Travelling takes it’s toll even on the fittest and healthiest of us. Although there’s not much you can do to change the impact on your body clock of flying into a different time zone, you can try to throw yourself into your new time zone during the flight by trying to eat and sleep at the times that are normal at your destination and stick with it when you get there. But many of the symptoms associated jet lag are caused by the same things that make us feel bad when we are not travelling – poor diet, excess consumption of nasty foods and substances, dehydration and lack of activity causing poor circulation. So it makes sense that the best way to combat the side effects of air travel is through healthy eating, exercise, proper rest and a couple of tricks of trade from the Yogic tradition. I shared my flying tips with Holiday Goddess.
Before you travel
- Pack chopped fresh ginger or ginger tea bags for during the flight – ginger improves blood circulation and also alleviates nausea. (Note: if you have taken fresh ginger on board, remember to leave it on the plane or throw it in the bins before you reach customs).
- Have a fresh, healthy meal so you’ll be less inclined to get hungry and eat during the flight.
- Walk around as much as you can before you board – you’re going to be sitting for hours ahead, so move while you can.
During the flight
- Practice Yogic breathing on take off and landing
- Avoid drinking alcohol, tea and coffee as they are dehydrating.
- Drink plenty of warm water and ginger tea. Unlike tea and cold water, warm water will circulate throughout the whole body helping to hydrate the skin and blood capillaries.
- Place a cool damp cloth over your face.
- Do the recommended in-flight exercises.
- Walk around the cabin as much as you can to stretch out your legs and back. Full body stretches (with your arms stretching above your head and leaning back from the waist) and leg lunges (stepping one leg in front of the other and bending at the knee) are especially good to get energy flowing through the back and legs.
- Limit the amount of food you eat and if possible fast during the flight – it’s one way to have a mini-cleanse and you’ll feel better for it afterwards.
- When you get off the plane, sit quietly for five minutes. Practice the Yogic breathing technique, particularly focusing on drawing the energy down into your belly.
- When you arrive at your hotel, dump your bags and take yourself out for a vigorous walk or run outside in the fresh air.
- Back in your room, practice legs up the wall pose.
- Hit the streets and eat some good, fresh local food.
- Help your body adjust to your new time zone, by trying to stick to what’s normal in your new location. So, if you arrive during the day get plenty of rest but try to stay awake until it’s bedtime for where you are (not where you’ve come from), eat meals at the normal breakfast, lunch and dinner times and keep yourself hydrated.
© Kris McIntyre 2012