Traveling across time zones can hamstring even the most robust athletes. Disruptions to sleep and nutrition—and jet lag, of course—can wreak havoc on routines. Here are a few tips for mitigating the effects of global travel on your fitness goals:
- Create a fitness travel plan: If time allows, figure out what time of day you’ll be exercising in your new time zone—and get a head start beforehand at home. A study by the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine notes that by preparing for your trip by transitioning to the time zone where you will training, you’re more likely to maintain your routine.
- Rest, move and hydrate: It’s important to keep moving during long flights of 8 hours or more. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, dehydration may cause the blood to thicken, and low cabin pressure combined with lack of movement causes blood to settle in the legs—all of which puts you at an increased risk of clotting and deep vein thrombosis. To offset these risks during your flight, limit sleep for 30 minutes at a time and drink as much water as you can throughout the flight. Walk around the cabin regularly, and try these ACE-recommended in-flight exercises.
- Bring your workout along: To exercise when you’re away from home, bring portable equipment with you. Lightweight Strength bands make perfect travel companions and provide effective resistance training from anywhere. A TRX Home Suspension Training Kit also works, helping build muscle and boost endurance using a door frame and your own body weight as resistance. And don’t forget packable yoga mats for strength building, flexibility training and stress relief.
Finally, to the best of your ability, stick with your routine upon arrival. Changing time zones can confuse your body, but maintaining your fitness schedule can help. (As in: Do you work out on an Arc Trainer at 10AM daily in San Jose? Do the same thing at 10AM in New York.)
With thanks to our sources: http://cjsmblog.com/2015/06/14/jet-lag/ and http://www.mensfitness.com/life/travel/quick-tip-fight-jet-lag-with-exercise and http://www.mensfitness.com/training/pro-tips/whats-best-workout-jet-lag