Airlines are beginning to promote in-flight aerobics to decrease the negative effects of flying. Jet lag and the stress of flying can leave travelers weary from long
hours spent in terminals and on planes. The added effects of limited movement, dehydration and time changes result in discomfort for even the best-conditioned athletes.
In fact, a highly tuned athlete may feel the physical effects of travel more than a less-body-conscious, sedentary traveler.
"Plane Aerobics" is an exercise video developed by Northwest Airlines for passengers to watch and participate in from their seats prior to landing. The exercises leave them feeling relaxed and less stiff and experiencing less leg edema.
Activity is generally recommended during long flights. If possible try to get an aisle seat. Get up several times during a flight- hourly if you can-and take a walk down the aisle. You can also do some deep knee bends and stretch in the space provided by the rest-rooms. If you are confined to your seat, performing isometric contractions with the muscles in your legs and abdominals will hinder fluid pooling. In addition, neck and shoulder rolls will help alleviate stiffness. Other in-flight recommendations to avoid travel fatigue include the following:
» Drink copious amounts of water or other nonalcoholic, non caffeinated beverages.
» Eat light during the flight. Go higher in carbohydrates when advancing in time zone and higher in protein when re-turning. Always limit fats and salt. Most airlines now provide healthier meals upon request; simply call 24 hours prior to your flight to arrange for a special low fat meal or fruit plate.
» Catnap when you can to relieve stress and adjust to new time zones easier.
» Wear loose clothing and shoes.
» Carry gum or nasal decongestant spray to avoid in-flight ear blockage.
» Exercise outdoors in the sunlight upon arrival. This will not only help you feel better, but also speed the resetting of your internal clock.
Follow these tips and your common sense, and you will be better able to cope with the stress involved in flying.