Top 5 Ways to Stay Fit on the Road

wellness_d1Internationally recognized health and wellness expert Uche Odiatu offers tips for business travelers in this Top 5 list. He will present “Fit to LEAD: The Health and Fitness Performance Advantage” today at 1:15 p.m.

Most of us are under the illusion that we have to run for 30 minutes to an hour to get a decent workout in. This isn’t the case. A recent University of Iowa study of 55,000 middle-aged people showed that as little as seven minutes a day of running at any speed could cut your chance of cardiovascular disease in half.

Interval training is “the new black.” American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) studies have shown that alternating short bursts of high-intensity exercise with low-intensity efforts can be extremely beneficial — think alternating walking with fast walking between lampposts on the streets outside convention centers.

Sitting is the new smoking. New evidence shows the more hours you sit each day, the greater the likelihood of earlier mortality, regardless of how many pairs of sneakers you own. Sedentary living, especially extended sitting, shuts down your metabolism. An Australian study recommends that for every 30 minutes of sitting, you ought to stand or walk around for two minutes.

Stand, stretch, and deliver. There is an increased risk of falling as we age due to deterioration of the nervous and muscular system. A study in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, published by ACSM, reported that people who practiced tai chi had improved functional balance and suffered less falls. The takeaway? If there is a yoga class or tai chi class nearby, take off your heels and train your brain for better balance.

Sudoku is one way to boost your brainpower. Another way is by taking a Zumba or ballroom-dancing class at a gym close to your hotel on the road. Harvard professor John Ratey writes in his groundbreaking book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain that any exercise that makes you breathe harder and think at the same time boosts BDNF, or brain-derived neurotropic factor, which acts like Miracle-Gro for your brain.