Taking a long-haul flight is perhaps not the most healthy of activities. Think about it – there you are sitting in a cramped metal tube with hundreds of other passengers whilst suspended some thirty thousand feet in the air breathing semi-recirculated air. You are exposed to an atmosphere of low oxygen and humidity and are at increased risk from pathogens such as bacteria and viruses.
On top of this you can spend hours not moving at all whilst consuming an unhealthy cocktail of processed food, alcohol, caffeine and sugar. And as you pass through multiple time zones your body clock is turned upside down.
In this article we give some tips to help keep you in better shape when flying long-haul and perhaps reduce your risk of falling ill during travel.
Preparation: Booking your flight
Airliners can cruise at altitudes significantly higher than the summit of Mount Everest. The further you climb the lower the atmospheric air pressure. This means that aircraft cabins need to be pressurised – not to ground level but usually at an altitude equivalent range of between 5,000 and 8,000 feet (1,500-2,400m).
The latest generation of aircraft – Airbus A380, Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 have cabin pressure altitudes at the lower end of that scale. If available on your flight route then consider flying on one of these new aircraft types. They have considerably quieter engines and many passengers feel more comfortable on board.
When searching for flights think about travelling at the most convenient time possible – 4am departures or arrivals can be very tiring indeed.
If you can afford it or have a stash of frequent flier miles then flying first or business class will give you more comfort and space on a long flight. However some premium travellers have an attitude to gorge on food and alcohol to “maximise” the experience!
The key to staying healthy throughout your trip is to support your immune system with a healthy diet, exercise and high quality supplements before you travel. Consider taking a combination such as a multi-supplement + fish oil + immune booster which we have personally had very good results with in helping keep colds at bay on long flights.
Stay well hydrated in the 2 days prior to travel by drinking plenty of water.
Always try to get a good night’s sleep the day before you fly. At bedtime put a drop of lavender oil on your temple or pillow which may help you relax.
You should also get some exercise before a long flight, preferably outdoors rather than in the gym. Go for a walk and get some fresh air and sunshine which will give your vitamin D levels a boost.
In the hours leading up to the flight choose a moment to get your online check-in done and select your seat. You may want to research the best seat options for your class of travel.