The Slouchy Life of the Business Traveler
Travel is a wonderful experience for many. Gathering your things and boarding a plane or climbing into a car to set off into the distance, away from chaos where no emails or phone calls can reach you is a feeling many of us look forward to all year. Depending on your occupation, a lucky handful of us get to travel all the time—but are they actually lucky?
The Economist released an article earlier this week titled The sad, sick life of the business traveller, which highlights some of the negative effects business travel has on an individual, based on a new study recently released by the University of Surrey in Britain, and Linnaeus University in Sweden.
This raises the question: besides the accumulation of frequent flier miles, is business travel really something we should be jealous of?
The effects of hypermobility, a consequence of frequent business travel, break down into 4 categories: physiological, psychological and emotional, and social. The physiological effects being the most common and obvious—these include the well-known afflictions like jet lag, as well as deep vein thrombosis, and exposure to germs and excess radiation (for people who travel more than 85,000 miles per year).
The rest of the categories are more metaphysical, but is still as much a burden on the business traveller as the physiological effects are. These include increased stress from accumulated workload during travel time (read: inbox overload), loneliness from being cut off from regular social interactions found in traditional offices and occupation, as well as suffering relationships with family and friends, due to their frequent absence at home and at local social gatherings.
One area not covered in the study or the article is the toll hypermobility takes on your back and posture. The long hours spent confined in the unforgiving airplane seats can cramp up your back and stiffen your neck, leading to increased back pain and contribute to making an already unenjoyable experience to a painful one, too. Often times back pain is a result of poor posture, so one of the best prevention and treatment method is to train yourself to sit tall, stand straight and get up and move more. You’ll soon notice spinal relief and even a rise in your mood and productivity.
Unfortunately, this is already a challenge for folks who spend their time in traditional office spaces. So add in the stress of travel, the uncomfortable airplane seats, and the inability to get up and walk around as you please to the mix, and you can only imagine how difficult it might be for travelers to achieve good, healthy posture.