Flying can wreak havoc on your body. Sitting still anywhere for 14 hours is challenging enough; on top of that, there's dry cabin air, l...

14-Hour Flight

Flying can wreak havoc on your body. Sitting still anywhere for 14 hours is challenging enough; on top of that, there's dry cabin air, less than stellar ergonomics for both sleeping and sitting, and very little to do.

I've written some about traveling before, mostly with regards to maintaining your weight while you're on the ground. But what about the flight itself? I take a lot of precautions to make sure I hit the ground ready to run, row, jump, squat, lift and weigh in.

First off, I manage my hydration. I always bring an empty water bottle and fill it once I'm through security. I try to drink to whole bottle in the first two hours of the flight. Every two hours after that, I'm up drinking more water. (Flight attendants often have cups of water available.)

Not only does this make sure I stay hydrated, which helps prevent the bloated feeling post travel, it also makes sure I get up every few hours to use the restroom. Between hydration, movement and extra hand-washing, drinking enough water is a triple threat against feeling crappy.

Note that I specify water. I very rarely drink juice and never drink soda, so drinking them on flights usually makes me feel bad. I would recommend sticking with water always, but if you don't like it, experiment and see what works for you!

Second, I plan ahead for food. Dietary restrictions make this absolutely necessary, but it's a smart move either way. If you've ever read a "10 Worst Snack Foods" list, featured at some point or another in almost every 'healthy living' magazine, you'll recognize most of them as offerings on your flight. (If there even are offerings.)

I pack meals for flights as if I were packing for a long day at work. I figure out which meals I will be missing, including some time on the ground, and pack accordingly. Mild flavors and scents are best. Sweet foods are usually readily available, including fruits, so I try to pack more savory foods and vegetables.

Some favorites:
- baby carrots and grape tomatoes; radishes and celery sticks also work well
- the little tubs of peanut butter (put them in your fluids bag!) or some PB2 powder
- pitas and tortillas with dry fried seasoned tofu (fry in a bit of oil until it's crispy and dry to the touch) {if they provide a meal, use some of the fresh veggies as filling}
- Clif bars

This time around, I also called the airline ahead of time to make a special meal request. Even if you don't have dietary restrictions, this might be a good idea. There is usually a list of options somewhere on the airline website. My mom tells me these options are usually tastier than the standard options.

Finally, I try to make sure I'll be as comfortable as possible. I wear comfortable, stretchy clothing and bring plenty of layers. My shoes come off pretty quickly into the flight. I try not to cross my legs and sit straight as much as possible.

If it's a red eye, I try to sleep as much as much as possible. To help myself sleep better on the flight, I usually bring a scarf that can be used as a pillow or blanket (although I've brought a real pillow before). I will also try to tire myself out the day of the flight, by getting up early, working out, and skipping a nap. Benadryl has also been a star guest on many of my red eye flights--it helps me sleep AND combats any allergies I might have on the flight. {I'm looking at you, dust!}

On long flights, I recommend using the flight to help adjust to the time difference. For example, on the flight to Sydney, I went to sleep at about 11:30pm PST, and ended up waking up around 8am PST. It was a great night of sleep, but I woke up at 2am Sydney time. Not ideal.

Instead, I should have aimed to stay up until 1am or so, at which point I would have been absolutely wiped. That would have gotten me about halfway adjusted to Sydney time, especially if I'd woken up a bit later.

What are your travel tips? I expect to do quite a bit of flying in the next 3-4 years, and the easier it is on my body, the better I will do at races.

You may also like

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.