As Christmas approaches many of us will be jetting off to visit family, enjoy a winter holiday, or even – if you’re lucky enough – have some fun on an office Christmas outing.
While flying is seen by most as a time for relaxing and taking in a good movie, it can also be quite a taxing ordeal for your body.
A recent study by teletext holidays discovered that more than three quarters (76%) of people are failing to drink a safe amount of water on long-haul flights, while almost one-in-ten people (9%) admitted to not drinking any water on a flight of six hours of more.
People travelling for business are known to occasionally enjoy the perks of flying such as indulging in an alcoholic drink or two in the air, but considering the dehydrating effects of alcohol and the findings from the research, it starts to paint a picture of poor health in the skies.
When you consider that most commercial airplane cabins are kept at a humidity level of 20 per cent – 5 per cent lower than that of the Sahara desert – it’s easy to see why dehydration can often occur when flying.
According to the Aerospace Medical Association travellers should drink a minimum of one cup (250ml) of water per hour while flying, something the majority of people are failing to do.
Dehydration while flying can lead to ailments such as headaches and sore throats, certainly something to be avoided when flying for work purposes.
There are many other simple remedies you can employ to stay healthy while flying.
The changes of air pressure can make people with digestive problems even more uncomfortable while flying. It might sound strange, but some people drink activated charcoal just before boarding as a way of reducing digestive discomfort during a flight.
Most flyers are aware that sitting still for hours at a time isn’t great for your muscles or blood circulation, however you don’t have to run up and down the plane aisles every 30 minutes to keep active (unless you really need the toilet).
There are several exercises you can do from the comfort of your own seat while flying. These include neck rolls, legs lifts and body twists. In fact, some Chinese airlines play seat-based tai-chi videos during their flights and encourage passengers to follow along. This reduces both stiffness from the flight and the possibility of more serious complications such as deep vein thrombosis.
Self-care can continue after you land as well. Passengers are often advised to get some fresh air after reaching their destination by going on a short walk. This can help alleviate stiffness and familiarises your body with your natural surroundings after spending hours breathing in the dry, recycled air during the flight.
Some travellers also swear by putting their bare feet on a natural surface like grass or sand after a flight. This technique isn’t just about literally touching down with Mother Earth, it’s supposed to help reduce swelling in your feet and improve your blood flow.
Sadly one of the most annoying effects of flying long-haul – jetlag – has no easy remedies.
Most advice given around this temporary ailment is to get some natural sunlight and avoid caffeine or alcohol while your body is recalibrating. It’s also wise to avoid doing anything which can be affected by tiredness like driving, and to not schedule any meetings in immediately after landing from your long-haul flight.
Always verify visual guides featuring health tips before, during and after your flight, as well as exercises you can do while sat in your plane seat.