Fitness Facts: Keeping healthy while flying
By Connie Colbert
Director, Canyon Health and Wellness Clinic
Many of us will be flying to our summer vacation destinations in the next three months. Planes, airports and shuttle buses are full of people and, yes, germs!
Here are a few quick tips to stay healthy:
Prepare your immune system several days before traveling: Start taking a probiotic capsule at least three days before you leave. This will increase your system’s “good” bacteria and help with the irritable bowel symptoms that most travelers experience. Avoid taking the capsule on the day of travel.
Eat small meals: Take healthy snacks and eat light. Prepare ahead of time — you might not have healthy options. Large, heavy meals also can cause bloating and make for an uncomfortable plane ride.
Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water before you get on the plane and stick to water or juice on the plane. Carbonated drinks can cause excess bloating at high altitudes. Limit caffeine and alcohol because they both can be dehydrating. Choose tea instead of coffee. Don’t forget to use the restroom before you board!
Bring antibacterial wipes: While the planes are cleaned regularly, you do not know who was sitting in the seat before you. Wipe down tray tables, seat arms, latches, seat belts and window shades. Also, bring your own pillows, blankets and headsets. The cleaning schedules of these items can be infrequent.
Bring something relaxing on the plane: Prepare before you go! Download a book, movie or music. Do your best to make the experience relaxing. If you are traveling coast to coast or out of the country, try to eat and sleep (starting on the plane) according to the new time zone as soon as possible to avoid extreme jet lag.
If your flight is more than a few hours, move around. Sitting for prolonged periods of time can put you at risk for a DVT (blood clot in your leg). Walk around in the cabin or, at the very least, do sitting movements such as ankle rotations or tapping your feet and stretching your calf muscles. Avoid crossing your legs.
Be prepared and you can minimize the uncomfortable effects of flying!