How to aid recovery from jet lag with exercise

Global travel is common for men and women at all levels of business these days but it can play havoc with your circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm is essentially your internal body clock and it’s primed to respond to a regular pattern of light and darkness. When it’s thrown out of synch by jet lag the effects includes:Man asleep at desk iStock_000021062971_Small

• Fatigue
• Insomnia
• Irritability
• Poor concentration
• Reduced problem solving ability
• Low motivation

Hardly the ideal ingredients for a successful overseas business trip! The good news is that previous research has indicated exercise may not only help to adjust to a new time zone but it may even speed up the process.

How do you exercise to reduce the effects of jet lag?

• The best exercise to enhance your recovery from jet lag is the one you’re already doing as part of your normal routine at home! Do what body’s used to doing. If you regularly train at 7am at home then train at 7am overseas.

• Aim to do that exercise outdoors during daylight hours. Bright light tells your body it’s time to wake up – combine that with movement and the impact might be even more powerful.

Types of exercise to relieve jet lag:

young fitness woman running on sunrise seaside trail

• If exercise isn’t normally your thing a brisk walk can make all the difference. Literally any kind of movement will be helpful. Go for a walk about before breakfast to clear your head and map out your day.

• If like me you love running, go for a run the morning after you arrive. Lay out your clothes the night before and how ever you feel when the alarm goes off, get up and run! You’ll feel refreshed, energized and ready to face any challenge the day brings.

• If high intensity is your favoured workout take care the first couple days. This can be a tough choice when you’re tired and you risk further fatiguing yourself or even injury– not the plan you had.

• If you’re a gym bunny by all means workout at the hotel gym, but follow up with a walk outside as part of your cool down routine. If you really can’t get outside exercise by a window, if that’s not an option in the gym then cool down in your room – do anything you can to get some daylight!

• If working up a sweat is the last thing you want to do then a simple flexibility and stretching workout can be worthwhile. Wiggle your toes, rotate your wrists and roll your shoulders!

Exercise and movement kick starts your circulation freeing you from fatigue, lethargy and slow thinking. It refreshes, revitalises and sharpens your mind. Reportedly, it does this either by forcing a state of alertness or by inducing arousal in the central nervous system and thus affecting your body clock.

When you’re travelling for business, engaging in exercise outside during daylight hours amplifies the benefits. You’ll recover from jet lag faster and will be performing at your usual business pace quicker.

©  Extravitality 2015

Author: Julie Dennis
Julie Dennis is a fitness coach specializing in weight loss and body transformation results. She is a level 4 skilled personal trainer and a qualified member of the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs). Julie also holds a UK Athletics Leadership in Running Fitness qualification. Prior to training as a fitness coach and establishing herself in the health & fitness industry, Julie spent over 20 years behind a desk in London employed in a variety of roles in the management consultancy, executive search and mining industries. Whilst working as part of a global team at Rio Tinto Julie experienced first hand the challenges of incorporating fitness and wellbeing into an international travel schedule. A keen marathon runner she often found running whilst on a long a haul trip an ideal reliever for jet lag.

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