Finding time to exercise on the road.

The holidays have come and gone, and with them parties, late nights, and food. Lots and lots of food. This is the time of year that just about all 1-8-15-2of us are trying to shed some of the extra pounds accumulated during all of the holiday merriment.  You would think having so many people with the same resolution would make it for everyone….unless you’re a business traveler.   When I travel for business it’s hard to find time to sleep enough, much less find time for exercise or search for healthy food which is a double whammy (here’s a post I did a while back with ways to eat healthy while traveling).  Here are tips for finding little bits of time to exercise during business travel. 

Airport stroll.  If you make it through security quicker than expected first go to your gate, and if the plane hasn’t arrived walk up and down the terminal until you see your plane arrive.  Don’t go too far from your gate if it’s a big terminal because you don’t want to chance missing your boarding group, but as long as you’re paying attention it’s a great way to get in a few extra steps. Etiquette tip: Don’t look at your phone while doing this, as I’ve been knocked into by people paying more attention to their phone than where they are walking. Not to mention this can also help you build up a little more steam when you’re focused on your walking which should burn more calories.

Don’t stand on moving sidewalks.  If you want to get in some extra steps and get to your gate quickly use the moving sidewalk as a way to get in some more walking time.  It’s not much exercise, but you got to take the opportunities where you can get them.  If for some reason you ever choose to stand on a moving sidewalk, please make sure people who are walking can get by you and your luggage.  There’s nothing more frustrating than having someone on a moving sidewalk blocking the path for others to get by.

Stay within walking distance from the office.  If weather permits and it makes sense logistically, try staying at a hotel that is close enough for you to walk to your place of business.  Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to stay close to where you are doing business (as I point out in this post about choosing a business travel hotel) but when it does this is a great way to sneak in some much needed exercise.

Work and ride.  If your hotel has a gym, try working on your phone while you ride an exercise bike.  This way you can stay productive and get a really good work out at the same time!  Working while I ride an exercise bike is always a great distraction for me to push myself to ride longer.  Other times I can listen to conference calls while walking on a treadmill. (Make sure you won’t be talking during that meeting though; I’ve been on calls with people walking on treadmills while leading a discussion and it can be….distracting, to say the least.)

Walk to a restaurant.  Go on Yelp or Urbanspoon and find a quality restaurant within walking distance.  Be cognizant of the area you are staying in to make sure that it is safe to walk to and from the restaurant.  I don’t recommend walking with your laptop, so if you need to work try doing it on your phone instead.

Have an exercise routine before you go to bed.  After a day of traveling and working all I want to do is pass out on my comfy bed.  Try and get out that habit and instead do a quick ten minute workout before you turning in for the night.  If I’m not staying in a ridiculously tall hotel I will go to the lobby and back using the stairs before bed.  If that isn’t enough I’ll lay down a bath towel and do some sets of crunches or pushups (be sure to always stretch before doing any type of workout).  The key is getting in the habit of doing this, just like brushing your teeth before bed.  Once you get in the habit it will get easier.   Plus this exercise routine tires me out even more which helps me sleep like a baby.

One last thing—a few months ago I got the Misfit Shine fitness tracker. It won’t work for everyone, but a fitness tracker of some sort will often encourage you to step up your fitness. I have found ever since getting my Shine I’m more willing to take that one last quick walk around the block (or hotel) to get to 10,000 steps. Every little bit helps, right?

Readers, how do you find time to exercise while traveling for business? 



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  1. I d/l the johnson and johnson exercise app and it’s great because it has a couple of short workouts that it can guide you through (7 minutes is the shortest) and even doing 1-3 of those feels like a good work out as well.

    I would also suggest that if you’re a runner/walker, getting to see some of the city you re visiting by running or walking can be fun/enjoyable (if you feel safe enough to do so).

  2. When I am traveling I make it a point to wake up extra early each day to work out, even if I normally would not work out at 5:15am if I were home. My days are usually long and activities are strung together until dinner is over. If I don’t get my workout done in the morning, it won’t happen. This usually means I’m passing out by 8pm but that’s fine by me!

    Lately, I’ve been staying in hotels where the gym has been full and I don’t feel comfortable going outside for a run (either due to climate- wrong clothes packed – or area). I got a jump rope for xmas and will bring it with me on trips from now on, so I can get cardio in even if all the gym equipment is taken.

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