Be it globetrotting, wander-lust, exotic vacays, or family celebrations — travel beckons. And, since time and convenience are paramount, there are most likely flight and flight connections to your destination. But hours in the air can leave you vulnerable to a myriad of health issues, in addition to feeling creaky and fatigued when the wheels finally touched down.
Follow these ‘inflight fitness moves and tips from the experts for a happier healthy landing.
Healthy Travel Tips
1. Wear Double-Duty Clothing
“Begin by dressing comfortably,” suggests Dr. Angela Bagnulo, D.C., FRCCSS(C), Chiropractor with Performance Medicine & Sports Therapy in Plano TX. “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.”
Dr. Bagnulo recommends a neck pillow to prevent forward-craning neck pain and awkward sleeping positions. She also warns that while chatting with your seat neighbor is a great pastime, your neck can become strained and muscles tightened. “Be sure to take breaks often to rotate your head in the opposite direction.”
3. Hydrate Against Blood Clots
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., a specialist in travel medicine and director of the Center for Disease Control at the University of Texas at Houston School of Public Health.
In “Final Approach – Stay Healthy” published in the American Way, he states the plane’s lower humidity levels make the air dry, encouraging blood to be more concentrated which can promote DVT.
“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,” said Dr. DuPont.
Prior to boarding, buy a large bottled water to drink when the attendants are not accessible.
4. Plan to refresh
Carry-on natural eye drops and a facial spritz, such as EVIAN or Chamomile. A simple drop or spray will refresh and revive you.
5 InFlight Exercises
Stealthy in-seat fitness moves include shoulder rolls, arm stretches, ankle circles and Kegels.
- 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 airflow or turn on the light.
- 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.
- Use this time to do a few quiet pelvic tilts. And you recall those infamous Kegels from the past, right? No one will know.
- With the plane now in the gate, stand up, engage your core, and take a final stretch to reach that bag in the overhead.
But don’t let your exercise opportunities stop upon deplaning. Bicep curls await you in baggage claim!