Frequent flying might seem like both a gift and a curse. Some frequent fliers are living a dream that many of us can only fantasize about. Seeing the world and eating gourmet exotic foods (all on the dime of their company), could make any office-dwelling worker fume a bit.
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, however. In fact, the frequent fliers of the world are being exposed to more pitfalls than are worth living the proverbial dream.
For starters, frequent business trips make you age faster – and, no, it isn’t just crossing time zones so often. Jet lag, by itself, can cause all sorts of negative effects such as: confusion, memory impairment, and blocking important faculties that are in control of aging. Science has shown us that certain genes play a large role in the aging process. Going on business trips more often than is recommended – two every couple of months, if you are wondering – can really hinder those genes’ abilities to make sure you age at a normal rate.
If that wasn’t bad enough, jet lag can do even more damage to your mind, mood, mental health, and even your physical being. For one, constant sleep deprivation and a state of confusion can put you more at risk of mental health issues. Stress is the not-so-subtle killer and driver when it comes to a lot of health breakdowns. Being constantly tired, disoriented, and bustling through crowded airports with cancellations or gate changes? Not exactly the same as meditating quietly, is it?
The point is, your brain and body need a break or healthy balance between business trips and a normal routine to unwind a bit. As much as your mind is bound to suffer from frequent business trips, your body is not excluded either. Traveling doesn’t usually allow for the healthiest of foods, nor the time to make them. If you’re on a business trip, the chances are that you are going to grab something quick and easy from the local areas or at the airports and choke it down. As such, frequent trips pose a huge risk of obesity and all of the unpleasant side effects that come with it. Managing jet lag is already a challenge, but poor food habits and a messed up circadian rhythm (which is the official term for your internal clock), are all a recipe for those business trips to wreak havoc on your overall health.
That havoc is serious enough not only to mess with your health, but it can also make it a lot harder to battle infections, viruses, and illness in general. Business trips weaken immune systems which can make carrying on strong on those trips, or in general, a nightmare. It’s much easier to get sick at high altitudes and the effects can follow you for quite some time. In general, air sickness is a common infliction for many, even frequent fliers. Those sickness bags are there for a reason. It’s unfortunate they don’t provide them for everyday travel because those frequent trips can mean you’ll need one with you as much as you might need some cold medicine, tissues, and a general arsenal of anti-cold tools.
Of course, a weakened immune system also opens the door to many more serious issues, especially if the aging issues are anything to go by. Poor food habits, poor mental health, and a weakened immune system don’t mix well, especially if your frequent business trips take you to remote areas of the world where the risk of disease is more abundant. Travel is great. Seeing the world is a common dream amongst those stuck in the office or just stuck in a rut, but forgetting to take care of yourself (especially with business trips slowing and keeping your body from working at maximum capacity), isn’t worth it
If that wasn’t enough of a reason to be turned off of those frequent flier miles, here’s one more big reason to be wary of frequent travel – radiation. Radiation exposure is much more frequent at higher altitudes. If you hadn’t guessed, it’s not going to awaken any mutant superpowers, it’s going to do you harm. Of course, certain amounts of radiation are considered normal, as it is an every day reality that humanity has to live with. However, tests on frequent fliers have shown that the radiation detected on them is much higher than the allotted public exposure ratio. Some have even referred to frequent business travelers as “radiation workers”. Ouch, right? The fact still stands: radiation is a big problem for frequent travelers. Look at any of the studies on radiation found in seasoned travelers and it is definitely enough to put plenty of people off.
In short, living any dream comes with its upsides and downsides. The important thing to remember is that it is hard to live a dream if you aren’t living. While that may seem a bit morbid, the truth is that you are unlikely to reason with your company that frequent trips are slowly killing you. The upside is that there is plenty of good tips out there to make frequent business travel a bit easier on you, as well as giving you access to tools needed to protect your health, both mental and physical.
If you are a frequent traveler, either for business or pleasure, the goal of this article is to essentially make sure that you know the risks of the lifestyle and have a starting point on ways to better take care of yourself. Every lifestyle comes with some negatives to it, that is just a fact of life. It comes down to the responsibility of the traveler to make sure that they find the balance between living with the pleasures of travel as well as the consequences. Knowing the downsides is just the first step to improving your situation and making the most of it.
Live the dream as you please, and enjoy it! Just remember – take care of yourself!
Featured photo credit: rodeime via flickr.com