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29 May 2012

Move it

There's something about hotel rooms that makes me childishly lazy. If there's a freshly made bed, I'll sprawl on it; if there's a complimentary chocolate, I'll devour it.

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There's something about hotel rooms that makes me childishly lazy. If there's a freshly made bed, I'll sprawl on it; if there's a complimentary chocolate, I'll devour it.

Especially on one of those work trips so packed there's barely a chance to squeeze in eating, sleeping and attending to the most cursory grooming necessities. If there's a spare moment I'll sprawl. But exercise? Please.

It's amazing how exercise always gets the chop, when we know it's an essential tool for beating jet lag and deadline anxiety, just as vital as good nutrition and rest to keep us calm, alert and functioning at our best. And well-toned travel is now not only healthy, it's trendy too.

When really together 21stcentury business travellers call for room service these days, they're calling for yoga mats and fold-up exercise bikes. Hoteliers report a shift away from the wine-dine-work mode of 20 years ago, towards guests seeking to integrate workouts and better balance generally into business trips. Hotels are responding accordingly, with everything from exercise DVDs and equipment for use in the privacy of your room, to revamped gyms, to staff-led morning jogs.

Swopping watts for meals

My favourite example is at the Crown Plaza Copenhagen Towers, which boasts electricity-generating exercise bikes with iPhones mounted on the handlebars to monitor how much power you're producing. Your efforts are fed into the mains supply of the hotel, and any guest producing 10 watt hours or more gets rewarded with a free meal.

Even if you feel you don't have time to make use of such offerings, don't let yourself off the exercise hook. Medical scientists say that, compared to none, even a little exercise offers benefits; short bursts of a few minutes do wonders, and there are always 5- and 10-minute opportunities in any trip.

If you've got time to brush your teeth, you've got time to do a couple of squats too. If there's time to stand in a checkout queue, there's time for a few calf raises. Get up, stretch, bend, stroll. Whenever you can during the often ironically static process that is modern travel, remind yourself that you're a living organism that needs and loves to move.

- Olivia Rose-Innes, Enviro and Travel Health Editor, Health24, updated April 2012 

 
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