Aussies struggle to keep fit while travelling: study

For most of us, fitness isn’t such a big priority while travelling.

Particularly if you’re like us and use travel as an excuse to completely avoid exercise and eat as much food as possible.

Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) has released new research on the health and wellness routines Aussies adhere to while travelling, which found that 61 per cent of Aussie travellers admitted to doing less exercise while travelling.

CWT’s connected Travel Study surveyed 1900 business travellers, aged from 25-65, with data collected across the entire Americas, Europe and the Asia region.

While the study focused primarily on those who travel for work, the findings are important for leisure travel as well and point out a key market travel agents often miss.

To find out more about the study, we had a chat with CWT Australia and New Zealand’s managing director Michael Ryan, who also happens to be an avid fitness fanatic.

Ryan told us the that of those surveyed, 45 per cent of business travellers aren’t getting enough rest, 50 per cent say they’re likely to exercise while travelling, and only 49 per cent said they stay connected with family and friends.

“What was concerning though was only 61 per cent said they tend to get less exercise on business travel than usual,” he said. 

“Nearly 1 in 5 said they didn’t adhere to normal routines.”

“If you look at the changes in routine in diet and sleep pattern, and the fact that people are getting less exercise than usual, it can create some pretty significant issues related to diet and sleep pattern.”

“People generally believe that when you travel more, you’re more likely to get sick, and the data definitely confirms this.”

“Particularly with very heavy travellers, there’s a strong correlation between those who travel all the time for their work and illness.”

Ryan told us that leisure travellers experience much of the same problems, even though they might not be as pushed for time as business travellers, the temptation to stray from your fitness and wellbeing routines can be even stronger.

“You’re also exposed to a lot of excesses while travelling which can make people fall off the wagon when travelling for work.”

“People generally love good food and good wine and entertainment and travel only magnify these desires.”

“When you’ve only got a few hours to spare people generally you want to experience the food, the people and the culture of that environment.”

“So it’s the exercise, the healthy eating and the sleep that fall by the wayside.”

“With leisure travel, you’re not experiencing the same outside time limits, generally, so you don’t have those nuances around time but the same challenges exist in terms of planning and keeping up routines and the same temptations exist if you’re travelling for corporate or leisure.”

For Ryan, it all comes down to maintaining your healthy habits while travelling.

“I think if travelling for business is part of your routine it’s really important that you adjust your habits when on the road and travelling overseas and for work,” he said.

“It’s also about the mindset you adopt.”

“The key focus is to keep up with healthy rituals, having a plan, and trying to keep regularity.”

“If you don’t normally drink champagne at 9 or 10 on the morning at home, you shouldn’t be doing that on a plane.”

Ryan said it’s up to agents to change the dialogue around the links between travel and health.

“That service for us is providing options for the traveller in terms of traveller preferences.”

“So providing hotel options relating to health and fitness, as well as locations that support a healthy lifestyle.”

“It’s about knowing healthy options and being able to recommend specific venues that cater to all that.”