Kudos to Those Who Fit in Fitness While Travelling

I’m talking here about travelling for work, when you are on a tight schedule, and probably struggling with different time zones. Throw in security challenges too, depending on where you are going.

Sam has written about her ways of fitting in fitness while travelling for work here, and Cate has written extensively about her adventurous bike travels through Bulgaria and Vietnam.

It has been a while since I have travelled for work, and last week’s trip was the first since I started blogging here. Naturally, it meant I had to think about how I would fit in fitness activities. If nothing else, it helped me cope with the anxiety of travelling for the first time in over three years.

Rule number 1: don’t cram so much into your day that you can’t take advantage of the facilities available to you. I flew to Ouagadougou from Ottawa on a Saturday morning. With delayed flights and a five hour time difference. I got to my hotel room at around midnight on Sunday. I was picked up for my first meeting at 7:15 the next morning. We went all day, had a work dinner, had a similar early morning followed by a long flight to Cotonou, arriving at the hotel at around midnight again. Three days later, I flew back to Ottawa. On my second-last night, I did make it to the pool for a short swim.

Bright blue swimming pool with a patio, hotel and night sky in the background.

Rule number 2: Take advantage of incidental opportunities to move. In Cotonou, I walked with a colleague to a restaurant for dinner one night, and another evening we walked to the beach to see the sunset. We could have been better about walking at the airports. There was time, but hauling our bags around just to look at shops was not appealing.

A woman in a black dress is standing on a beach facing away from the camera. She is taking a picture of the water and setting sun.

Rule number 3: Zoom and YouTube are wonderful things. I did manage to take my two Zoom ballet classes, but at a cost: with the time zone differences, one was at 11:00 pm and the other was at midnight. YouTube yoga or other classes would have been great too.

An iPad sits on a coffee table in a hotel room with an orange chair and curtains. The screen shows my dance teacher wearing black, standing in the ballet studio.

Rule number 4: if you can’t exercise, or just don’t feel like it, don’t sweat it. You may have a supercharged schedule, or be completely jet lagged. You may be required to travel everywhere by car for security reasons. You may just feel like reading a book. It’s all good. Enjoy what down time you can find.

After all, you are there for work, and your first priority is to make sure you are in the best shape (for you) to deliver on your work commitments. For me that means walking to explore when I can, and swimming when it’s an option. But it also means getting enough sleep and leaving myself time to prepare for meetings and keep up on emails from the office.

Overall, I was happy with how I managed my first big trip in a very long time. I was able to claim several activities in my 223 workouts in 2023 challenge. I didn’t get sick. I definitely didn’t get enough sleep though, and that is something I need to work on when I travel next.

Are you travelling again for work? Are you managing to incorporate movement into your days, along with everything else? If so, congratulations! I am impressed because it is hard work.

Diane Harper is a public servant from Ottawa.

2 thoughts on “Kudos to Those Who Fit in Fitness While Travelling

  1. Great post! It reminds us both of the many opportunities for movement and of the need to prioritize. I tend to get overambitious when traveling, and then feel exerciser’s remorse at not having used facilities, rental bikes, etc. more. Doing what you feel like and picking a thing that you focus on (like that very inviting swimming pool) seems like an eminently sensible plan. Thanks!

  2. I pretty much always workout when I travel, schedule permitting. My motivation is simple; if I don’t work out, I don’t sleep. If I don’t sleep, I’m useless to my employer.

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