Over 30 flights this year, most of them longer than 8 hours, and I’ve come to understand the importance of health & fitness in a way that I never would have living a “normal life.” In my normal life I only took about 8 intercontinental flights per year. Nevertheless, between my more than 30 flights, my anemia episodes, and my midday collapse while alone in Los Angles, I’ve been paying much closer attention to my health these days. The more I fly, for 20-30 hours, the more I realize that back strength is imperative, provoking blood circulation is mandatory and eating healthfully makes a world of difference. Healthy travel doesn’t happen on accident, so let’s explore a plan for your food, fitness and comfort that will at first take some practice but will quickly become second nature once you feel the benefits of floating off your flights and into your destiny. You too business and first class!
1. Food: Eat well, eat often.
2. Fitness: Get up and move. That also means exercises too.
3. Comfort: Use what you have, to get the rest you need.
You are what you eat, so let’s act like it, without getting too crazy though: eating flavorful gourmet bites is a way of life for me.
Up to two days before your flight prepare a leftover worthy meal like lasagna, meatloaf, oven-fried chicken, Spanish tortilla, meals whose flavors mingle well over night and improve with time. Meals like tempura shrimp or breakfast pancakes won’t be ideal. Place the leftover portion of your meal in a well locking Tupperware container - no loose tops – and place that Tupperware in a bag with disposable silverware so that you’re all set on flight day.
Snacks (Try them! These have been my favorite travel bites for more than 10 years now and now buying them has become a ritual. Try them, let me know what you think and send me your list of favorites so that I can add to my list.
Snacks are so important on a flight. They keep you happy, patient and passing the time in bliss, especially if they’re what your body needs. Here are a few of my go-to favorite snacks for all my journeys: beef jerky, dried fruits, fresh fruits, sweet and/or salty nuts, granola, trail mix, water, and chocolate.
On my recent journey to Mendoza I chose to take two, eight-hour flights back to back and because I usually deplane with swollen feed, due to a lack of circulation I decided to try something a little different: a workout. Not just walking around the plane, but a light “Plane Fit” workout (no equipment, no nothing except knowledge needed). It was magic and I’m kicking myself that I didn’t tap into this idea before. Let me show you what I mean and then I want you to send me some of your favorite exercises that might fit into this kind of mile high regimen.
Business and first class flying take all the guesswork out of getting comfy on a long-haul flight, but what about those less luxurious hauls across the ocean? Well they can be comfortable too with a few of my tips, learned from years of intercontinental flying, you’ll land well rested and ready to go. From seats, to clothes, sights, sounds, and your comfort within, everything matters.
Don’t worry, be happy
The first and best tip I have to get us started is, commit to your comfort no matter what. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned about flying – and about life in general- is that I have to be purely focused on my comfort and making sure that I feel great inside and out. Without thinking about how fellow flyers will look at me or judge me, I have to make sure that I’m having the best flight ever. This doesn’t mean being inconsiderate and making myself comfortable at the expense of my neighbors- because that wouldn’t make me feel good either -but it does mean doing a few things that may look “silly” but ultimately feel great.
I always try to choose a window seat and if possible, a seat in the exit row. When you lay a piece of carry-on luggage in front of you, you create the perfect impromptu business class flatbed seat upon which you can extend your legs and sleep well. If you don’t manage to get the exit row seat, the support of a window seat is still a great asset for getting a good night’s rest.
I love to look great on my way to the airport, in the airport and afterwards, but my time in-flight is all about comfort, so every time I fly, I come prepared. My inflight ware includes a pull over hoodie (no zippers), snowboarding socks, a long sleeve t-shirt, a scarf, a pair of cotton leggings and house slippers. The key for me is wearing close fitting pieces which prevent the drafts of cold air from making me uncomfortable or disturbing my sleep. All of these pieces do the trick and topped off with a scarf, you are perfectly swaddled to begin your trip to la la land. But wait, don’t forget your slippers! Slippers are an important touch during your long journey, keeping your readily mobile for easy trips to the galley way or the occasional bathroom break. Most of us don’t wear slide on shoes around town, so I’ve found that packing a pair of slippers for my mile-high strolls makes everything much easier.
Beats headphones are my best friend or just noise canceling headphones period. One my favorite tricks for getting comfortable, is resting a pair of padded headphones on my ears and listening to the sweet sounds of silence. Preventing the air from passing through your ears and keeping them war adds another level of comfort to your stay, but more importantly to your sleep.
Sleep (the good night combo)
Wearing your scarf, hat and headphones pull your blanket over your head, lean your seat back and throw your feet on the back of the arm rest of your neighbor ahead (not touching them of course) and get ready for some good sleep. No matter what the tips are, you’ll need to be comfortable with the fact that you might snore, or that your leg might slip or anything else, to get the solid 5-8 hours of sleep I’ve been able to enjoy regularly, because good sleep comes down to being comfortable in your own skin. That’s the best tip I can actually give.
Having a great long-haul experience comes down to only a few things - great food, great sleep and keeping your body moving. If you can get comfortable enough in your own skin to commit to all three, you can expect your next long-haul flight to be a walk in the park.
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