How to Stay Healthy While Travelling
Traveling can take a toll on the body physically, mentally and emotionally. While travel often involves excitement and anticipation, the experience can also trigger anxiety, stress and fear. Traveling also disrupts our natural circadian rhythm, and low oxygen levels, humidity and sudden changes of pressure during flight all have varying levels of side effects on each person. Luckily there are a number of ways you can help minimise and combat the effects of flying and travel. With a little forward planning and a few key tips, your journey can be comfortable and enjoyable. Plus you will arrive at your destination ready to make the most of your time away.
#1 Stay hydrated
At high altitudes, the air inside of a plane contains 66 percent less water than at sea level, making the plane environment drier than a desert! This easily amounts to a dry mouth, eyes and nose, headaches and dizziness, plus a susceptibility to dehydration. To avoid dehydration, drink plenty of water before you fly and throughout the entire journey. Bring your own electrolytes or a good quality green power to add to your water for extra hydration and nutrients. Having a good moisturiser, hydrating face mist and something to naturally moisten your lips will also make your journey a little more pleasant.
#2 Pack Your Own Meals
Boosting your immune system and ensuring you are having nutrient-dense food will help ward off infection and illness that is common when travelling. Try to avoid the sodium-rich, preservative-laden food typically served on airplanes and to pack your food and snacks instead. Travel friendly food may include, fresh fruit and vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, quinoa salad, homemade sushi, flaxseed crackers with almond butter or avocado, chia seed pudding or homemade energy bars. You can also pack a lemon and squeeze it into some water for an easy vitamin C boost on board.
#3 Protect Your Ears
The pressure inside the cabin fluctuates throughout the journey and most significantly during take-off and landing. The Eustachian tubes inside the ear open and close, trying to balance and match this changing pressure and as a result, your ears may feel blocked or you experience ‘popping’ sensations. If you find this uncomfortable, try to swallow, yawn, or slowly suck on an ice cube. If you have severe discomfort you can also purchase air pressure-regulating ear plugs which slow the rate of air pressure on the ear drum. The noise pollution from a passenger can also trigger stress in the body. Try wearing earplugs or noise-reducing headphones, especially during long flights.
#4 Keep Moving
Try and find ways to stay mobile as much as possible. Wander up and down the isles when safe and appropriate, try some gentle yoga poses such as seated twists, and flex your feet and legs often to keep the blood flowing. Occasionally issues can occur from poor circulation, low air pressure, dehydration and sedentary for hours at a time. In between flights give the travellator a miss and walk to and from your gates, or even roll out a yoga mat and move through some sun salutations while you wait.
#5 Breath & Meditate
Breathing exercises is one thing that can be done anywhere and anytime! Try taking 4-5 deep breaths, holding the breath at the top of the inhale and then exhaling slowly. Mediation can also help to limit the stress and anxiety that often accompanies travel. Studies have proven that mediation during take off and landing can be effective in alleviating those nervous jitters. Listening to gentle music or a guided meditation is a great way to relax the brain and help you to feel calm and centered throughout the journey.
#6 Wash Your Hands
Whenever we travel in come into contact with other people, and with other people come germs- its just a given! Stay healthy and avoid bugs by washing your hands thoroughly. Keep a pocket size hand sanitizer in your hand luggage and be sure to wash your hands after using public restrooms and before eating. You can also use wet wipes to wipe down things like your tray and arm rests on the plane which can tend to get a little messy!
#7 Limit Alcohol & Caffeine
Both alcohol and caffeine are dehydrating and disrupt your natural sleep patterns, therefore while you may be heading off on vacation and looking to celebrate, or catching a red eye flight and seeking that caffeine hit, these are the worst substances to turn to when it comes to air travel. Do your body and favour and stay hydrated with water or mineral water during your flight. Opt for herbal tea over caffeine when travelling – chamomile tea can assist you with relaxation and sleep, while peppermint tea can assist with digestion which can also be triggered by travel. Save your cocktails for when you are pool-side!
The physical and emotional stress of travel can lead to a quick depletion of essential nutrients. Travel also exposes you to a rather unavoidable bacteria. Make sure you travel with a good sanitiser (make sure its travel size too). You can also benefit from travelling with Vitamins A, D, and C, plus Zinc to help keep your immune system strong. Invest in a good quality probiotic that you can take whilst travelling to support your immune system, ward off nasty travel bugs and support digestion.
#9 Catch Some Zzzz’s
Travel affects the body’s circadian rhythms and confuses our internal body clock. While sleeping on a plane may be challenging, it can also be one of the most beneficial ways to pass the time. Invest in an eye mask, wear layered clothing so you are neither too hot nor cold, and use ear plugs to block out external noise. When heading across time zones, avoid jetlag by switching your clock and devices to the new time zone as soon as you arrive and maintaining a normal sleep pattern as best as you can.
#10 Get Tech-Savvy
There are lots of apps now that can assist you with travel. One of our favourites is Jetlag Rooster. This app is certainly for all you jetsetters! If you are a frequent flyer, Jetlag Rooster helps you to easily adapt to your new timezone by getting you prepared in advance. All you have to do is input your trip details and you’ll get back a simple sleeping and waking schedule for the days leading up to and after you arrive to help ease the hassle of jet lag. It also offers helpful suggestions such as diet, naps and exercise that can help you adjust to your new time zone quicker and easier. Perfect for those not wanting to lose any holiday time!
Once you arrive at your destination, try going for a long gentle walk, ground yourself by walking barefoot in nature or jumping in the ocean. Unwind with a herbal tea and Epsom salt bath. Continue to drink plenty of water and eat a nutritious meal. Expose yourself to sun and allow your body to adjust to your new environment.