Lately I have been doing a lot of traveling across Canada and the United States, and even being a trainer and in good health there is nothing that feels more awful than of long travel days, not to mention the dehydration and swelling that you end up experiencing from the flights. With flying because of the cabin pressure you may not realize it but there can be de-oxygenation. Not to mention the less-than healthy menu airlines usually serve that consist of processed foods. With connections, jet lag and in and out of hotels it is also hard to find time to exercise properly.
Follow these tips to combat the icky travel feeling so that you feel more like your normal health self.
Make sure to wear comfortable shoes and clothing so you are more apt to move around.
When traveling the absolute most important thing is to stay hydrated,. Think about what happens to a bottle of water or a liquid that you carry on the flight with you. It looks all sucked and indented in. Your body is mostly made up of water so this is pretty much what is happening to your body as well. When you get dehydration you can feel de-energized and it will cause your skin to look dry and dull. Also when you are dehydrated you feel hungrier, and it will cause you to eat more than you normally would.
If a flight is short, I suggest that you try to eat a meal before your flight. Most of the food at the airport are fast, unhealthy fixes. Although I found a great healthy store in the Chicago airport. I forget the name of it. But keep an eye out for it if you are connecting from Canada. Also be careful of airport and plane salads. It’s the dressing that is bad for you, look for vinaigrette instead of fatty dressings. If you can try to bring your own snacks such as fruits and veggies. I always make sure to pack some PROMASIL protein powder by RIVALUS, I’ve often been stuck in an airport with nothing but fast food as options. I’d rather have a shake to hold me off than back-track on all the hard work I’ve put in during my workouts.
Sometimes a flight can be up to 4 hours plus. This is a lot of sitting down. Your muscles build up tension and sometimes you can get stuck in a tricky position, get muscle cramps and this can lead to injury. I suggest trying to stand up and stretch your whole body. This includes arms, legs and back. Even simple static stretches held for at least 30s do the trick. Try getting up in the isle, and you can even use your seat as an anchor for the stretches.
Get up out of your seat and use the isle to do a few laps. You can even do this as your are stretching. Or walk in the airport in between connections instead of sitting. Explore the airport, browse the shops, and if you’re lucky enough to have minimal carry-on luggage take a brisk walk around for 10-20 minutes. You will feel better and more relaxed on flight. I find most airports these days are like malls. There are endless shops that carry an array of items. Go get that gift for your parents or spouse and check out the duty free shops to stay active instead of sitting right at your gate.
When you reach your destination, the best thing you can do to rejuvenate yourself and fight the jetlag. This can be done by simply getting your butt to your hotels gym to workout. It doesn’t have to be long, try 15 minutes on a full body machine like the elliptical or do a quick circuit to get the blood flowing again. If you are tired as I always say the hardest part is getting started, but once you start you will thank yourself after. If your destination hotel or condo does not have a gym or you don’t want to be in a gym try traveling with a light weight jump rope, or do push ups and sit ups in your room, followed by a few stretches. After this first day get right back into your regular workout regime at your destination and you will feel back to your regular self!
Enjoy your travels and don’t let them disrupt your exercise regime. Even if you are traveling it is possible to still be the best you that you can be with a little bit of adjustment and effort. So happy airplane and destination fitness!
[Alicia Bell is an Elite Personal Trainer, NCCP Sprint Coach, and a Training Advisor for RIVALUS.]