Here’s how you can stay active and increase blood flow on long-haul flights, Thor of Oz style.
Staying healthy in transit
Having taken two trips to the UK in as many months and countless interstate flights over the past three years, I know just how brutal long international flights can be.
The food isn’t usually much chop (unless you’re going business or first class) and there isn’t a whole lot of room, but we all know the importance of getting some blood-flow around the body.
It’s particularly important to activate our leg muscles as some literature suggests long periods of inactivity at altitude can contribute to deep vein thrombosis (DVT). So I put together a short “workout” keeps the body happy and healthy on long flights, here’s all you need to know…
The plane friendly workout
First of all find some space, your best bet is normally up near the lavatory or at the back galley. You will also want to be wearing your best trackies, so throw them on before you start.
There really is no importance on order, keep it simple:
- Overhead stretch. Here’s where you can do your deep breathing, right down into the diaphragm
- 10 squats, focusing on hamstring and glute activation
- 10 toe touches, focusing on hamstring and glute activation
- 10 calf raises, slow down the movement and get a good contraction
- 5 knee lifts (each side) and a short hold if desired
- 10 fake rows, imagining you are rowing a ton of weight
- 10 fake chest press, imagining you are pushing a ton of weight
Of course, you can improvise with all kinds of different movements or stretches, but it’s not a workout that should get you hot and sweaty. I couldn’t think of anything worse whilst on a plane frankly!
The main thing is that we are moving around sufficiently to create enough blood pressure, especially for the legs. Using some deep breathing techniques will also help revitalise you during the trip.
Managing nutrition in the air
Packing a cooler bag with your carefully prepared meals probably isn’t going to be practical. For starters, the 7kg carry on limit isn’t going to leave you with much room for anything else by the time you pack your laptop (if working), a book, toiletries etc. Accept that sometimes having your ideal meal/nutrition just isn’t going to happen.
Most airlines will cater for your special dietary requirements. It’s unlikely they will serve you up X amount of chicken breast, cooked with no fat and/or seasoning etc etc. However packing a quality protein such as Earth Protein or whey protein should sustain you over until the next stop. A small package of nuts is a good snack option to bring yourself. Choose that over the sugar loaded snacks and drinks you will be offered by the hostess. I normally opt for a fruit platter, but of course if one of the main meals is half decent, I will eat that (and the fruit!).
Things will be out of your control, that’s the nature of travel. Don’t overthink it, keep it plane and simple.