Expert Flyer Hot Topics – Where the Rubber Meets the Runway
Welcome back to our travel series with exercise physiologist and author of How to Travel Fit, Tracy Benham. In part one of the series we learned ways to minimize your pre-flight stress. In this second installment, Tracy offers tons of valuable tips for relieving in-flight stresses, so when you arrive at your destination, your mood and frame of mind will be optimized for work and fun!
First off, I want you to know that I love almost everything about air travel, but there are some pesky hiccups that we all have to deal with. So, I like to add humor to the travel mix whenever I can. My best suggestion is to bookmark your favorite humor sites, like The Onion or Dave Barry — afterall, laughter is the best medicine. Okay, now for some tips:
The Air Transportation Association estimates that the air cabin has an average of about 20% humidity. Most homes have a comfortable 40% to 60% level of humidity. The Sahara Desert has about 25%. Low-humidity environments increase your risk of catching a cold or a respiratory virus. Without humidity, your body can’t trap germs trying to enter your body. Saline spray is a good option to help deal with the low humidity associated with air travel. It also helps prevent nose bleeds, which are more common in environments with low levels of humidity. Other difficulties associated with low humidity are dry or itchy skin, nose and throat irritations and dry eyes.
Travel Fit Tip: Contact wearers should wear glasses or take out their contacts while flying. If dry eyes are a problem, use a lubricating solution.
Water, Water, Water
To avoid dehydration, drink water, fruit juice and non-carbonated beverages during your trip. Make water your 1st beverage of choice before, during and after your flight.
Every time the cart comes by, ask for water, even if you are ordering something else as well. Alcohol is very dehydrating, since it speeds up fluid loss, so I suggest avoiding it or make an absolute limit of 1. Limit or skip having carbonated beverages. Some people notice slight differences in their digestive system, due to barometric pressure changes.
Buy a bottle of water or fill the one you brought with you after you go through the security line. Take sips from it throughout your entire flight. The basic recommendation of 8 glasses of 8 ounces of water should be considered a minimum. I recommend 8 ounces for every hour you’re in the air. This may be hard to do on long flights, but it’s a reference to remember. Never drink water from the bathroom sink.
Get In Motion
Make sure your feet are comfortable. This means getting up as much as possible, aim for once an hour. Or at least wiggle around and do a few stretches in your seat. If you’re self conscious and think random strolls appear strange, pretend you have to go to the bathroom.
Most airlines have cabin pressure at about 5,000-8,000 feet above sea level. For most healthy people, this isn’t a big deal, but if you have respiratory problems, it’s best to ask your physician for guidelines before flying. Continue reading →