There is a slightly less attractive aspect to travelling – getting on a plane. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the thrill of flying and am still amazed at how much it opens up the world. But still, flying – especially long-haul – can really take it out of you.
It’s hard not to feel exhausted and a bit unwell when you land. This is especially the case if your route isn’t direct and your itinerary involves a layover – which can be pretty tiring even if you know how to plan your layover the smart way.
Luckily, I’ve got a few tips to help you stay healthy while you fly. Here we go.
1. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
My first tip probably seems like an obvious one – but it’s the most important one, too.
When we fly at high altitudes, the changing cabin pressure reduces our blood oxygen levels. This can result in fatigue, headaches and dizziness. So how can you prevent this? You may not like it, but I’ll tell you anyway: skip the free in-flight booze.
Avoid drinks that can dehydrate you or reduce your body’s ability to absorb oxygen, like caffeine or alcohol – sorry! Instead, guzzle as many glasses of water and juice as they give you. I like to carry another liter of water on me, just to be sure.
2. Give Your Skin A Drink
It’s not just the inside of your body that should stay hydrated – the outside will want some loving care too. So make sure to apply face moisturiser, hand cream and lip balm at least once during the flight to stop your skin drying out.
That way, instead of emerging into arrivals looking like you’ve been dragged through a ditch, you’ll have that celeb high-flier glow.
3. Get Some Sleep
I know, it’s very tempting to watch as many movies as you can, or to finish that novel you can’t seem to put down. But trust me on this – staying awake for the entire duration of a long-haul flight is not a good idea.
I once watched 4 movies during a 9-hour overnight flight home. I landed at my destination early the following morning; bleary-eyed, exhausted and not at all excited to be home! My family had thoughtfully arranged a ‘welcome home’ party that day – I just about managed to stay upright until 10pm but was jet-lagged for nearly a week afterwards.
Even if your flight’s a fairly short one, a nap is still pretty important. The folks at the Sleep Advisor know all about the benefits of a good sleep; especially when you’re traveling frequently, it’s something you don’t want to give up.
So take my advice and get at least a couple of hours’ kip on the plane. You won’t regret it.
4. Bring A Few Comforts
Knowing that you should get some rest is fine and all but what if you can’t relax on an airplane? Here are a few things you can bring to help:
A travel pillow: I know, we’re getting fairly luxurious here but really, these things can make the difference between you feeling fresh and rejuvenated when you land or like an achy, grumpy mess. You don’t need to buy an expensive one at the airport; just keep an eye out in your local discount store, or plenty of outdoor markets when you’re abroad should have a selection.
A warm sweatshirt and scarf: Because on most flights I’ve been on, I’ve ended up frezing! The blanket they give you just doesn’t do it for me. Nowadays, I wrap up warm and get cosy so it’s much easier to get my forty (or fifty, or sixty!) winks.
A sleep mask: Again, somewhat of a luxury item but trust me, this can be a lifesaver when you’re flying long-haul, particularly if it isn’t through the night. On short-haul flights, it can be great for having a quick nap, too – it’s like instantly making it night-time for an hour or two. Sweet dreams…
Whatever medication you need: I know people who are absolutely terrified of flying. In fact, they need to get prescriptions for Valium or similar just so they don’t have a full-blown panic attack during take-off. I know this might not fit with the ‘healthy plane travel’ theme of this post but I think you should take whatever measures (within reason, obviously) make you feel more comfortable in the sky.
5. Remember To Stretch
This is an important tip to remember – especially if you have poor circulation. Being stuck sitting in a narrow space for over 4 hours may increase the risk of developing blog clots in your legs. Ouch. Plus, you already have a lower blood oxygen level in-flight so without moving around, blood can gather in your legs and feet – this prevents it from circulating and can cause dizziness.
To avoid this happening to you, make sure to have a short walk up and down the aisles a few times during the flight. When you’re waiting for the bathroom, try doing a few exercises such as:
- Circling your wrists and ankles to boost blood flow.
- Moving your shoulders up and down to release tension in your neck
- Holding your right arm across your chest before switching arms
- Pulling your right knee up towards your chest before switching legs.
Wearing loose clothes and pulling on some flight socks will also help to ensure your comfort and prevent swelling during the flight.
Ready For Landing?
In the days that follow your flight, make sure your self-care continues. A lot of people get colds, flus and bugs after they’ve been flying so keep your immune system strong with plenty of Vitamin C. Have a great, healthy and safe journey!
Here is another post with great tips on how to quickly recover from Jet Lag.
This post is authored by Sarah Cummings.