Long Days on Board. Should I Sleep More or Exercise?

After working long days on board Stews often wonder if they should skip their exercise and sleep more the next day.  The answer completely depends on the person and the situation, however, there are ways you can gauge what is best for you in the moment.

Choose your Exercise

After a 12-15 hour day, 30 minutes of Cardio or a very intense HIIT workout may not be the best for your health.  Rather, choose efficient toning exercises you can do in a short period that will raise your heart rate a bit but not wear you out more than needed.  This will keep your muscles toned so you don’t lose them when you’re not able to do longer workouts.

Try:  10 Min Arms & Abs

15x Tricep Dips

15x Pushups

15x Plank elbow to knee

1 minute Plank

Repeat for a total of 10 minutes


Know your body

If you’re completely worn out from working and have not had a break all day, you may need the extra rest.  Plan to workout a few days a week if you can and take special care of areas of your body that need rest or stretching.   Maybe, instead of a toning intense workout, you might choose to do 10 minutes of stretching/yoga instead.  Either way your body will thank you for the movement and care.

Give yourself a chance to have the most energy

When you’re tired and over worked, the last thing your body needs to do is fight off junk food and heavy, greasy meals.  Eat more fruits and veggies than you normally would and plan ahead to have healthy snacks at your disposal.  This may include fruit,  fruit and nut bars, rice cakes etc.

In addition, don’t forget to drink plenty of regular water.  Add lime or other fruit for taste and to boost vitamins and minerals.


Let it Go

Ultimately, if you can’t exercise as much as you normally would because you’re working long hours without a break, let the mental chatter about it go.  Do what you can, when you can and resolve to not give up entirely just because you’ve had some time off.

Eventually, you’ll recover from the long hours and you’ll be able to get back into your healthy lifestyle again.




  • When my sister work as a stewardess on a yacht, she sad that sleep did more benefit to her. It’s because she did lot of work and in a way, she was already having exercise.

    • Angela Orecchio says:

      Marko, that’s true and certainly for the interior, we get a lot of walking done. I find that often the exercise the interior crew are doing, such as vacuuming is not balanced, however, so injury can often occur easier. This is why toning and strength exercises are particularly important. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve hurt my neck and back in the past from carrying trays and not having a strong core, back and arms!

  • Luxury Ranks says:

    Angela – another great post. You bring up a great question… more exercise or sleep when time is short. Sleep is obviously needed, but so is exercise. It’s quite the dilemma when you only have so many hours in a day.

    A few of our clients are yacht staff agencies and through a few conversations with staff managers, it seems like they recommend just like you, if you do exercise, keep it short, simple…just enough to keep your heart and muscles healthy.

    I know that when I have limited time, I like to grab the jump rope and go for a few minutes. It’s quick, it works out almost all of the muscle groups and would be something that yacht staff could definitely find time to do!

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