One of the most unhealthiest places you can find yourself is in an airplane cabin, cruising at extremely high altitudes. With high air pressure, very low humidity, hip-wide seating, air as dry as the Sahara dessert and passenger proximity too close for comfort, you need all the help you can to get you through the minutes or hours of pure confinement.
Here are 10 tips for happy healthy flying.
1. Grab a great seat. Depending of where you’re comfortable, of course. If you like the window or aisle seats, be sure to reserve your spot early. Better yet, if you can afford it, travel first class or business class. Your legs will thank you. There’s nothing I hate more than being stuck between two people on a long flight. I’ve had folks breathing hot sleepy air in my face from both sides. I know, someone’s gotta sit in the middle, it just won’t be me.
2. Stop at the food court and pick up some healthy food and or snacks. If you do a lot of traveling you already know. The food situation is horrible. They don’t feed you any more. And, it’s not as if the foods were gourmet to begin with; not even in first class. On the menu, pretzels, potato chips, animal crackers, and sugary drinks, like sodas and juices. That’s absolutely not my idea of healthy foods. So, do yourself a favor and stop one of the many delis or shops in the food court of your departure terminal and grab something healthy and sustaining to eat. You don’t have to worry about clearance, since you’ve already passed the security check, there’s only the boarding gate left, and they won’t take your food away from you.
3. If you’re into technology, it’s a good time to take your Nook, Kindle, iPad, iPod or iPhone along. Be sure to download your favorite reading materials; newspaper, the New Yorker magazine (one of my faves) or books. Of course, if you still like the feel of an actual book in your hand, like I sometimes do, don’t forget to pack one from your list. I’ve found that doing the same activity for more than two hours on a plane is torturous. So, if you’re anything like me, you want to be able to switch up your activities. Reading, movie, music, sleeping, sudoku, times crossword puzzle, etc.
4. Stay Hydrated. And i’m not referring to alcohol hydration. Drinking water keeps your skin from drying out.
5. Use the rest room if you have to. Don’t worry about bothering the person next to you. You gotta go, you gotta go. Think of the damage you’re inflicting on your bladder by constantly contracting those muscles in order to hold on to your waste. Not good for your comfort nor your long term health.
6. If you need to, and your legs feel stiff, get up and stretch them out with a walk down the aisle. It’s important to maintain your circulation. You don’t want to develop leg clots, which can occur during long flights. So, get up and get active if the need be.
7. Practice taking deep breaths. The humidity is significantly lower when in high altitude. So, deep breathing will help your cells get more of the oxygen that it needs to make energy and carry out the important functions of the body.
8. Layer up. The planes are usually very cold, but sometimes they can get warm. It’s pretty easy if you’re able to peel away what you don’t need and put on what you do. You can also walk with your own blanket. Not all planes offer them. And on some airlines, it’s first come, first served.
9.Protect your sinuses and air by taking a decongestant up to 24 hours prior to your flight.
10. To equalize the pressure in your air, yawn, chew gum or swallow vigorously. In addition, your can hold your fingers over your nose and gently push the air out of your ear.
Dixie Lincoln- Nichols is a biological science educator, health and wellbeing consultant and Qigong instructor. Her work has been featured in media outlets like, Oprah Mag, SELF, Yahoo and more. She is the founder of Inside Outer Beauty Market, a multi-cultutal retailer curating and creating products to support the body inside and out. Visit the site at www.iobeautymarket.com