Here’s a collection of tips to help you feel good while traveling, arrive feeling fresh and ready to explore.  At the same time, it will help you eliminate or at least reduce jet lag.  It’s all worth trying.

This list of recommendations was compiled and offered to her clients by Julie Wilholt, a personal trainer at the Bay Club at the Howard Hughes Center.

  1. Drink Up
  • Cabin air is drier than the Sahara. Before you hop on the plane, drink water and buy water for the flight.  To combat dehydration (and the fatigue it causes), drink two 8-ounce glasses before boarding, then another one each hour in flight.
  • Keep yourself feeling hydrated throughout the flight. The cabin crew will always be happy to provide you with a glass of water or juice, and there’s even an onboard water fountain on selected flights.
  • Flying is extremely dehydrating, which means the eight glasses of H2O a day rule really won’t cut it. Add an extra 6-8 ounces for every hour in the air.  Limit your consumption of alcohol and coffee.  Even decaf can leave you parched, so stick with bottled water, herbal teas or seltzers.
  1. Eat Light
    • In flight, avoid alcohol and salty foods.
    • As tempting as the onboard meals are, it’s best to avoid eating too much in one go as it can leave you feeling bloated.
    • Want to be bright-eyed when you arrive? Moderate your intake of carbohydrates (breads, pastas, fruits and veggies); they induce sleep.  Eat more high-protein, low-fat fare (poached eggs, low-fat dairy products, grilled fish) to boost alertness.  Reverse these strategies if you plan to sleep after you land.
  2. Keep On Moving
  • Walk the length of the plane every hour or two to keep your back happy, your muscles supple, and your blood circulating.
  • The best way to stay comfy and minimize the risk of clotting disorders like Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) at key is to keep moving. So try to change your sitting position regularly, and avoid crossing your legs.
  • Walk in the clouds.
  • Take the end of a movie as your cue to leave your seat and go for a stroll around the cabin, as well as getting your circulation moving.
  • Walk during an airport layover.
  1. Avoid Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
    • You may have heard of DVT and a possible link with flying. DVT is a condition where blood clots form (usually) in the legs, during long periods of sitting still (so traveling in a car or train, or sitting at a desk carry the same risk as flying).  The danger comes if the clot breaks free and travels to the heart or lungs.
  2. Just Say No (to sleeping pills)
    • Tempting as it may be, especially if you’re a nervous flyer, don’t take a sleeping tablet on your flight. It will reduce the chance of you moving about during the flight, which isn’t good news for your circulation, and you’ll feel much groggier when you arrive.
    • The only exception is if your doctor is aware that you are flying and has expressly recommended that you take a sleeping tablet.
    • If you need to catch some shut-eye, take a nap but limit it to 45 minutes. NASA research has shown that this amount of time will improve alertness.  Longer haps leave you groggy when you wake up.
  3. Take Care Of Your Ears
    • Cabin pressure changes can be painful if you’re flying with a heavy cold, sinusitis or ear problems, so we advise against traveling with these conditions if possible.
    • If you experience problems during the flight, suck a sweet or hold your nostrils and gently blow through your nose—this should equalize the pressure. If it doesn’t do the trick, have a chat with a member of cabin crew for some more advice.
  4. Moisturize
    • Keep your skin pampered and protected from the dry air onboard by regularly applying moisturizer and lip balm. If you wear contact lenses, it’s a good idea to bring your glasses with you, as your eyes might feel drier than usual.
  5. Loose Fit
    • Save any tight fitting outfits for your destination; for the flight, stay comfortable by wearing loose fitting, comfy clothes and shoes.
  6. Beat Jet Lag
    • Set your watch to your destination’s time as soon as you get onboard.
    • The best thing you can do to adjust to a new time zone is to expose yourself to natural light as soon as possible. Jet lag is the result of your body’s circadian rhythms being out of whack.  Light acts as a powerful cue, telling your internal clock where you are and what schedule to keep.
    • Book a daytime arrival, especially if you are on a west-to-east flight. Once you are there, drag yourself outside and do something active in the daylight.  You can recover from jet lag much more quickly.
  7. Fitness On The Road
    • To preserve your hard-earned fitness level, exercise at least every third day while on the road, performing at least a third of your aerobic routine at your typical level of intensity and completing your strength training program at least once a week, using the same amount of resistance. Keeping at least part of your routine in tact will keep your energy level up.
  8. Hide The Hotel Clock
    • Knowing that it’s 3 a.m. and you have to get up at 6 a.m. guarantees that you won’t sleep for the remaining three hours.
  9. Eating While Traveling
    • When eating out on the road, try ordering without looking at the menu. Arrive at the restaurant with a healthy meal in mind, like steamed vegetables or broiled chicken, and just order it.

Julie Wilholt, jules2363@yahoo.com


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