6 Things You Can Do To Stay Healthy On Board Your Long Haul Flight

Katherine Smith
6 Things You Can Do To Stay Healthy On Board Your Long Haul Flight

Thanks to global travel, it’s never been easier to indulge your wanderlust, connect with friends and family worldwide, and conduct international business.

While inflight services and comfort levels are ever increasing, it’s still important that we take good care of ourselves as we travel so we can arrive at our destination feeling fresh, well, and able to enjoy everything our trip has to offer.

Here are some quick and simple tips for you to try right now to ensure you have a healthy and harmonious flight.

1. Change Your Watch Immediately

Bring yourself in line with local time and don’t think about what it is back home. This will help your body begin to adjust to any time difference so when you arrive you don’t feel as jet lagged or confused. If you are focusing on the fact it’s 3am at home and haven’t been to bed yet, you will only feel fatigued.

2. Relax

Try not to tense the muscles in your body even though you may be nervous, or when sitting begins to get uncomfortable. It doesn’t matter if you’re not able to sleep; just stay calm, keep your eyes closed, listen to music or watch a movie. Enjoy having this time just to be still and make use of the services and entertainment on-board.

3. Stretch

At regular intervals, do some gentle yoga stretches when you’re mid-flight. They will keep the blood flowing freely through your body, mobilise joints, revitalise the vital organs and pacify the nervous system.

  • Breathe: Close your eyes and take 15-20 mindful breaths. Slow the breath down and breathe in for a count of 4 and breathe out for a count of 4. Focus only on the breath.
  • The Neck Stretch: Sitting as upright as you can, gently turn the chin over towards the right shoulder on an exhalation. As you breathe in, return to centre and exhale the chin over to the left. Repeat between 5-10 times.
  • Shoulder Rolls: Inhale and draw the shoulders up towards the ears, and then draw them forward and down as you exhale. Then repeat 5 times. Switch directions and perform 5 more.
  • Wrist Circles: Keeping your elbows tucked into your sides, extend the forearms as much as you can. Rotate the wrists in circles, first in one direction and then the other. Repeat 10-15 times on each wrist.
  • Arm Extensions: Lift the arms overhead, interlace your fingers and press the palms up towards the ceiling. Take a big inhale and hold for the count of five. Repeat 3 times.
  • Twists: Sitting upright (you might need to move away from the back rest) keep the hips comfortably square in your sit, take a deep breath in and as you breathe out, twist slowly to your right. Pause when you reach your maximum and return to centre. Repeat on the opposite side.
  • Flex Your Spine: Again, sitting upright (away from the back rest) gently inhale and sit as tall as you can, lifting through the chest and arching the back slightly. As you exhale tuck the chin in towards the chest and round the back. Repeat up to 10 times.
  • Knee Extensions: Sitting squarely in your seat, with a flexed foot, gently extend the heel of the right foot as far as you can in front of you, pause to hold and then return it to the floor. Repeat on both sides 5-10 times.
  • Ankle Rotations: Rotate the ankles one at a time in circles, first in one direction and then the opposite. Repeat 10-15 times.
  • Hip Rotations: While you’re waiting in line to use the bathroom, bring the feet about hip distance apart and gently rotate the hips in circles, moving in a clockwise direction 5 times and a counter-clockwise direction 5 times. This will help to nourish the lumbar spine and release the hips from the time spent sitting.
  • Hug the Knee: If you have space, gently draw your knee to your chest to extend the glutes, focusing on grounding through your standing leg for stability. Swap sides.

4. Hydrate

I know it’s great to enjoy a drink in-flight, but try to keep an eye on your water intake. Ideally, skip alcohol and caffeinated drinks altogether and focus on hydration instead. Dehydration is a huge contributor to jet lag and digestive disturbance after a flight. Aim to finish a glass every hour if you can.

5. Nap

If the mood takes you and you’re comfortable, allow yourself to snooze, but don’t force sleep with pills and potions. Let your body regulate itself. It will bounce back much quicker.

6. Snack

Eat light and eat often. When transcending time zones, it’s more helpful to eat healthy snacks, while your body clock searches to adjust to a new rhythm. Eating little and often keeps your energy up, your digestion moving, and ensures you don’t arrive at your destination starving. Take a few things with you; fruit, nuts, bottled smoothies or pro-biotic drinks, pre-packed sushi meals are all good choices.

Are there things that you do to stay healthy while in-flight that aren’t on the list? How do you stay energized during long-haul flights? Share your tips and suggestions below for our fellow wanderlust-stricken travelling yogis!