As many of our patients prepare to fly off on holiday for a well-earned rest, the time seems right to publish a few handy tips to stay in good shape in spite of those flights. Our observation is that even those frequent air travellers amongst our patients seldom apply them!
The fact is that flying, especially long-haul, is a hazardous health pursuit! The atmosphere in the cabin is very dehydrated, the seat cramped, and the food not always the healthiest. However, you can counter these environmental effects by taking the following steps before and during your flight:
- Avoid too heavy a meal or any heavy drinking in the 24 hours before travelling – try and get a good night’s rest;
- On the day of travel, try and set your clock to the time of arrival, and start going through the day on arrival time – including meals;
- If you have any blood circulation problems (and even if you don’t) do consider wearing special compression socks or stockings only during the flight that favour blood circulation and lymphatic drainage;
- If you are luck enough to be travelling business class, do get that extra bottle of water once you have got through customs – some extra fruit (apples travel best) will also come in handy;
- Once settled in your plane seat, consider loosening all restricting clothes – undo your tie, loosen trouser belts, take off shoes;
- Even if your flight only lasts a couple of hours, get up a couple of times to walk down the aisles and stretch neck, shoulders, legs and back; on a longer haul flight keep doing this on an hourly basis;
- If you happen to be travelling with a good, thick hardback book, don’t just read it – stand on it with toes only, and then flex and stretch your ankles to encourage good blood circulation in your lower limbs;
- Refrain from alcohol during the flight – but never refuse a fruit juice or glass of water!
- If you board the plane during the night of your place of destination, try and get as much sleep as possible during the flight to synchronise with the arrival time;
- On the day of arrival, refrain from too heavy a meal and drinking sessions
We hope we don’t come over as real kill-joys, and that applying these tips help you enjoy your holiday all the more. Have a safe flight, and a thoroughly enjoyable holiday.