Health and Fitness Tips for Conference Travelers

October 2019
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The PRSA 2019 International Conference will be held later this month, Oct. 20–22 in San Diego, Calif. Every year that I attend the annual conference I learn new things, meet new people and come away inspired to play a larger role in advancing the profession and the professional. 

The reality of conferences like this one, however, is that while attending them we spend a lot of time sitting and eating (too) well, and we forget to take care of ourselves. Here are three tips for protecting your health and wellness during conferences in general: 

Determine your goals for attending 

If you were your own client, what would you recommend that you prioritize at your next conference? What is your goal? By making this determination in advance, you can focus on what’s most important to you. 

My goal for the San Diego conference is to share my weight-loss journey with others and to engage with people who want to learn more about how to incorporate health and wellness into their work lives — and to thereby reduce stress and advance in their PR careers.

Prepare before your trip 

Business travel can be stressful. Deciding what to pack, finalizing travel logistics and managing meeting schedules are just some of the factors that can increase our stress levels. 

To compound the issue, spending long days at a conference can cause us to let our guard down at night — which in turn can lead to poor decisions about what to eat and drink before going to bed. We tend to forget that our bodies might not recover right away the following morning. As a result, by the time we get home we might discover that we’ve gone back to square one in our efforts to take better care of ourselves.

Before leaving for your next business trip, answer these two important questions:

What will you eat? If a dinner is scheduled for a specific restaurant, research the menu online and determine in advance what you want to eat to be sure it suits your health and wellness plan. This way, you won’t have to make another decision during your trip.

How will you make time to incorporate exercise into the trip? The hotel hosting this year’s PRSA Conference has a map of one-, two- and three-mile walking/running routes, so I’m already prepared for how I’ll exercise before heading to San Diego. I also bring a resistance band on my trips, which I use in my hotel room to do simple dynamic-stretching exercises that loosen up my body before I start my day. These exercises warm up my muscles and make me feel accomplished and mentally and physically prepared for the day ahead.

Expect changes in plans

In business travel, the only constant is change. Some changes are frustrating, such as last-minute alterations to schedules or travel plans. Others are positive. You might attend a session that inspires you to spend the next several hours creating the next great idea for your client. 

You also might run into someone you haven’t seen for a while. But because conferences often offer free food and drinks, a short conversation with an old friend can turn into a five-hour dinner.

Regardless of changes that may occur on your trip, remember that your health depends on you staying the course. Having an accountability partner is great, but your health and wellness journey is your plan. 

I recommend preparing for contingencies. For example:

  • “I will only have one drink tonight. If I’m offered a second drink, I will.…”
  • “If no gluten-free food options are available, I’m prepared because I will instead eat.…” 
  • “If the hotel’s fitness facility doesn’t have the equipment I like, I will.…”

By determining your conference goals in advance, thinking ahead about meals and exercise, and spending a few minutes to prepare mentally for the trip, you will be ready for a great event. 

I look forward to seeing you in San Diego. 

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