For those who spend endless nights on the road for business, the term ‘road warrior’
seems particularly appropriate. The constant packing, traveling to and from the airport, staying in touch with colleagues at the office, last-minute meeting preparation, irregular sleep, the occasional after-meeting drink and a tendency to overeat – the road warrior must balance it all while trying to maintain peace at home and staying healthy. It may seem glamorous at times and may often be rewarding. But it’s quite a challenging lifestyle.
Yet despite all your planning and all your best efforts, it just doesn’t seem fair that two days into your trip your stomach starts rumbling. The gas, bloating and cramps kick in. You realize that once again you haven’t, well, used the facilities.
It will likely come as some comfort to know that you’re not alone. According to a recent survey by Allium Research and Analytics, 48 percent of both leisure and business travelers develop constipation while traveling. There are many factors that contribute to this issue including changes in diet, dehydration, change in routine, lack of sleep or exercise, and stress. Travelers are also often uncomfortable using strange bathrooms.
But what to do? The last thing you want to do is wait for the constipation to begin and then depend on a laxative to get you going. They’re so unpredictable and let’s face it, diarrhea would be even more of a problem on your business trips. Wouldn’t it be better to try some preventive measures? Here are some suggestions for when you’re on the go, and can’t.
Dehydration is a common cause of constipation. It leads to drier stools which are harder to pass. To fight dehydration, make water a priority. Increase your fluid intake several days before the trip, aiming for two or three extra glasses per day. Then, drink even more fluids on the day of your trip. Drinks like Gatorade are especially helpful as they are filled with electrolytes. On the first few days of your trip keep a bottle of water by your side and sip it throughout the days, refilling when needed. This is a simple and effective habit that will help keep you hydrated and regular. And avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol which make you urinate more and lead to dehydration
2. Healthy Eating
Many road warriors keep odd schedules, fitting in meals when they can and eating foods that are convenient but not necessarily healthy. This change in routine coupled with lack of proper nutrition can lead to constipation on the road.
To counteract this, increase your fiber intake several days prior to departure. Focus on foods like fruits, salads and vegetables, as well as bran cereals and brown breads. When you land, be sure to add a side of vegetables or salad to every meal. You can also prepare by visiting the airport convenience store and stocking up on healthy snacks like nuts, fruit and nutrition bars. Then, try to stick with your typical eating schedule. Keeping a food journal helps with accountability and will provide a solid reference to what and when you’d typically eat at home. You don’t need to be perfect, but the more you can get into an eating routine, the better.
3. Personal Time
Other factors that cause constipation while away are stress, lack of sleep, and lack of exercise. Be sure to make time for yourself while you’re away from home. Everyday make time to do some deep breathing or meditation, stretch, or head to the gym. This will help relieve your stress and put you in a much better mood. Do not resist the urge to move your bowels when away, even though you likely prefer your ‘own bowl’. The longer you wait, the more water is absorbed from the stool by the colon, resulting in drier and harder stools that make the problem worse.
4. Be Good To Go
Finally, I now recommend a healthy supplement to help keep you regular when you’re away from home. Avoid getting to the point where you need to use laxatives. They’re too severe and unpredictable. Choose a solution that’s safe and gentle enough to avoid producing diarrhea, yet effective enough to keep you regular.
For you road warriors out there, don’t wait for the gas bloating and cramps to make you uncomfortable and sluggish. Try these preventive measures to avoid traveler’s constipation from occurring in the first place. This will keep your body feeling healthy and your mind sharp, so you can bring your A-game to every business trip. Go ahead, start traveling freely today!