How to stay comfortable, and keep the circulation going, on aeroplane-trips

Whether you are catching a short- or a long flight, planes are not always the most comfortable place to be in – unless, of course, you can afford to fly business class or first class.

Overall, the airlines main objective is to pack as many bodies as possible, into the aeroplane; thus, seats are created to optimize space and not passengers’ comfort.  In recent years, premium economy-class has been added to various airlines, which have roomier legroom, wider seats, and so forth.  No matter in which class you fly, our bodies are not made to sit for such a long period at a time (especially on long flights).  Reading an article in a magazine written specifically about Pilates, I came across a few good tips that will help to make your journey more comfortable, and teach you a few movements / stretches to keep the circulation going.

One of the first things is to try and book seats that is side-by-side (especially when you are not flying alone).  This way you can sleep, stretch, move, and so on, without bothering a stranger (s).  Seats that are on the aisles are always a good option; not only for getting up faster and easier, but also because you can stand up and move more freely.  Seats at the exit-doors have more legroom but don’t recline; so for a long flight rather book seats that can recline. 

Many people use a special neck pillow, but there is also pillows on the market that covers your entire back, shoulders and head.  Airlines do have pillows, but if you are using your own pillow, use the airline pillow to support your lower-back (lumbar spine-) area. 

Staying hydrated is a must.  Make sure to drink enough water, as the air-conditioning in the plane can make you thirsty and dry out your skin.  Some people like to have a glass of wine or other alcoholic beverage with their meals.  However, be careful not to drink too much (even when it is for free).  Due to the air pressure and altitude, alcohol can make you tipsy very quickly, as well as dehydrate you faster (same goes for caffeine).  Rather opt for water and/or juice or other non-alcoholic beverages. 

Make sure to have something to eat.  Some people don’t like the food served on planes – if you prefer to eat your own, make sure to stock up on granola bars, dried nuts and/or fruits, protein bars, and other snacks that not only satisfies your hunger pangs, but also keep your blood sugar at a good level.

Watching a movie, reading a book, listening to music, or playing a card game, for example, are all things that you can do to stay busy – and, of course – sleep!

Getting up, standing, walking around (if possible) and stretching is important.  Another tip is not to cross your legs when you are sitting, as this will cut off circulation.  Rather just cross your ankles.

Some people keep their shoes on, so make sure your shoes are comfortable.  Due to air pressure your feet and ankles can swell; make sure your shoes, socks and your pants, are not tight.  Many people like to take their shoes off; you can easily do that as all airlines provide socks that you can wear over yours. 

A tip for all the men (and some young people as well):  make sure there is nothing in your trousers’ back pockets, as there is nothing more uncomfortable to sit on your wallet or keys!

Many health practitioners also advise older people to wear special socks and/or take ½ an aspirin to prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT).  Before you do it, please ask your health care practitioner about it, as every person is different.

All in all, flying does not have to be dreaded.  By wearing the right clothes, making sure that you have a comfortable seat, and keeping your body hydrated and nourished, flying can, in fact be enjoyed!

Next week I will give you some easy exercises that you can do on the plane; and, in fact, even at the office!  Until next week…happy flying!

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