As an interim healthcare leader, you can be on the road a lot. The interim healthcare professionals we work with. including executives, managers, and travel nurses, oftentimes take short term assignments (usually about three months) in cities all cross the US. Many move from assignment to assignment all year long. Such an interim lifestyle has a lot of advantages, including a flexible schedule, the ability to travel, and the satisfaction of helping out an organization in need. However, it can be difficult to maintain fitness and stick to healthy habits when your environment and schedule change every few months. Over the years, our interims have found ways to stay healthy and fit even while constantly on the move. Here are their tried and true tips.
Start out on the right foot on day one of your travels by not giving in to the temptation of fat and sugar-laden restaurant food. It may seem that walking through the airport is like running a gauntlet of junk food, but airports frequently have places like Cibo Express, Jamba Juice, and The Great American Bagel Company, which all offer healthier options, and you can often find food like hard boiled eggs, hummus, and fruit at kiosks placed along most concourses. Pack some protein bars and fruit to hold you over if you find yourself in a vegetable wasteland.
Most of our interim professionals stay in long-term hotels and similar lodgings that have a small kitchenette. It’s best to make full use of it rather than eating out. Buy a good stock of lean meats, nuts, vegetables, and fruits and cook for yourself whenever you can. You’ll eat less and consume less fat, salt, and sugar than you would getting a restaurant or take-out meal.
To shore up any deficiencies in a travel diet, take a daily multivitamin. It’s not a bad idea to take a little extra Vitamin C as well to help boost the immune system. Disrupted eating and exercise habits can lead to constipation and other digestive problems. A daily probiotic will help keep your gut flora healthy, and ward off these problems.
While you’re traveling it might be tempting to reduce water intake and subsequent bathroom visits, but this is actually the time to increase your water to combat the dry, dehydrating air of the plane, and stave off bloating and swollen ankles. Keep the water going when you reach your destination. It’ll keep your mucus membranes moist which will help you ward off germs, and help you keep your energy up so you can avoid the mid-afternoon slump.
Most hotels offer at least small fitness facilities and you should use them to their full advantage. Even an 80s model treadmill can give you a good workout if you use it right. If this isn’t an option, some gyms like Planet Fitness offer pay-by-the-month memberships and are open 24/7. Many major cities have bicycle and running tours that combine exercise and education, and most big parks offer guided hikes. Google can help you find and take advantage of whatever the local area offers.
If all else fails, you can turn your hotel room into a workout space, and take advantage of the plethora of apps on the market that walk you through at-home, body-weight based workouts. These exercise plans typically require no more than a mat and some motivation, but are still quite effective at improving strength, flexibility, and overall fitness.
Admittedly it will take some planning and determination to maintain fit, healthy habits on the road, but it’s not impossible. Make up your mind to incorporate these tips and when you fall off the wagon, get back on and try again!