Like many people my work often involves travel and working away from home. It is hard enough to stay in shape when you are at home let alone when your schedule changes when you work on the road. So here’s some tips on how to keep up with your exercise program and staying motivated when you are on the road…
To start with, I NEVER go on holidays or away on business without taking my own pillow. Most pillows in hotel rooms bear closer resemblance to pillowcases than pillows and provide poor support for your neck. It is hard enough for your body to get used to a new bed without the added stress of adapting to a terrible pillow. Take your own pillow when you travel so you can start your workday without having a stiff neck.
Continuing my exercise program while away on work created a few challenges. After a late night on Thursday night and knowing that I had a late start to the day on Friday I made the energy-sapping mistake of sleeping in. When you change your wake up times, it throws out your circadian rhythm or body clock leaving you with a type of jet lag. I woke up feeling very flat and it took a lot of effort to haul myself out of bed.
The best time to exercise is at the same time in the morning. Exercising at the same time each day helps to establish a habit because research suggests that exercise can increase your metabolism by 25% for 4- 16 hours. That means more energy for your waking day if you exercise in the morning.
So what do you do if you get out of the habit of exercising? What do you do if you had one of those mornings like I did when you just want to stay under the covers.
This is where you need to come up with a big enough reason to keep up with exercising. It wasn’t until I began to focus the pain of not walking my talk that spurred me to go out and exercise. I focused on the importance for the health of my children that I am a role model. That was a reason that keeps me going.
So how do you come up with a reason that motivates you?
You find answers to these 3 questions:
What’s most important in my life?
How is exercising going to help that important thing?
How is not exercising going to hinder that important thing?
When answering these questions, don’t try to be logical about it. This is an emotional exercise. When you find an answer that causes an emotional reaction you know that you have found the ideal motivation for you.
What do you do if you can’t think of anything that gives you that reaction?
You repeat the same three questions with the word “could” inserted into it. It will help you think differently.
What could be most important in my life?
How could exercising help that important thing?
How could exercising hinder that important thing?
When you are motivated to exercise, the key to an effective exercise program is in the variety of your exercise. It is important to exercise at different intensities as if you were exercising different gears in a car. You may be wondering how to exercise at different intensities?
Here’s an example of how I exercised at different intensities during my first week on the road…
Sunday exercise: a long 60-minute jog done at snails pace
Monday exercise: It was rest day so I went for a relaxing walk
Tuesday exercise: 4x 150-meter sprints at a local park
Wednesday exercise: push-ups and sit ups and stretches in my hotel room
Thursday exercise: rest
Friday exercise: 4x 3minute runs with 2-minute rest breaks in between at local park
Saturday exercise: a light jog for 20-30 minutes at the local park
This variety aids recovery and helps prevent injuries and is a lot more effective way of boosting your fitness in a healthy way.
Just remember that I have come from a sporting and exercise background and have regularly exercised over the years and have just become a bit slack over the last 6 months. If you aren’t used to exercise or you are concerned how your knees, hips and ankles will cope with the added workload you can adapt this exercise program to suit your circumstances. You can choose an exercise that you enjoy like walking or cycling but it is important for you to puff when you exercise.
Sometimes when we travel the weather may not be conducive to exercising outdoors or you may not feel safe being alone in an unknown area. Consider packing elastic resistance bands and a skipping rope in your suitcase toprovide you with some extra exercise options in the comfort of your hotel room.