A New Kind of Mile High Club

Business travellers: a little activity can increase your productivity on the road by 20%

Written by Theresa Albert

Business travellers dramatically underestimate the impact that hours spent sitting in an airport lounge has on their cognitive abilities. If you’re thinking about having that drink at the airport bar, consider this: if you exercise instead, you’ll increase your productivity by 20%.

According to David Patchell-Evans, founder of Goodlife Fitness, “If you aren’t taking the time to exercise, you are a liability to the company, not an asset.”

Patchell-Evans’ tall, limber, lanky self embodies “can do” in a league more appropriate for an athlete than a businessman. He logs over 200,000 kilometres a year in air travel and still manages to keep up with his exercise regime.

Goodlife Fitness opened its first airport location this October. The gym, housed at Toronto Pearson Airport’s Terminal 1, is open to everyone and rents shoes and sweats. But Patchell-Evans says you can stay active no matter where you are.

Here are some of his tips for exercising on your business trip:

  • Take two carry-on bags and make sure to balance their weight evenly. Simply carrying them helps build core muscles but curling them even 10 times while you walk builds biceps.
  • While on the plane, use every bathroom break to stretch chest muscles. Place one hand on either side of the cabin and push your body forward leaning and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Hold for 30 seconds and suffer much less neck pain/headaches as a result.
  • Walk as much of the airport as you can before, during and between flights. Skip moving sidewalks and always take the stairs up. Doing this kind of cardio a mere 30 minutes, 3 times per week makes you more fit than 80% of the population. And you have the benefit of doing it while you’re in transit; some other less-travelled person has to fit it in between the coffee station and their desk.
  • Use your hotel room as a Pilates studio—it’s the perfect private space in which to stretch. Place one foot, ankle and calf along the back of a hip height sofa or chair bent at a right angle at the knee. Keep the standing leg straight and lean in and hold to stretch the always-tight hip and groin area.
  • Use your hotel-room bed to do straight leg bends, keep your back straight, not curled.
  • Never go straight to a meeting on time. Go 30 minutes early, leave your bag or briefcase with the receptionist and go for a walk around the block. That medium brisk pace will not make you sweaty, but it will ensure your heart rate gets up, your blood is pumping and your mind is sharp.

Goodlife’s new location is another in a growing list of airport gyms around the world. Some offer more than others (at the Fairmount Vancouver Airport’s health club, you can swim against a self-adjusted current in the three-lane lap pool) but all offer a healthier option than the scotch and soda plus sitting up nap you may have been considering.

Read: Yes, You Do Have Time to Exercise

Theresa Albert is private nutritionist who practices like no other in Toronto: she comes to you and creates systems in your life that work. In addition to being a media commentator on CTV Newschannel, CBC and Global she has two books published in Canada and the U.S.: Cook Once a Week, Eat Well Every Day and Ace Your Health, 52 Ways to Stack Your Deck

More columns from Theresa Albert

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