As a general rule, physical activity is one of the first things to suffer when you travel, especially when you fly, because of the total time involved, door to door. Exercise takes a back foot and we don’t move that much on an airplane, so what’s really important for you to do before, during, after and especially between your next flights? Perhaps most important of all you need to manage this process and make sure that your health and exercise remains a high priority.
Before You Fly: Stick with your normal routine as much as possible but be prepared to be flexible taking your travel time into account. In arranging your travel plans, don’t leave everything to the last minute; give yourself enough time to be as active as possible before you get on that airplane, especially if it is a long flight.
During Your Flight: You have probably heard that “Sitting is the New Smoking”. This is because when you sit for long periods, it messes with your body and slows down your metabolism and blood circulation. You actually burn less fat, sugar converts to fat and your brain function slows down too.
It should therefore not come as a surprise that when you sit for long periods of time in a tin can at 35,000 feet, in cramped conditions, with low oxygen levels, low humidity and low cabin pressure, that it creates the perfect storm for all kinds of additional physical problems. What results is dehydration, poor circulation, swollen joints, dry skin and mouth, bad breath, fatigue and headaches, to name a few.
That’s the bad news but the good news is that the solution is actually pretty simple. Here’s what you need to do if you are on a flight that lasts for more than an hour:
• Get up and walk around for 5 minutes every hour. Do a few squats and lunges if you can.
• Stay hydrated, so drink plenty of water before, during and after your flight. This will force you to get up and go to the bathroom so you kill two birds with one stone!
• Eat healthy; try to avoid processed food, sugar and alcohol, if possible. Wash your teeth and moisturize your face, on a few of your bathroom visits.
• You can also do some exercises with your legs and feet to improve circulation while you are sitting. For example, pack a golf ball and practice rolling it forward and back under your sole as you sit (try not to lose it to the back of the plane!)
Between Flights: During your time between flights it is important to get physically active; there are no rules which say you have to sit down and wait in the airport! So this is where you can really benefit from Sanctify's Membership Club. Instead of getting stressed out, hanging out for hours in a busy/crowded airport where you are less likely to eat and drink healthily, why not use this time more effectively to do that circuit training in the gym, enjoy a relaxing swim or a rejuvenating spa?
After You Fly: Exercising after you fly is always good especially after a long flight. It will also help you reduce your jet-lag, work-out muscle tightness and create mental space away from the din of airports and inflight white noise.
Author: Jim Kirwan is the creator of Get America Moving, author of The eXercise Factor and an organization and employee well being coach and consultant.