With summer just around the corner and the Covid-19 walls (and masks) coming down, many of us are leaving the house and going, well, anywhere. But while we book all the flights and hotels, the effects of travel can wreak havoc on our bodies. So how can we take flight and enjoy ALL the places while still feeling our best? We’ve got you covered from your Departure to Arrival, and back!
- Bring Your Own Snacks: While airports around the world are starting to cater to healthier food palettes, there’s beats relying on your own preparation. Grab your favorite foods and stick them in your carry on. My personal favorites? Quaker Oats rice cakes, blueberries, Skinnypop popcorn, cuties, Power Crunch bars, or your own mix of fresh veggies! Bonus: you’ll save money. If you have time to eat before your flight, go for items like fruit bowls, yogurt parfaits, or a plate with lean protein, carbs, and healthy fats to hold you over on the flight — because sometimes airline cookies and pretzels just don’t cut it.
- Stay hydrated before, during, and after your flight. The pressurized air and lack of moisture on airplanes can leave you feeling extra thirsty and dehydrated. Buying your own bottle of water allows you to start drinking before and well into your flight. Pro Tip: Ask for an extra bottle of water (or two) right before the flight ends to keep the chugging going. And if you want to enjoy a few “adult drinks” during your travels, stick to a 1:1 ratio — 1 drink, 1 glass of water.
- Take A Walk: Once that “fasten your seatbelt” sign turns off on flights, most are quick to flick off that seatbelt — yet, we stay seated. But according to Dr. Keith Diaz, Assistant Professor of Behavioral Medicine at Columbia University, when we sit for long periods of time, “blood pools in our legs, and the decreased blood flow may cause damage in our blood vessels.”* Diaz ran a 4 year-long study examining patterns of sedentary behavior and mortality in U.S. middle-aged and older adults. What does his conclusion suggest? Moving our bodies is crucial to keeping blood flow moving the way it should and to reduce our risk for life-threatening disease. So don’t be afraid to walk up and down those airplane aisles! If that’s not possible, try Bill Conn’s 10 Exercises You Can Do On An Airplane Without Looking Weird.
- Balance Your Day: When we get into “vacation mode,” it’s easy to eat more than we usually do or indulge a little more often. However, starting your day with some movement or a balanced, healthy breakfast can put you in the right state of mind to relax a bit extra or enjoy new and comforting foods, guilt-free! Maybe explore the hotel gym (check out Hotel Gym Rater), hit a quick yoga flow, or just go on a brisk walk in the morning! Remember, it’s not about perfection — it’s about balance!
Checking destinations off your bucket list doesn’t have to mess up your health habits. With a little planning and preparation, you can enjoy your travels while smashing your goals. Follow the tips above and you’ll be ready for take-off!
* Robyn Correll; New Study Links Sitting Too Long, Too Often With Increased Risk of Death. The Point Guys, September 24, 2017. https://thepointsguy.com/2017/09/travel-health-be-active-on-flights/; Keith M. Diaz, PhD, Virginia J. Howard, PhD, Brent Hutto, MSPH, Natalie Colabianchi, PhD, John E. Vena, PhD, Monika M. Safford, MD, Steven N. Blair, PED, Steven P. Hooker, PhD. Patterns of Sedentary Behavior and Mortality in U.S. Middle-Aged and Older Adults: A National Cohort Study. Annals of Internal Medicine, October 3, 2017. https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M17-0212