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Fresh-air fitness for the business traveler

Business travelers who want to squeeze in exercise on the road have a variety of options, ranging from using portable workout gear in their rooms to hitting the hotel gym. After spending the better part of your trip confined to a stuffy airplane, conference room and hotel suite, though, sometimes you just need to get outside.
If you've got the time, an outdoor workout can not only give you a chance to explore your destination, it might also be the best remedy for work-related stress.
If you've got the time, an outdoor workout can not only give you a chance to explore your destination, it might also be the best remedy for work-related stress.Forbes.com
/ Source: Forbes

Business travelers who want to squeeze in exercise on the road have a variety of options, ranging from using portable workout gear in their rooms to hitting the hotel gym.

After spending the better part of your trip confined to a stuffy airplane, conference room and hotel suite, though, sometimes you just need to get outside. If you've got the time, an outdoor workout can not only give you a chance to explore your destination, it might also be the best remedy for work-related stress.

One way to find walking, running, hiking and biking routes is to ask your hotel's concierge. Of course, he or she might not know the important details, such as the difficulty level, or have precise directions. "I've interviewed a lot of people for my book who ended up on these 15-mile death marches," says Suzanne Schlossberg, author of "Fitness for Travelers: The Ultimate Workout Guide for the Road". "If you don’t know where you're going, it's pretty easy to make a wrong turn and go way too far."

Fortunately, several Web sites have popped up in the past few years that direct road warriors to great trails around the world, as well as share access to training logs, fitness-oriented hotels, local running groups and community discussion boards.

, for instance, provides subscribers with city descriptions, hotel recommendations based on workout facilities, restaurants with healthy options and even outposts for workout gear. The site also lists workout suggestions for each location, ranging from health clubs and pools to printable running routes.

For those looking to map out their own running routes or access tips and existing courses without a fee, there's the Map My Fitness collection of sites. In addition to the main hub, MapMyFitness.com, there are five branded sites that include MapMyRun.com, MapMyRide.com for cyclists, MapMyWalk.com, MapMyTri.com for triathletes and MapMyHike.com.

With the tools to create a personal exercise route, "business travelers [have] the choice of choosing their own workouts—the 'when' and, more importantly, the 'where,'" says Kevin Callahan, co-founder of Map My Fitness, LLC. Want to run along a waterfront instead of through a park, or wind your way past a specific monument? No problem. The sites' community sections, a relatively new feature, also let fitness-minded business travelers rate various routes, share testimonials and chat.

Callahan would eventually like to see a forum for every location, to allow travelers to connect with a running or walking partner in their destination cities—something a concierge would likely never be able to offer.

Of course, these sites won't work wonders for business travelers in every city, particularly those that aren't so scenic or trail-minded. But, considering the alternative, they're worth checking out.

"Many of our users, [when] given the opportunity of exploring a new city versus being in a mirrored sweat-tank, would take the chance of being outdoors," Callahan says.