Frequent flying can play havoc with your health. The risks of deep vein thrombosis to the heightened levels of cosmic radiation you may be exposed to are certainly concerns, but the unwanted effects it has on your body clock have an immediate and very obvious effect in the form of jetlag. And the increased stress you may experience if you’re a nervous flyer can leave you emotionally drained too.
Feeling great when you arrive at your destination can sound like an unachievable feat, but there is much you can do to protect your physical and mental wellbeing before, during and after flying.
Preparing For Your Flight
Avoid alcohol – choose to drink juices packed with antioxidants such as pineapple, pomegranate and passion fruit to give your system a boost. Or a mint tea to aid digestion.
Up your Vitamin C – as well as helping with your general immunity, Vitamin C helps maintain your cortisol levels and can prevent your blood pressure rising in stressful situations such as delays during check in or if you’re a nervous flyer.
In The Air
Keep hydrated – again, it can be appealing to have an alcoholic drink in flight, but being dehydrated plays havoc with your sleeping patterns and can heighten the effects of jet lag. Most recently coconut water has been touted as the best drink for hydration in flight and it contains less sugar and more than 15 times more electrolytes than the average sports drink.
Beat bloating – bring some probiotics with you to counter the effects of sitting for long periods. If you don’t take probiotics regularly, it can be a good idea to start taking them a few days before you’re going to fly too.
Rest up – while it can be tempting to use your travel time to catch up on work, try to use the time to de-stress instead. Listen to your favourite peaceful music, pack a good old fashioned book, or simply kick back and dream for a while.
Breathe – while you’re sitting, close your eyes and take a few moments to breathe properly – in through the nose and out through the mouth. Helping to calm even the most stressful moments, breathing more deeply helps to lower your heart rate and blood pressure.
Stretch it out – there’s not much space to move around in your airplane seat, but moving keeps your blood flowing and yoga can also be a great way to relieve tension. Take a look at the book Airplane Yoga by Rachel Lehmann-Haupt and Bess Abrahams to find some great moves.
Time travel – adjust your watch and clocks as soon as you take off and start thinking in the time zone you’re travelling to so that you’ve started to sync before you arrive.
Back On Terra Firma
Relax – try to build in time to rest and relax before you start the day to day bustle or business once you’ve arrived. A day off can be a great tonic to aiding fatigue and jet lag.
Stay on the soft – you’ll still be dehydrated from your flight, so keep drinking the non-alcoholic beverages and try to steer clear of too much caffeine too.
Fit in some fitness – sounds simple but if you’re on a tight timescale while travelling, fitting in time for a little light exercise is sometimes hard. Choose to walk whenever you can and you’ll be exercising while also taking in some fresh air and relaxing.
Non Health Tips To Make Flying A Breeze
Luggage allowance – make sure you know your luggage allowance and weigh your bags before you leave for the airport to avoid redistributing weight at check in.
Build in time – build in extra time at both ends of your journey to save yourself from any unnecessary rushing. Get to your gate early and don’t book meetings at the other end too early.
Dress comfortably – there’s nothing worse than sitting in uncomfortable business clothing while travelling, and it won’t be fit for purpose after sitting for the duration of your flight. Be casual, and if you need to go straight to work the other side, build in the time to change once you’ve arrived.
Frequent flying, travelling healthy
Wherever you’re flying to and for whatever reason, following this simple to implement advice can make a big difference to your flight and your trip, and can help deliver you back home fresh and fit.