Have you traveled by plane recently? Whether you fly for fun, family, or business, it can be stressful, exhausting, and downright uncomfortable. Who wants to spend that much money on a ticket to feel horrible once you get to your destination?!? For most of us, getting through security will never be relaxing, and sitting in coach will never be comfortable, but there are a few things you can do that really help.
IndependentTraveler.com has a long list of tips and tricks. For instance:
- Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Loose, stretchy fabrics will allow you to breathe and sit for long periods of time with less discomfort. Layers will allow you to tackle both stuffy and chilly planes, and comfortable shoes might allow you to get through the airport with ease and stretch your toes mid-flight.
- Pack less. The last thing you need before a long flight is an injury to your back or shoulder from hauling your luggage around the numerous obstacles from home to airport to airplane, and then getting it up and into the overhead bin. And with so little leg room to start with, an extra few carry-on items under the seat in front of you might not be worth it if you end up more cramped and uncomfortable by the time you arrive.
- Hydrate. Not only can the highly processed air make you feel like you spent your travel time in the hot dessert instead of a plane, but not getting enough hydration during that much stationary time can also increase your risk of deep vein thrombosis (more below). Don’t forget this also means you should be careful of your alcohol and caffeine intake, as both of these can be dehydrating.
According to the National Institutes of Health, flights longer than four hours can slightly increase your risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), the formation of blood clots in your deep veins. The advice for reducing your risk of DVT is the same advice that will likely reduce many of the other physical discomforts of flying, so it’s worth heeding!
- Get up a few times during your flight (or at least every hour for longer flights) to walk up and down the aisle of the plane.
- While sitting, flex and stretch your legs to encourage blood flow (particularly in your calves).
- Wear clothes that won’t constrict blood flow.
- Stay hydrated and avoiding alcohol.
- Those at high risk for DVT may also be advised to wear compression stockings or taking blood thinners before flying.
Tip: For those of your prone to swollen ankles while flying (gasp!), compression socks may also help keep you sandals-ready by arrival!
The MoveForwardPT.com (from the American Physical Therapy Association) has a helpful video with additional tips and advice for being more physically comfortable while flying.
Absolute Wellness Center in Eugene, OR offers sports medicine, chiropractic medicine, naturopathic medicine, physical rehabilitation, acupuncture, and therapeutic massage. If you have specific questions about how you can travel more comfortably and safely, particularly if you are managing a current or prior injury, you may be interested in talking with Dr. Michael Herb, DC, DACBSP or give us a call at 541-484-5777.