Why movement in the air is important
In the face of stressful challenges, the frequent flyer needs to remain strong on the road, learning how to manage their health and wellness as a tool to increase performance, productivity and acclimatisation. Travel fatigue upsets the body’s natural balance for days after the trip, but it can be managed and reduced with a focused self-care regime of nutrition and supplementation, hydration, exercise, rest and relaxation.
Sitting is considered the new smoking and for air passengers, this often happens in front of a laptop combined with sitting on an aircraft (whatever the class) for hours which greatly impacts the traveller’s physiology. Technology can be part of the challenge (if overused) because living with technology is negatively impacting our health through light interactions which are known disruptors of hormones and circadian rhythms of our bodies. To add to the stress, in-flight WIFI has led businesses to expect more from their ‘superhuman’ frequent traveller who is expected to continue working during the flight, responding immediately to all communication as if they were still in the office. But what is happening to our bodies at altitude particularly with so little movement and how can we take control to protect our wellbeing?
As the aircraft's altitude increases, the pressure inside the cabin falls which can result in physiological changes including the way your taste buds function. Your intestinal gas can expand as much as 50% more than at sea level causing potential discomfort. The changes in air pressure stretch the gut membranes which increases the absorption surfaces and interferes with normal digestion and the normal gut rhythm. One consequence is that alcohol is more quickly absorbed, and you need to drink less to become drunk.
Being cramped in any seat anywhere on land, sea, or in the air for a long period of time is detrimental for your circulation. Whatever the class seat, everyone should get up, incorporate some yoga moves where space allows, and walk about stretching as many muscles as possible. The key is not to stay in the same position for long. This applies to all classes of travel irrespective of cost. Sleeping in a cramped position is not an optimal health solution and because of this, Business Class will always win from a resting and sleeping perspective.
If you are susceptible, cramping can potentially lead to Deep Vein Thrombosis in people with a predisposition to this condition. This has been mistakenly called 'The economy class syndrome'. The other potential serious danger apart from developing a DVT, which can occur in any traveller sitting still for long periods of time on a boat, in a car or coach or a train, is the chance of the clot travelling in the bloodstream to the lungs, where it can cause a pulmonary embolism. Travelling anywhere with less space than normal means stretching is harder to undertake without the use of the aisle. The higher class of fare you pay, the more space you have access to but it’s the exercises and stretching that give the benefit no matter where you are seated.
The airline industry is taking note; sitting down for such long durations is contributing to unhealthy travellers. With this in mind, the future of airline travel includes concepts such as an onboard spin studio to keep passengers moving in the air.
To operate at your optimum on arrival, you can supplement nutrients and vitamins during your trip that may be lacking in your diet. JetFuel by 15th Degree provides vitamins, minerals, botanicals and bacterial cultures to help maintain your energy, cognitive, immune, circulation, digestion and rest function to reduce fatigue whilst travelling.