It’s the same story every year. You’re on a jam-packed, red eye flight hurrying back for the holidays and crammed in between a screaming child and a snoring salesman with sleep apnea. Driven to the brink by incessant crying and muffled grunts, you spend the duration of the flight pleading with the stewardess for a parachute and contemplating a mad dash for the emergency exit. After a stern scalding, you slink back into your seat—resigned to a restless journey and confined to a veritable holiday hellscape.
While you can’t alter an unfortunate seating arrangement, there are a variety of products and exercises that can mitigate the awful side-effects of stressful travel. There’s no need for festive flying to be a harrowing experience—if anything you should feel rested after a long journey. Luckily, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of travel health tips that will help you relax, reduce nausea, motion sickness and stay sane. Read on to discover a few useful trips that will transform your holiday travel experience.
Stretch on the Plane to Stay Nimble
Maintaining flexibility is vital to your physical health year-round, but being nimble especially comes in handy during the holidays. You never know when you’ll need to dodge disapproving glares from your in-laws or even worse—a projectile dinner roll launched during the annual family political forum. If you’re not diligent, however, your flexibility can deteriorate after an extended period of sitting
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During long flights, your body is stationary for a prolonged period which leads to joint stiffness and discomfort. Thankfully, there are multiple movement-minimal exercises that can be performed on a plane that won’t draw as much attention as in-aisle pilates. When you’re seated, you can effectively relieve muscle tension by doing a few neck rolls. Simply touch your chin to your chest and slowly roll your head side to side.
To stretch out your spinal column without standing, try giving yourself a gentle seated twist. All you have to do is firmly grab the armrests on both sides, partially elevate your body and twist. If you feel your legs falling asleep from lack of circulation, perform a series of leg extensions to get blood flowing. While leaning against your seatback, slowly lift your legs out straight and keep your knees locked. To make these exercises even more effective, consider storing a TheraBand resistance band in your carry on.
You can also pump some blood back into your extremities through a strategically timed bathroom visit. Take advantage of your time standing in the aisle and sneak in a few calf raises as you wait in line. This exercise will effectively stretch out your calf muscles and wake up your lethargic legs.
Exercise Your Core
Concerned about getting a gut from holiday treats? Planes are the perfect place to subtly strengthen your core. While you may not leave the tarmac with washboard abs, you can avoid having a scrunched up stomach if you perform a few simple exercises.
By far the easiest way to put seated core exercises into practice is to merely flex your abdominal muscles while you sit. When you flex, you engage your core and strengthen the abdominal scoop and pelvic floor. Leg lifts are another way to sculpt your core from a seated position. Put your legs together and raise them up and down in a controlled motion. This exercise specifically targets your lower abdominal muscles. If you’re feeling bold, try placing a book between your thighs and giving a slight squeeze. By asserting pressure on the book, you’ll exercise your inner thighs, abductors and abdomen.
Wear a Pair of Compression Socks
Going through airport security during peak season can involve endless hours of aimless standing. The extended waiting time coupled with the long walk to your gate can leave your feet sore. If you already have had medical problems related to your feet (Plantar Fasciitis, heel spurs, arch pain, etc.), the pain you experience after a day in the airport can be unbearable. Thermoskin plantar fasciitis compression socks actively alleviate foot pain by asserting pressure to the source of discomfort.
These socks aren’t a magical remedy for uncomfortable shoes, however, so consider wearing them alongside your favorite pair of sneakers.
Reduce Nausea with a Sea-Band
If you suffer from bouts of nausea when buffeted by turbulence, try wearing a Sea-Band for travel sickness before hopping aboard the plane. These bands utilize acupressure and alleviate nausea by targeting the Nei-Kuan pressure point. By wearing a Sea-Band, you can treat your nausea or motion sickness without turning to prescription medication.
We can’t guarantee that your holiday travel will be pleasant, but by following these simple tips, you’ll move one step closer to an enjoyable in-flight experience. To find products that will ease the stress of your holiday travel endeavors, check out iHealthSphere’s resistance bands, compression socks and Sea-Bands.