Written by Papillon Luck and originally published on Gate 8's blog 19th June 2018.
I’m sitting at Stansted airport waiting to board a flight to travel to a conference to deliver a pitch tomorrow. You can picture the scene (I’m sure you’ve been there), I’m half concentrating on finishing the slide deck (should have been done weeks ago) whilst keeping one eye on the departure board. I’m full of adrenaline and anxiety in anticipation of the pitch. The journey hasn’t even started and I’m already mentally exhausted. But whilst a concoction of adrenaline and caffeine used to get you through stressful business travel, if you haven’t got the memo, this is no longer on trend. Wellness is now the most efficient strategy to dominating your schedule. It’s the key to traveling the world whilst staying mentally and physically fit. Airlines and hotels know it and are driving a seismic shift towards healthier passengers as they realise they are also happier passengers.
During my investment banking and hedge fund career, I used to manage travelers facing the same amount of pressure. Schedules were insane, often with day return flights from London to NYC for a 30-minute meeting. Back in the day they flew luxurious Concorde, but now premium economy with constant access to wifi has to suffice. The side effects of frequent travel manifest themselves in different ways. Watching frequent flyers neglect their health made me want to help. I spent 2 years in research and development, formulating the world’s first 3 step travel fatigue food supplement product range to alleviate travel fatigue.
During this time, I learnt how to hack travel to be healthier. Wellness travel is beginning to gain its own niche within the global wellness industry and traveling is about to get a whole lot of healthier. As a qualified personal trainer, I implement these top 6 travel hack principles into my routine to optimise my health during a trip. I hope you find them beneficial. Biohackers swear by them.
1. Fasting, New research shows it's actually nutrition rather than light that plays the biggest role in realigning our bodies on touchdown. Fasting throughout the flight and having a meal at your arrival destination can greatly help resynchronise. Avoiding eating through boredom or a need for comfort, especially when cabin crew are being persuasive, this requires mindfulness.
2. Hydration, everyone knows they’re likely to be dehydrated at ground level but at 6500 feet, faced with 50% drier air in the cabin than on the ground, the problem is amplified, you are literally losing moisture through the skin and mouth, even whilst breathing. Add alcohol and you really start to feel the effects. Whilst many health functions are affected by dehydration, water alone isn’t always the answer. Replenish the minerals and vitamins your body is negated of during travel. 15th Degree’s pre, during, post travel wallet contains premium minerals, vitamins and live bacterial cultures to address the 6 health functions that misalign during travel.
3. Exercise is never a luxury, it’s a necessity for the jet-setter who has to cognitively perform on landing. Always train when you land, preferably in natural daylight but if you arrive in the evening, a late-night swim or yoga is a great way to re-align. On arrival, it isn’t the time to smash out a WOD, your body has experienced stress during the journey. Athletes travel in advance to reacclimatise before they compete. Be kind to your immune system and go for a run or join a bootcamp in the local park. Nothing raises endorphins and enhances mental wellbeing like a dose of Vitamin D and training in the great outdoors. Whatever hemisphere you’re in, nothing beats it. Just remember to pack your training gear in advance, failing that, many hotels are renting kit, but I’m not quite convinced about sharing someone else’s trainers.
4. Optimised rest, Grab it where you can rather than stressing about re aligning your usual routines. A combination of rest, relaxation and some well-timed snoozes of 40 minutes, can help top up your body’s reserves. Get an upgrade or cut costs elsewhere in the budget, flying business class benefits your wellness no end. A necessity that makes you money not costs you, if you need to cognitively perform upon landing. To block out the engine noise and remain headache free, always fly with noise cancelling earphones. A game changer if you struggle to block out your surroundings and are highly susceptible to noise, like me.
5. Oxygen, To bounce back, many jet-setters swear by using Hyperbaric chambers for a dose of oxygen upon landing. Many tech entrepreneurs have their homes kitted out with them, but you don’t need to be a billionaire to get the benefits. High altitude, dehydration and reduced oxygen all affect your physiology post travel. Breathing pure oxygen in a pressurised tube enables your lungs to utilise more oxygen than it gets from breathing pure oxygen at regular air pressure (2 to 3 times higher inside the chamber than airline cabin pressure). This is supposed to help fight bacteria and promote healing from injury or illness but be prepared for your ears to pop due to the compression (it's also very hard to look attractive in the chamber).
Visit HBOT, Mayfair - one of London’s first, and best, Hyperbaric chambers, headed up by Dr Robert Pender.
6. Keep mentally positive with guided mindfulness and meditation techniques. It’s easy to feel stressed, overwhelmed and out of control on the ground let alone on the road. To get the most out of your trip and stay thinking positively, optimise both your body and mind. If you find yourself stressed about a situation, change it. If it remains out of your control, change the way you view it. Sound advice wherever you are in the world.