Like many baby boomers and older adults, you’ve stayed home for most of the past 17 months. But now you’re vaccinated, feeling healthy, and eager to travel. So off you and your family head to the nearest airport to jump on a plane for the first time in a long time. Here are some guidelines to make the most of your vacation and remain as healthy as possible.
- If you want to stay active on the day of your trip, take advantage of the safety and comfort inside the airport. This is the perfect place to walk while waiting for your flight. But be careful not to pass beyond a gate of no return. Once while waiting for a connecting flight in Seattle, I accidentally did this–without my purse, ID, phone, or boarding pass. A TSA agent had to call my husband (who was babysitting all my important possessions) to rescue me so I could get onto our flight.
- Check with your airport website to see if they have a gym available (some do for $25 per day) or maps that show gate distances so you can gauge your walking (or you can track minutes or steps).
Sitting on plane
- Dress appropriately with natural fiber clothing that protects your skin (long pants and long sleeves); avoid clothing that is too tight.
- Make sure to empty pockets, and sit with your feet flat on the floor, knees bent so they are slightly higher than hips. This gives your back, hips, and legs the best position for the trip.
- You can stretch by reaching your arms overhead, bending them and grabbing opposite elbows, then leaning slowly left and right. Or, scoot up in your seat, bend your elbows and drive them back as far as you can, opening up your chest.
- If it’s safe, walk up and down the aisle (fake a trip to the restroom) as much as you can.
Here are some additional resources to help:
If you have special requirements, check ahead with your airline. But otherwise, you might want to bring along your own nourishing, lightweight, need-no-refrigeration snacks. Here are some ideas:
- Whole-grain crackers
- Citrus fruits (pre-cut oranges or pack mandarins to keep messes at a minimum)
- Granola or protein bars (check out the nutrition label and keep these guidelines in mind: fiber–at least 3 grams, and sugar–no more than 5 grams per serving)
- Pita chips
- Dried fruits
- Tea bags (ask for hot water and ice, then make your own iced tea)
If you’ve traveled to Europe, you’ve felt this! Loosely defined, jet lag is extreme tiredness and other physical effects felt after a long flight across several time zones. It has to do with disruption of the circadian rhythm (our body’s natural 24-hour cycle that responds primarily to light and dark). Travelers are more affected with eastbound rather than westbound flights, becoming worse the more time zones are crossed.
Here are some guidelines to help mitigate the effects:
- Sleep well before air travel.
- Try to sleep on the plane.
- Stay well hydrated. This includes water and coffee (caffeine has little effect on hydration); but avoid alcoholic beverages.
- Adopt the local time cues as quickly as possible. Re-set your watch, and eat and sleep on your new time schedule.
Enjoy your travels, follow social distancing regulations, mask up as needed, and return home with fabulous memories!
For ideas to get strong before your trip, give me a call!