Traveling for business can be challenging even if you do it occasionally. There are a lot of things to coordinate, and sometimes arrangements don’t go as planned. And being away from home for an extended period of time can be detrimental to one’s health.
A new study shows that business travellers who leave home for more than two weeks a month are particularly susceptible to anxiety and depression and also have more trouble sleeping than those who travel less than one week a month.
According to researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, excessive travel is even worse for those who drink alcohol (they are more likely to have problems with dependence). The study also found that those who travelled 21 or more nights a month were more likely to smoke and be sedentary.
Researchers examined the health records of 18,328 people and determined that travelling frequently can cause serious health problems, such as deep vein thrombosis, jet lag, and exposure to radiation from commercial flights. The study was published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
According to the Global Business Travel Association Foundation, 503 million people travelled for work-related business in 2016 alone and more people are travelling every year.
One way to counter the effects of excessive travel is exercise and eating healthy meals. The study concluded: “Employers should provide programs to help employees manage stress and maintain health while travelling for work.”
“Employers should provide employees who travel for business with accommodations that have access to physical activity facilities and healthy food options,” added Andrew Rundle, associate professor of epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health.
In previous studies, Rundle found a link between frequent business travel and obesity as well as high blood pressure.
There are ways to make business travelling easier. Digital apps can help you get around unfamiliar airports and cities and keep in touch with your employer or employees. Spending a little extra on perks such as nonstop flights and wi-fi hot spots are also useful.