are local to New York City and pride ourselves on our team of local therapists. All of our therapists are hand-picked and thoroughly vetted. We don’t hire over the phone, we meet our team on the field.
Compliment Your Body believes that care is a circle. We care for our team, our team cares for the participants, and we all care for the community!
For every single in-home or chair massage, Compliment donates three meals to a New Yorker in need through our relationship with Food Bank For New York City.
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- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Public Health Screening to Begin at 3 U.S. Airports for 2019 Novel Coronavirus (“2019-nCoV”)
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- Healthline: 10 Reasons You’re Always Tired (And What You Can Do About It)
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- Healthline: What Is Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) and What Can You Do About It?
- Huffington Post: What Actually Causes Muscle Soreness When We Exercise?
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- Trondent Development Corp.: Business Travel by the Numbers
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- WebMD: Exercises to Lower Your Blood Sugar
- WebMD: What Is Dopamine?
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