Long Haul Flying Wellness
In all my wellness travels, one of the most common questions slung my way is how do I stay healthy when up in the air?
For sure, flying is incredibly taxing on our bodies. The stale air, the disjointed eating, the lack of movement and the stress (both emotional and physical) sees most of us land feeling sub-standard, compounded by the fact we generally arrive with commitments and responsibilities lined up.
But there is a way to alight from a long-haul experience with body, mind and spirit in balance. Recently I flew to Hawaii – for a wellness trip – and employed all of the tips below.
Bulk up on veggies
I make sure I eat well before flying, bulking up on veggies, mostly, in the two to three meals before boarding. I’ll often use up whatever is left in my fridge and make a green smoothie (pureed greens and whole fruit), which I carry in a metal canister to drink before flights. I then use the empty canister as my water bottle for the rest of the trip.
Go hard on water
For every hour I’m in the air I drink 500ml of water. I befriend the steward and ask them to keep refilling my canister or bottle (rather than have them bring those pithy 250ml bottles).
Move in weird places
I’ll spend my two-hour wait time in the airport walking as much as I can or I find a quiet corner and do some yoga. On the flight, I’ll go and stand in the communal area near the toilet and do some stretches (once everyone is asleep and I’m not in the way). I then walk for at least an hour on arrival, or, if I arrive too late, I’ll run the hotel fire stairs a few times. Keeping your blood oxygenated makes a massive difference to jet-lag.
Arrive early evening if you can
I find it helps to land with a few hours of daylight so I can walk about for at least an hour and eat a decent meal before heading to bed. Tiring myself out and activating some routine helps with the jet-lag.
Steam ‘n’ rub
I try to have an infrared sauna or cheap Thai massage on arrival. I will Google options in advance. Both treatments get the lymph glands moving and processing the toxins that have built up.
Pack green powders
You can buy these in individual serve sachets that you can pour into water. A good way to dose up on minerals and vitamins.
Wear pressure socks. Just do it.
I wear pressure socks to ensure my lymphs don’t get blocked up. This has made a huge difference to flight health for me.
I meditate on planes during take-off and landing. This practice “grounds” me and calms my nerves. As it turns out, planes are my favourite place to meditate. The rhubarb-rhubarb of strangers talking and the cabin’s vibration helps me tune out.
Dab lavender oil
I dab the stuff on my temples regularly. Great for relaxing, but also for clearing (blocking!) the stale air a little.
Get lean and efficient
Making travel as efficient as possible helps the whole experience. A few tricks to try:
- Travel carry-on only as often as you can. I do, even on long-haul.
- Wear slip-on shoes and stretchy clothing with no belts or buckles for faster security flow.
- Airlinemeals.net meal-spots plane food so you can plan your airborne dining.
- Bring along herbal teabags. Planes often don’t carry chamomile or green tea. Both are a great way to keep up hydration and pacify the aggravation.
Take Echinacea drops
I keep this on hand. I often pick up a cold from someone on flights. But this trick really works: as soon as I feel ringing ears and watery eyes, I take 20 drops under the tongue. It boosts my immunity and will stop infection in its tracks.
Eat plane food wisely…and less of it
If you’re on a long haul flight and have to eat the plane food, choose the main meal with the least sauce and eat the protein and vegetables only, avoiding the cheap carbs. Eat the fruit and cheese, possibly your best option as there are no added nasties. Nuts are also a great choice. I tend to eat as little as possible and save my appetite for a decent, nutritious feed once I land.
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