How often do you travel for business?
If you answered six or more nights per month, consider trying to reduce the amount of time you spend away from home. Business trips are often portrayed as glamorous and fun, but they come with significant health risks. Spending more than six nights a month on business travel is associated with higher rates of obesity, alcohol dependence, depression, stress and anxiety, sleep disorders, smoking, and poor exercise. The risk increases the more nights you spend away from home, with the highest risk seen at 21 or more nights traveling each month.
It’s no secret that travel of any kind is hard on the body. It can be hard to find fresh, nutritious food on the go, and many people use alcohol to combat the stress of catching flights and attending meetings. Not to mention the jet lag: switching between time zones upsets your circadian rhythm, leading to sleep and mood disorders. Additionally, most travelers spend their time seated in planes, trains, buses and cars, with little opportunity to stretch and exercise. Put it all together, and your body and mind are literally working to stay alive rather than helping you conduct business successfully.
If you can’t reduce the nights you spend away from home, think about talking to your doctor about ways to manage risk factors. Even small changes such as finding time to exercise or packing your own healthy lunch for the plane could make a big difference in your overall health.