Air Travel - Health And Comfort

When taking an airplane trip, here are some tips to make air flight less stressful for your mind and body.

Staying seated in one spot for several hours is hardly anyone's idea of fun or comfort. In fact, holding the same position in a relatively limited space can be unhealthy or even unsafe. As you plan for a long air trip, take along a few strategies that can make your travel more comfortable and enjoyable.

1. Learn something about the aircraft. You can look up this information online ahead of your trip or ask a flight attendant during your flight. Knowing the strong design and durability of your aircraft will help to put your mind at ease during the flight so you'll be less preoccupied with anxiety, which can make you uncomfortable and raise stress levels.

2. Chew gum suck on hard candy during takeoff and landing. Swallowing motions can help to drain excess fluid in the ears that can be painful as the plane moves ascends or descends.

3. Take along reading material, hands-on work like knitting or writing, or mental activities like a crossword puzzle. Keeping occupied can alleviate the sense of boredom that may allow for nervousness or promote fatigue.

4. Shift positions while in your seat. Stretch out your legs occasionally, wiggle your toes, straighten and lift your legs up and down several times to increase circulation. When the seatbelt sign goes off and you're able to leave your seat, get up and move around, which can also help circulation. Sitting still for very long can lead to blood clots that may not show up for a few weeks; most require medical attention and some may be fatal.

5. Drink plenty of fluids before and during your trip. It's easy to become dehydrated as air pressure changes during a flight. Drink clear liquids, avoiding sugary substances that can make you hyper or alcohol, which can create sluggishness.

6. Know where the emesis bag is kept. If your stomach becomes queasy, you may need to grab it quickly to catch whatever your stomach ejects.

7. Wear comfortable clothing. Avoid constricting belts or straps. Opt for loose-fitting but not bulky outfits that allow your limbs to move freely and won't impede circulation.

8. Don't smoke. Lighting up in secret areas like the restroom can lead to a smoky haze that may set off alarms, or if not properly extinguished, cause a fire, endangering the lives of everyone on board. Save your smokes for when the plane lands.

9. Take over-the-counter medications with you. If you develop indigestion from the in-flight food or a headache while reading, you can quickly treat it instead of waiting for the plane to land and buy something or retrieve a medication from your luggage.

10. Bring comfort items. Soft toys for the kids, a pillow for your neck, or a foldable footstool can make the trip more enjoyable. Just be sure they fit in your carryon bag and don't take up so much room that they disturb other passengers.

Whatever your destination, plan ahead to meet health and safety needs so that you can arrive refreshed and in good shape.

© High Speed Ventures 2011