With courses concluded, snow settled in, and glistening lights draped over the pine trees, the holiday season commences. With the holiday season comes the winter travel season. Because so many of us live far from the family and friends that foster our holiday joy, we find ourselves air traveling to be with them.
Travel ought to foster rest and relaxation. However, traveling through large crowds may increase your risk of falling under the weather. Today we will discuss healthy habits to support and maintain your health during air travels this season.
Healthy Travel Season Habits
Travel ought to promote rest and relaxation. Consider implementing the following healthy habits during your next flight to support your health and wellness this travel season:
Before Your Flight
We often find ourselves busy before flights as we catch up, wrap up, and get ahead on work. However, setting aside the time to prepare your body for air travel will lay the foundation for your health and wellness maintenance throughout your time away.
Because airplane cabins have very low humidity, flying may support dryness and dehydration. Try to intentionally hydrate before your flight to counteract this. Our needs vary, so if you have concerns about your individual hydration needs, reach out to your healthcare provider.
Generally, the average, healthy adult should try to drink one liter of water prior to air travel.
If you struggle to drink water, consider implementing the chugging method. On average, one second of chugging equates to one ounce of water. If you do a 10-second chug three times prior to your flight, you will likely reach the recommend intake.
Though you may feel tired walking through the terminals to find your gate, avoid reaching for coffee, sodas, and other caffeinated drinks to wake you up. Try to stick to water and herbal teas. Caffeine further supports dehydration.
You have likely heard this saying: food is fuel. Commonplace, but true! Food is—literally—fuel. Preparing nutrient dense snacks will allow you to provide your body with essential vitamins and minerals throughout long travel days. Consider preparing the following snacks:
- Fruit: pack dried or whole fruits to keep you satiated and avoid a mess
- Vegetables: carrots, celery, and cucumbers require minimal prep
- Protein Bars: satiating, nutritious, and pre-packaged when you are in a rush
Preparing snacks allows you to access satiating and nutritious snacks—all while protecting you from overpriced, stale travel foods.
During Your Flight
With our flight prep finished, we can move forward to healthy habits in the sky.
Continue to Hydrate
Remember that airplane cabins have very low humidity. Try to intentionally hydrate during your flight to counteract this. Our hydration needs vary, so if you have concerns about your individual hydration needs, reach out to your healthcare provider.
Generally, the average, healthy adult should try to drink eight ounces of water per hour flying.
Flight times vary. Intentionally consuming roughly eight ounces of water each hour of the flight will support adequate hydration in the dry cabin climate. If you struggle to drink water, consider implementing the chugging method. On average, one second of chugging equates to one ounce of water. If you do an 8-second chug three times prior to your flight, you will likely reach the recommend intake.
Not only does this sustained water intake support hydration, it also encourages you to move your body. If you hydrate throughout the flight, you will have to intermittently stand and walk through the airplane cabin to use the restroom. This allows your body to move and supports blood flow between long periods of sitting.
Though we want to have a holly jolly holiday celebration, the travel process rarely feels merry and bright. Air travel may feel overwhelming or scary. This is normal—do not feel alone in this. To curb these emotions, consider implementing calming practices on your next flight:
- Activities: bring books, music, or work to distract yourself during the flight
- Deep Breathing: use deep breathing techniques to manage and support physical stress
- Knowledge: fight fear with an understanding of departure, arrival, and turbulence
Stress management looks different for everyone. If you have questions about how to best manage your individual stress and wellness while flying, please reach out to your healthcare provider!
After Your Flight
Celebrations and festivities arrive as you reach your final destination. Consider implementing the following healthy habits after your flight for sustained health and wellness.
Continue, Continue, Continue Hydrating
Though you likely disembarked somewhere with higher humidity levels than standard cabin, it is important to continue hydrating. Resume standard hydration routines once you land. Hydration needs vary, so if you have concerns about your individual hydration needs, reach out to your healthcare provider.
Generally, the average, healthy adult should drink 64 ounces of water per day.
Average individuals may also use body weight to determine water intake: ounces of water consumed equates your body weight in kilograms.
Example: if you weigh 70 kilograms, aim to drink 70 ounces of water per day.
If you struggle to drink water, consider implementing the chugging method. On average, one second of chugging equates to one ounce of water. If you do a 10-second chug seven times throughout the day, you will likely reach the recommended daily intake.
Move Your Body
We rest in a sedentary state when we fly. Standing and walking through the cabin to use the restroom does provide breaks from sitting and promotes blood flow. However, our bodies tend to prefer more movement than the intermittent bathroom break.
When you arrive try to complete some sort of 30-minute aerobic exercise to stimulate your body. If you do not have access to a gym, consider utilizing one of the following modes of exercise:
Do what makes feels good for YOU!
Travel ought to promote rest and relaxation. Implement healthy habits before, during and after your next flight to support your health and wellness this travel season:
Hydrate: because of the dry travel climate intentional hydration is essential
Prepare Snacks: provide your body with nutrients throughout long travel days
Manage Stress: supporting your mental health will support overall physical health
Move Your Body: complete a short aerobic exercise after your flight
Implement these healthy habits as you see fit, and enjoy your holiday season! If you have questions about how to best support your individual this travel season, please reach out to your healthcare provider.