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

Wellness Wednesday Tip #5: Drink More Water

     Hey, everybody! This week’s tip may seem simple, but it’s one of the quickest ways to improve your health without much effort – drink more water! 

     By now, most everyone knows that beverages with high sugar content (soda, energy drinks, etc) are detrimental to your health, but why is it important to drink water instead? Approximately 60% of the human body is made up of water, including muscles, skin, internal organs, and much more. When your body doesn’t have enough water to satisfy these tissues (aka dehydration), you can feel mental or physical fatigue, headaches, muscle cramps, and even constipation!

     So how much water do you need per day? The Mayo Clinic and The Institute of Medicine recommend that men consume about 3 liters per day, and women consume about 2 liters per day.(1) Remember, this amount can also vary based on physical activity, caffeine or alcohol consumption, and other health conditions you may have. 

     A recent study published in the Journal of Human Nutrition & Dietetics looked at the nation's consumption of plain water and overall caloric intake. The survey obtained results from 18,311 adults over the age of 18 from 2005 to 2015. Researchers found that increasing plain water consumption by one to three cups a day could decrease caloric intake per day by 68 to 205 calories, as well as decrease sodium intake per day by 78 to 235 grams.(2)

     So give it a shot, and let us know how it goes! Thanks again for all of the #WellfieWednesday support, be sure to post your pictures again this week and tag Patrick (@PBernerSPT) or myself (@Eric_in_AmERICa) and keep the wave of healthy change going!

#WellfieWednesday Challenge: Bring the biggest water bottle you own to work or school and try to finish it before you leave for the day. 

- Dr. Eric Uveges, PT, DPT

- Dr. Patrick Berner, PT, DPT


1. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256

2. An R, McCaffrey J. Plain water consumption in relation to energy intake and diet quality among US adults, 2005-2012. Journal Of Human Nutrition And Dietetics: The Official Journal Of The British Dietetic Association. February 22, 2016.