Be it globetrotting wonderlust, exotic vacations or family celebrations, summer beckons travel. Since time and convenience are paramount, there’s most likely a flight and flight connections to your destination, but hours in the air can leave you vulnerable to a myriad of health issues such as DVT, muscle stiffness and fatigue.

So, how do you avoid health issues while traveling?

Follow these simple fitness moves and tips from the experts for a happier, healthy landing:

“Begin by dressing comfortably,” suggests Dr. Angela Bagnulo, D.C., Chiropractor with Performance Medicine & Sports Therapy. “You will always need a sweater or light jacket for changing cabin temps, but you can also fold it for use behind your lower back for extra support.”

She also recommends a neck pillow to prevent forward craning neck pain and awkward sleeping positions, and warns that while chatting with your seat neighbor your neck can become strained and muscles tightened. “Be sure,” adds Dr. Angela, “to take breaks often to rotate your head in the opposite direction. Also, while sitting, do ankle circles in one direction and then another, bend and straighten your legs, and lift and lower your knees to aid in blood circulation.”

All experts seem to agree that lack of blood circulation should be of great concern to all passengers. DVT, or Deep Vein Thrombosis, a blood clot that develops in a vein, usually in a leg, can be quite dangerous, advises Herbert DuPont, M.D., specialist in travel medicine and Director of the Center for Infectious Diseases at the University of Texas School of Public Health.

“Combat dehydration by drinking water, and lots of it. And as a bonus, by drinking more water you make more trips to the bathroom, encouraging movement down the aisle. In addition, avoid crossing legs at the ankles or knees, and change positions often. All help prevent DVT,” says Dr. DuPont.

Frequent flyer takeaway tips:
To help prevent muscle tightening and DVT, try these stealthy in-seat fitness moves: shoulder rolls, arm stretches, and kegels. Here’s how to do it:
• Take a deep breath and as you exhale, do full-circle shoulder rolls, forward and back.
• Stretch each arm reaching fingertips to the ceiling as if to adjust the air flow or turn on the light.
• And why not use this time to do a few quiet pelvic tilts; you recall those infamous kegels from the past, right?
• Prior to boarding, buy a large bottled water to consume when the attendants are not accessible.
• Natural eye drops and a facial spritz, such as Evian or chamomile, will refresh and revive you.

Now, just in time for the final approach, you’re refreshed and rejuvenated.

With the plane now in the gate, stand up, engage your core, and take a final stretch to reach that bag in the overhead.

Bicep curls await you in baggage claim!

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About The Author

Debbie Slade Smith

Debbie Slade Smith is certified in Fitness for Midlife Women through the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America. She is a wellness advocate, educator, speaker, co-author, wife, and mom. She began her wellness journey in her late 50's after losing her mom to heart disease. She teaches Zumba and other group fitness classes and was chosen for the first national team of REAL WOMEN OF GO RED, the American Heart Association's initiative to empower women to take charge of their health.