Wellfie Wednesday Tip #79: Staying Healthy During Air Travel

Happy Wellfie Wednesday! This week is brought to you by @DianaKlatt

     I am writing this week’s #WellfieWednesday from an airplane on my way to Australia! I am somewhere in hour 25-30 of this 30 hours of travel from the United States of America.  I can tell you that I am not looking forward to my next long flight any time soon but it will be coming up shortly. But let’s get to it, how did I prepare for the toll that much air travel was going to take on my body? There are two things I think that you can easily prepare for and work on while on-board: blood circulation and hydration.

     Most of us are probably economy class fliers, so I will discuss the effects of sitting in these types of seats. Sitting in a small, narrow seat with limited legroom isn’t the most comfortable thing for even the smallest of people.

     Blood circulation is restricted during flight because you are sitting in an upright position with your feet flat on the ground. This doesn’t put you in an optimal position for easy blood flow, it’s a position that frequently leads to swelling in your feet due to that angle of sitting and state of inactivity. (This is why you always want to take your shoes off on the plane! Your feet are swelling from lack of proper blood circulation.) So what can us economy and business class fliers do about this? (Since both these sections don’t have seats that allow you to lay down.)

1. Get up and walk around! I’m going to be completely honest, I am that person that walks up and down the aisles doing lunges every few hours. On this last flight I also happened to have a resistance band in my pocket so I did a little bit of exercise to get my blood flowing. Below is also an image of exercises you can do while seated. 

2. Wear compression stockings! This will help prevent blood pooling in your legs and help with swelling.

3. Wear comfortable and lose fitting clothing. You don’t want to wear clothes that cause any restrictions. You are already working against your posture, the lower levels of oxygen, and inactivity, you don’t need to add an extra factor.

     Blood circulation is not the only problem associated with flying! Think hydration! Due to the cabin pressure and recirculated air, your skin can slowly become very dry and you may feel symptoms of dehydration. What’s the best way to combat this? Drink water! You can’t bring water through airport security but you can bring an empty water bottle. Make sure you drink more water than you normally would when you’re on the ground. You can also drink whatever juices you may want but try to avoid alcohol (even if it is free on international flights… resist the urge!). Another thing, that I and many of my friends do, is to bring a sheet mask! These are full of hydrating serums and easily packable. You can pop it on before you go to sleep and take it off when you wake up with a nicely hydrated face.

      Remember these tips on your next flight! Thanks again for all of the #WellfieWednesday support, be sure to post your pictures this week and tag the WW crew members in your post (@TheFuelPhysio@Eric_in_AmERICa@AaronPerezPT@DianaKlatt@kuhnalyssa_spt) and keep the wave of healthy change going!

- WW Crew