Many people hate travelling - however you look at it, it's a bit of a palaver. Arrive at the airport 3 hours early, check in, get rid of your bags, head to the lounge, try and get some last minute work done before boarding. Find somewhere comfy with food, get up to go to the gate and board the plane, but the gate has changed, now you have to trek 20 minutes across the airport to get to the new gate, you're stressed, tired, you've either woken up early to fly or been at work all day already. Now you're worried - you board the plane feeling distinctly average and know that after a 7, 8 hour flight you're only going to feel worse.
There ARE ways to get off a flight feeling good, but too many people either don't know how to, or simply haven't been told correctly what they should be doing to give themselves the best shot at feeling awesome upon landing.
Here are the three most obvious steps you can take - if you don't do these 3 things on your flight, you don't actually deserve to arrive feeling good. It's so simple to improve how you feel with very little work.
1. Set up your pillow to support your lumbar spine and your headrest to support your neck
Sitting on a plane fixes you into a very upright position, if not for the whole flight at least for parts of it. The first thing you should do when you get on is simply make sure you get as comfortable as possible. This means putting your pillow at your lower back to give you some lumbar support. Secondly, adjust the headrest so that it's a) at the correct height to support your head and b) you curve it around so it stops your head from falling to one side if you are sleeping.
2. Set your timer or stopwatch to get up at least every hour and a half.
WALK AND STRETCH.
Next, make sure that you have either a timer / stopwatch or you simply take note of the time so that you know how often you have to get up and walk around. If you KNOW that you are going to feel rubbish when you've been cooped up in an airline seat, ensure that you walk around enough for it to not be a problem. I always choose an aisle seat when I travel, so that it's easy for me to get in and out and allow me to walk around. I like to make sure I get up every hour and a half at the absolute minimum.
Not only are you getting up, you're walking to the toilets - usually there are bulkheads or a bit of open space around the toilet areas meaning that you can move laterally as well as forwards and backwards, which means you can stretch your legs and open up your hips in ways you simply can't do from your chair. Walk to an end of the aircraft, do some calf raises, put your hands over your head and stretch against the wall in front of you.
Stretches to do:
1. Use a staggered stance with the leg you want to stretch behind you.
2. Keep your rear leg heel planted on the ground, place your hands on the wall, and lean foward 'into' the wall as much as possible.
3. You will feel a stretch at the rear of your rear leg. If you don't, move your rear leg further away from the wall and try again. (The opposite leg, or leg closest to the wall, is being bent to allow you to keep the rear leg straight..) Hold for 20 seconds per leg.
1. Use a square stance (feet pointing forwards, equidistant to the wall)
2. Place hands on wall, push your hips and glutes back and you will feel a stretch in the rear of your legs, quite high up towards your buttocks.
3. Push your hips back more to increase the stretch - use your hands to support yourself if you can get low enough - hold for 20 seconds.
Lateral Groin Stretch
1. Place your feet outside shoulder width apart, and bend at the hips in the same way as for the above hamstring stretch. The further you bend down the more you should feel the stretch in the hamstrings and also your groin and inner thighs.
2. Increase the stretch on one side by leaning over towards the ankle on that side.
3. Relax into the stretch and try and go deeper as you relax more.
These stretches will really help to get your blood moving, warding off the dreaded Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and allows you to move your body and literally make yourself feel good.
3. Drink lots of water. ONE glass PER hour
You become dehydrated quickly normally, and being stuck on a plane with recycled air just makes this situation worse. You should be trying to drink a glass of water every hour at the very least. You'll feel better for it. And try and refrain from the alcohol - you're doing nothing but dehydrating yourself further.
These 3 tips are very simple, but will change how you feel when you disembark the aircraft. Most people know these things, but are too lazy to make sure that they do them. The difference is astounding - you can get off a plane feeling good, and well rested, rather than like you've just travelled thousands of miles.
The only person responsible for how your body feels is you! Look after your body and you'll be rewarded. Share this with anyone who needs to fly better!