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4 Travel Tips to Stay Healthy While Flying

4 Travel Tips to Stay Healthy While Flying

Everyone loves taking an amazing vacation somewhere fun but there’s nothing worse than falling sick right when you are about to travel or arrive at your destination. There can be a lot of physical and emotional stress leading up to it that can accumulate and eventually cause us to fall ill. Traveling by plane compromises our immune system in many ways making the risk of getting sick pretty high.

Here are 4 travel tips that can help you be proactive before, during and after the flight so you can avoid getting sick and feeling run down and better enjoy your travel experience!

  1. Don't take red eye flights - most people can’t sleep or get disturbed sleep on any flight. Red eye flights can be especially painful since it can throw off our sleep cycle and impact our circadian rhythm resulting in increased stress hormones. Your circadian rhythm is optimal when you have regular sleep habits so try to minimize overnight flights as much as you can.  If you must take a red eye or will be jet lagged due to being in a new time zone, try to get back to your sleeping patterns as soon as possible.
  2. Hydrate and load up on vitamins before/during travel - prepare to have your immune system compromised because travel does take a toll on our health. From the stress of getting to the destination to being stuck in the toxic environment on the plane, it is important to build your immunity beforehand.  The airplane air can dehydrate our mucous membranes and weaken our immune system. Avoid or limit alcohol or beverages containing caffeine before and during your flight. Drink plenty of water beforehand and continue hydrating during the flight. Bring a reusable water bottle (many airports now have filtered water stations where you can fill up your bottle) or be sure to ask for plenty of water in flight. You may feel bad asking and then having to get up to use the restroom but it’s worth it!  Also, be sure to load up on vitamins a few days before your flight because your immune system will need to ramp up to combat the poor air quality. Aircrafts often spray antibacterial and antiviral chemicals into the air to help combat airborne illnesses but these are added toxins that we are breathing in that are harmful.
  3. Get up, walk and stretch while on the flight - sitting stationary in a cramped space wears on our bodies. During both short and long flights, it’s important to get circulation and as much movement as possible. Standing up, walking to use the restroom, stretching while seated and doing small in seat exercises are great!  This can help with clotting and swelling as well as loosen up stiff muscles.
  4. Avoid hidden poisons found in the plane - There are many poisons that we are exposed to such as noise pollution, endocrine disrupting seat fabric and of course the unhealthy food cart that are sneaky and damaging to our health.
  • Noise pollution - aircraft noise is around 80 decibels which can trigger our internal stress response.  Wearing noise cancelling headphones during the flight can help reduce the stress response and combat the noise pollution.
  • Endocrine disruptors - such as polybrominated flame retardants are endocrine disruptors that impact our hormones and are suggested to contribute to cancer, diabetes, obesity, the metabolic syndrome, and infertility.  Unfortunately this is something that is difficult to avoid so it's best to wash your hands during the flight and after landing, try to shower and wash your clothes as soon as possible.
  • Unhealthy Food Cart - The food offered in flight is boxed, packaged, and highly processed which should be avoided. Since the passenger's taste is impacted while up in the air, about 30% more sugar and salt is added to the airplane food for it to be more palatable. Thus, eating a healthy meal prior to flying will ensure you are well satiated and less tempted to reach for the airport options or plane food.  Pack a meal and snacks for the flight to help you control what you eat so you are prepared in the event you get hungry or your flight gets delayed.  As for the drinks, most options are laden with additives and sugar so best is to opt for water.  Even though drinks, snacks and sometimes meals are offered in flight, pass on them and opt for your own, cleaner and much healthier food.

So whether you are flying for vacation, attending a work trip or visiting family, be sure to keep these 4 travel tips in mind to stay healthy while jet setting! 

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