It is a well known fact that traveling on airplanes is not exactly easy on the body. We often arrive at our destinations disheveled and exhausted. Not ideal for starting a trip or vacation! Throw in a few time zone changes and it can take a few days to really recover and feel your best. I honestly love traveling by airplane though. I love the feeling of climbing into a metal tube and relaxing for a few hours to end up hundreds or thousands of miles away from where I started. It reminds me what exciting times we live in!
Part of the reason I love airplane travel is because I’ve picked up a few tricks over the years that help me stay healthy and functioning near my best. When I land in my new destination, I often don’t feel too jet-lagged or run-down. These 5 Airplane Travel Health Tips are fairly easy to implement and keep me healthy so I can enjoy my travels! Try using them on your next trip and let me know if they help!
1. Start Rested
Ok this first one might seem easier said than done, but I promise, it is well worth the effort. We often spend the few days leading up to a big trip stressed-out and running around trying to get everything ready. This compromises our immune system making it easier for the bugs we will encounter during travel to make a home in our system and disrupt our journey.
Aim to get a full 7-9 hours of sleep for at least 3 nights before you step on that airplane. A well-rested body is one of the best defenses against travel stress. Your immune system is more likely to function better and it will do wonders for your mental state.
Try to get all of that pre-travel stress and run around done the week before instead of the day before so you can actually enjoy your whole trip!
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! This also starts a few days before you even leave for the airport. Airplanes are notorious for being dehydrating and no one enjoys being that person who has to pee every hour. However, staying well-hydrated will help your body continue to function at its best. When we are hydrated we are better able to flush toxins out of our system (hello lady sitting next to me who keeps sneezing for 9 hours).
Aim to consume at least half of your body weight in ounces of water for the week leading up to your trip. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, drink 75 ounces of water per day. Try to maintain this amount each day while you are traveling too. Consider bringing a reusable bottle with you to remind you to drink plenty of water.
This may mean you have to get up and pee more often on the plane. So pick an aisle seat and use it as an opportunity to get up and stretch your legs more often, which is good for you too.
3. Immune Support
Traveling by airplane is not exactly natural, even though we might take it for granted now. It is helpful to utilize a few key supplements to help ourselves stay healthy while traveling in these unnatural circumstances. There are plenty of options for immune support supplementation, but these are the 3 that I always travel with.
Vitamin C: well known for it’s cold-fighting abilities, vitamin C is an excellent tool for supporting the immune system and fighting free radicals (often produced by travel stress). If you don’t take it regularly, I recommend taking it for the 7 days before travel and increasing your dosage during travel.
Cat’s Claw: the potent anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties make it excellent for immune support while traveling. I recommend the alcohol-free tincture form and starting it at least a few days before traveling and continuing throughout travel.
Magnesium Glycinate: magnesium is necessary for over 300 physiological functions and for utilizing many other nutrients, so you can bet it’s helping your immune system too! Additionally, magnesium glycinate specifically, can help relax your bowels, which are often disrupted by travel. If you don’t take it regularly, I recommend starting a few days before travel and continuing throughout your journey.
4. Nourishing Snacks
I never leave home without snacks! When I fly there are certain nourishing snacks that work really well for me. These seem to travel well and pass through security without any issues (always subject to change though!). Airport and airplane food is incredibly unreliable and often loaded with preservatives, artifical junk, and too much sodium. These don’t help your immune system or your energy levels. If you want to arrive feeling refreshed, I highly recommend packing your own healthy snacks for the journey.
Larabars: easy to pack, small and lightweight, and they satisfy the craving for something sweet. They are made with dates which are an excellent travel fuel and source of necessary glucose.
Organic Apple Sauce pouches: I love the way these fit into the nooks and cranies of my bag! Just be careful opening them in-flight. Apples are excellent anti-inflammatory foods and the pectin is especially good for helping to carry and push toxins out of the body.
Raw Nuts & Seeds: a handful of raw nuts or seeds is a dense source of calories and can hold you over in a pinch. These are easy to repack into small bags to have at the ready in your carryon. For top immune-boosting benefits look to Brazil nuts and sunflower seeds that are rich in selenium, pumpkin seeds that are rich in zinc, and walnuts and pecans with the most antioxidants.
5. Block the Blue Light
The abundance of artificial light in airports and airplanes can be very disruptive to your body’s natural sleep rhythms. It can boost cortisol and heighten your stress response. If you are changing time zones your natural rhythm is already getting jostled enough, so try to protect it by utilizing blue light blocking glasses.
The day(s) that you are traveling, put yourself in the mindset of the future time zone that you will be in. When it is dark there, make sure to where your blue light blocking glasses, even if it isn’t dark where you currently are. Throughout your trip, try to put wear the glasses whenever the sun is down to help your body acclimate to the new time zone. Then repeat the process for coming home.
While you are passing the travel time on your electronic devices, use the glasses regardless of time of day. These glasses will help lessen the visual stimulation and will help you get a little shut eye on the airplane.
Wearing these glasses the last time I traveled internationally made a huge differnce in my ability to adjust to my new time zone.
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Disclaimer: The information in this post is not intended as medical advice, or to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional. Marcelle encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research, and in partnership with your doctor, licensed dietitian, or nutritionist. The information provided in this post and the entire contents of www.marcellephene.com are based upon the opinions of Marcelle Phene and are for general educational purposes, and have not been reviewed nor approved by the FDA. You are solely responsible for your health care and activity choices.