If you're among the millions of Americans who have resolved to get healthy in 2016, something that could have easily derailed your efforts in the past is business travel. These days, however, the road can just as easily be friend to your wellness goals as it can be foe, according to corporate wellness expert Jayne McAllister, author of "Mile High & Healthy: The Frequent Traveler's Roadmap to Eating, Energy, Exercise, and a Balanced Life."
"Any time we can maintain healthy habits while traveling, we are doing great," said McAllister, owner of Jayne McAllister Travel Wellness, which provides corporate wellness programs to companies with frequent business travelers. "Traveling can be demanding for anyone who is even remotely health conscious, but times are changing as indicated by exciting new trends that facilitate keeping a healthy mind and body on the road."
Here are five of those exciting new trends, according to McAllister, who says they will make it easier than ever for business travelers to be well wherever they are:1. Health Oriented Hotels
Said McAllister: "It used to be that you stayed in a hotel that boasted a mediocre workout room down the end of a dark corridor and a restaurant with one menu item highlighted as heart healthy. Business travelers now have true wellness options in the shape of hotels whose brand is geared toward the health-conscious traveler. IHG's EVEN Hotels has been going strong in the mid-price range for a couple of years now. At the luxury end of the market, famed gym brand Equinox is entering the hospitality business and developing its first hotel in Manhattan, which is due to open in 2018. The property will include a 60,000-square-foot fitness center. The trend has filtered to mainstream properties, which have amped up their facilities for healthy travel. Westin has long led the way with its WestinWORKOUT rooms, followed by other hospitality groups such as the Trump Hotel Collection's Trump Wellness signature program. Since 2012, the MGM Grand in Las Vegas has offered dedicated Stay Well rooms, designed by Delos, which include … an air purification system, aromatherapy, long wave night lighting, and vitamin C-infused showers."2. Airport Exercise
Said McAllister: "Passengers are taking advantage of airport down time to get moving to counter the effects of being sedentary and stationary. Many airports now boast walking paths and yoga rooms. In 2016, gyms are joining shops, restaurants, and bars as airport concessions thanks to a startup company called AirFit. Facilities will include a state-of-the-art workout room, showers, clothing purchase/rental, and luggage storage. First up is New York John F. Kennedy International Airport, followed by San Francisco International Airport, and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport."
Said McAllister: "Meditation for corporate executives is becoming more common. Many companies are bringing in meditation specialists to teach their executives how to focus, think more clearly, and make better, more profitable decisions. Meditation works especially well for business travelers, who are subject to more stress than non-traveling, as it can be practiced anywhere, including on airplanes and in hotel rooms. Apps are available to guide neophytes through the process of meditating. With flight delays or other curveballs that are often thrown at the frequent traveler, the passenger can retreat into a meditation rather than an airport bar or their laptop … The results of a sustained meditation practice are increased resilience, emotional intelligence, creativity, focus, and improved relationships."4. Personal Time
Said McAllister: "'Bleisure' is a fast growing trend of combining leisure time with business trips. Nearly half (46 percent) of business travelers add personal days to all or most of their business trips. The major reasons for this trend … include wanting to explore new cities, to gain cultural experience and knowledge, and to contribute to work/life balance. Three in five business travelers are more likely to take a bleisure trip than they were five years ago. For most companies, the practice of adding leisure time to a business trip is a win-win. Employees are less likely to burn out and are therefore more productive."
5. Doing Less to Produce More
Said McAllister: "Doing more doesn't make you more productive. Presenteeism is becoming the new absenteeism, especially for mobile workforces. For example, a traveling executive might be tired but feels compelled to work on a plane to make good use of time in the air. Or they might travel home on a Sunday and present themselves at the office on Monday, ready for business as usual. In both scenarios, they might have been exhausted but they have gone through the motions of working yet not performing to optimum capacity. Without the right amount of rest, the work completed on the plane may have to be redone, or the employee returning to the office may not be fully present and effective. The best companies are recognizing that traveling employees need time to recover from travel and allow time off or time working from home to do this."