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8 Ways To Be Healthy On That Long International Flight

It's not easy to exercise on a plane, but it is possible.

Arrrrfff, escapaders! We travel internationally far too often whether for pleasure or obligation, but yet there are many of us who dread flying. And, it makes perfect sense – who actually enjoys being sedentary in a confined space with a bunch of strangers and lining up for a bathroom that’s the same size as your pantry??? It’s common to get sick on planes because of such confined space where we are inevitably exchanging germs. So how do we make sure that we stay healthy on that long international flight? Here are 8 easy tips!

1. DO SOME PHYSICAL ACTIVITYBEFORETHE FLIGHT. Want to make sure you’re well rested for the long flight? Doing some physical activity beforehand helps you prepare to sit in your seat for hours. Perhaps take a short run/brisk walk or hit the gym right before heading to the airport. If that isn’t an option, you can do something light and simple when you arrive, such as walking around the airport for 15-20 minutes or whatever time permits prior to boarding (and this is aside from the walk that it took you to get to your gate). It surprises me when I see everyone sitting around and playing on their phones! Think – you’ll be sitting for hours on end so why not get moving and give your body a workout beforehand? Your body can then easily rest on the flight.

2. SLEEP WHENEVER YOU’RE TIRED. A healthy flight is a flight where you can actually get some rest. It’s no surprise that most people take advantage of this opportunity to sleep, but many make the mistake of staying up the night before a flight so they could “sleep on the plane” later. Although this tactic may actually work for some, there’s truly no guarantee that you’ll be able to get QUALITY sleep on the flight; just think about the possible endless distractions when sharing confined space with A LOT of people – a baby crying one minute and meals and drinks are being served the next. Oh, and don’t forget those announcements from the captain! It’s a much better plan to just stick to your sleeping schedule before the flight – sleep whenever you’re tired, whenever you can.

3. GET MOVING EVERY 2-3 HOURS. Just as it’s important to get some rest on your flight, it’s also equally essential to get your blood circulating at least once every 2-3 hours. Doing physical activity on a plane can be challenging, but there are certainly ways around it. You can walk around the plane twice every few hours to help increase blood circulation. Or head over to the standing area near the toilets and do light stretches. After sitting for an extended period of time, a simple forward bend to stretch your back, legs, and calves will make you feel more alive than ever. If you are shy about exercising in public, you can try standing for 5-10 minutes, which helps too – EVERY LITTLE BIT helps. Whatever it is, just get up and move around throughout the flight.

4. DRINK ENOUGH WATER. Oh yes, using the pantry size bathroom on a plane is a real pain, but the bright side is that it pays to stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water is the most effective way to keep you healthy and ensure that you’ll have a reason to get up and move around during the flight.

5. STRETCH IN YOUR SEAT. Just because you’re stuck in your seat for many hours doesn’t mean that you can’t exercise IN your seat. Simple shoulder rolls along with neck and arm stretches can virtually be done anywhere, anytime. Your body will feel more relaxed even after 1 set.

6. BRING YOUR OWN FOOD. Don’t rely on airplane pre-packaged food to be healthy and fresh because we all know what to expect! Supplement your meal by bringing aboard fresh fruit, veggie snacks, and of course, vitamins. Better yet, you can pack your own fresh meals to eat on the flight. Make your own sandwiches with abundant veggies, which are convenient to pack and eat onboard; plus, they don’t require refrigeration.

7. DON’T LOOK AT ANYELECTRONICS IN THE DARK. The bright light from your small TV screen or your smart phone or laptop (or really ANY electronic device with bright light) in the dark will only strain your eyes and keep you up throughout the flight because it tricks your body into thinking that it’s not time to sleep yet. Even your own individual light from above your seat won’t do justice. And, the worst part is that you’ll then start to feel restless because your eyes are tired yet you just can’t fall asleep! Arrgghhh. Want to get some rest? Well, don’t watch movies or use your gadgets when the interior of the plane is dim.

8. CLOSE YOUR EYES AND MEDITATE BEFORE TAKEOFF. Meditating for a few minutes helps you chill out and stay calm throughout the flight. Take a moment to reflect the moment you’re living in and be grateful for what you currently have. Live in the moment!

Have a safe and healthy flight! Feel free to share your own tip in the comment section below!

Markin’ it up,

Roger Wellington a.k.a. The Doob

*The original post can be found on Wet Nose Escapades: A yorkie’s guide to healthy travel.

Roger Wellington is a yorkshire terrier from California. He is a beef jerky & veggie lover, 7 lb. athlete, and world escapader. He writes about balancing health and travel on his blog Wet Nose Escapades.

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