As exciting as travel and vacation are, long-haul flights can leave you with aches and pains. Additionally, sitting for long periods of time can slow blood flow and put susceptible individuals at risk of inflammation and blood clots (known as traveler’s thrombosis).
The key to staying healthy on a long-haul flight is preparation. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide on how to prevent getting sick and avoid aches and pains on a long-haul flight, complete with suggested apps and technology to help you on your journey.
Get up and stretch regularly
One of the main health problems on long-haul flights is prolonged sitting, which can be a risk factor for blood clots. According to the cdcYou can combat this risk by repeating two simple steps: moving around the cabin and stretching at regular intervals.
1. Set Reminders to Get Out of Your Seat
It can be easy to lose track of time on a long-haul flight, especially if you’re immersed in a good book, movie, or game. Use an app to remind you to get up and move or set alarms at regular intervals. Moving around the cabin during your long-haul flight is a great way to maintain blood circulation and the health of your organs.
Stand! work break timer is a free, customizable break scheduling app that can be downloaded to your iPhone or iPad. You can choose the time and frequency of stand up reminders and the alarm is a small ping so you won’t disturb neighboring passengers. For Android, stop sitting is a similar free app that allows you to create timers to divide up your rest periods.
2. Use a stretching app to avoid aches and pains
Moving around the cabin periodically is a great way to keep the blood flowing. Stretching will help you avoid aches and pains on long-haul flights. Before your flight, be sure to download an app or program that guides you through simple sections. Any app designed for desktop workouts is ideal since, just like your office space, you have little room to maneuver on an airplane.
During one of your cabin walks, find a quiet space out of the way to do some stretching. For example, you could do this while waiting in line to go to the bathroom. First, bend your knees and step up and down on the balls of your feet. Then lift one foot and circle your ankles to help improve your circulation. Lower leg and repeat on the other side.
Find leg, back and neck stretches in the app of your choice to help reduce cramps and pain during your flight. Office Yoga is a free app for Android and iOS that offers stretches you can do in a small space, making it an ideal tool for your long-haul flight.
Stay hydrated with a water reminder app
Long-haul flights are dehydrating due to the closed environment, low humidity, and persistent air conditioning. You may receive bottled water from the cabin crew throughout the flight, but it is important that you bring your own as well to ensure you drink enough during your journey.
According to the Aerospace Medical Association, you should drink about 8 ounces (240 ml) of water every hour to combat the low humidity in the cabin. He also recommends cutting back on beverages that can cause fluid loss, such as alcohol and caffeinated beverages.
Dehydration can not only cause lethargy and headaches (which is not the way you want to start your trip!), it can also expose you to potential bacteria and viruses on board.
Avoid unnecessary sickness, discomfort and pain on your long haul flight by using a water reminder app. There are plenty of water reminder apps for Android and hydration apps available for iOS to keep you drinking good stuff during your trip.
Or use Waterllama to turn water tracking into a fun challenge. This lovely app helps you reach your hydration goals without making it feel like a chore.
Discharge: water flame for iOS (Free in-app purchases available)
Reduce Bloating With Smart Snacks
Bloat on long-haul flights is caused by gas expansion: as a plane climbs, its internal gas expands as well (lovely). That’s why it’s recommended that you avoid gas-forming foods and carbonated beverages (think cabbage, broccoli, and fizzy drinks) before your flight. As the air you swallow from consuming them expands within you, it can cause discomfort.
We’re not just talking about bloating and digestive gas here, you may also feel more bloated than usual if you’re dehydrated. Snaffling tempting salty snacks on board can also contribute to this. At high altitudes, your taste buds are altered. That’s why you crave salty and sweet foods to make up for the compromised taste.
Before you fly, cut down on gas-producing foods and pack low-sodium, low-sugar snacks to take away. If you’re not sure which types of foods cause gas, consulting an app to monitor a low FODMAP diet can help. FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols: short-chain carbohydrates that can cause bloating and gas in some people.
The Monash app is considered the gold standard of FODMAP apps, as the low FODMAP diet was developed by a research team at Monash University in Australia. The app contains a comprehensive food guide that is color coded to help guide your food choices.
Get a much-needed rest on the plane
Long-haul flights can cause dizziness in some people. You can control and avoid motion sickness by sleeping and trying breathing techniques.
Even if you don’t suffer from motion sickness, resting on your long-haul flight is valuable, since traveling is exhausting. Using a smart sleep mask or other sleep technology designed for a good night’s sleep can ensure that you get your rest without being disturbed.
There are also many free apps you can use to help you relax, unwind, and sleep. Some people find that ASMR apps can help them fall asleep. If ASMR isn’t your thing, a soundscape app can help you relax. Spotify also offers plenty of relaxing sounds and playlists that can help you get some sleep on your flight.
Avoid aches and pains on your next long-haul flight
You don’t need to feel uncomfortable or worry about your health on your next flight. As with most things, preparation is key. In addition to our tips above, be sure to wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing and leave the space under the seat in front of you clear so you can stretch out your legs. Finally, make sure you’re prepared with your favorite movies, games, and book apps to keep you entertained during your flight.