As we approach the holiday season, many of us are looking at one or more airplane trips in our near future. Do you usually feel horrible after a long flight? Does your lower back scream from sitting so long and your shoulders and upper back clench up from being squeezed into a tiny seat? While airplane seats are far from comfortable, there are a few action steps you can take to counteract the tightening that you feel in your body.
The re-circulated air in airplanes is notorious for being drying to the body. All of our organs and systems function most optimally when we are hydrated, so start drinking water before you board your flight, sip more water during the flight, and pull that water bottle out again once you land. You can mix in other fluids like teas and coconut water if you’re getting bored of water. And don’t forget that fruits and vegetables contain water, so snack on some grapes, snap peas, celery sticks, cucumbers, or an apple during your flight.
Fire up Your Core.
Before boarding, do something to work your core muscles. That may be an unobtrusive single leg standing hold, some gentle squats, or even standing in proper posture while bracing your core. After you land try to do something similar while you wait to pick up your luggage.
Stretch it out.
If your seat mates are amenable to you entering and exiting your row a few times, you can grab some standing stretch breaks in the aisle. It doesn’t technically matter which stretches or movements you do, as long as you do SOMETHING! Stretch your arms overhead, do a few small lunges, loosen your spine with a few standing twists, or lean forward one leg at a time to stretch your calves. Once you are off the plane and have a bit more room to move around, consider doing a quick yoga sequence in your hotel room. You can find plenty of free yoga workouts on youtube or you can subscribe to aaptiv.com and do one of their guided yoga classes. Even five or ten minutes of movement before you collapse into your couch or bed can help alleviate a lot of built-up tension and prevent post flight soreness. Invest in a foam roller.
Roll it out.
Whether you pack a travel foam roller or set of yoga tune-up balls or some other small tools, remember to unpack it before you go to sleep for the night. You can restore circulation to your muscles and decrease the tightness in them in just a few minutes. Roll out your glutes while you floss your teeth. Focus on your quads while you brush your teeth. And release your back muscles while you check email on your phone.
Move it, lymph!
Ever wonder why people wear compression socks or stockings on planes? One reason is that they can assist with returning excess fluid out of the lower legs and back towards the heart. If you aren’t going to wear compression socks, at least elevate your legs against a wall or a stack of pillows when you arrive at your destination. Gravity is helpful to move lymph.
Epsom Salt Soak or Otherwise Immerse in Water.
Depending on the nature of your travels, you may or may not have access to a bathtub or hot tub. But in the case that you do have the opportunity, jump on the chance to re-invigorate your muscles with a twenty minute soak in warm water. Adding epsom salts introduces much-needed minerals to your muscles to help them recover.
What are your best travel tips to help your body feel it’s best? Let us know in the comments below!