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Making travel comfortable and easy

health-and-fitness Updated: Jul 23, 2011 18:39 IST
Dr Shikha Sharma
Dr Shikha Sharma
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Today, more of us are travelling more than we’ve ever done before. We travel on business and for pleasure, and as we become frequent fliers, we realise that, health-wise, there are a huge number of challenges to face. These include:



A tendency to binge eat as we are not sure when we’ll next be able to eat a comfortable meal.

A tendency to overload on the fatty, oily foods served on flights or at airport restaurants.

Muscle pain, circulation problems and knee pain due to sitting in one place for long hours.

Dehydration on long flights.

Sleep problems due to odd travel timings and jet lag.



But you don’t need to suffer these problems if you take certain precautions that will make travel more comfortable and less daunting. These include:



DrinkDrink

On any long duration flight, it is important to hydrate yourself adequately. So while on the plane, drink lots of water, soda-free drinks and juices. Soda-free drinks are important as they cause less stomach gas and discomfort. Plus, carbonated beverages tend to have a lot of sugar, which can result in a headache. You can drink tea or coffee, but only in moderation because these beverages tend to dehydrate the body and also may lead to headaches.



Eat

On a plane, your body is unable to digest food well. This is because you aren’t able to move about freely. Body movement aids gas expulsion and normal bowel movements, and on a plane, your ability to move is drastically reduced. This results in stomach distention, delayed gastric emptying and a lot of discomfort. Plus, the food that you should ideally eat while on a flight is precisely the food that is not available.



On a plane, you should eat fruits, light meals like sautéed vegetables, dumplings, boiled corn and so on. But except for fruit and fruit juices, these are not available. Try to avoid very oily food on the flight as it creates digestion problems and gas and builds up high cholesterol, especially if your liver is weak. Also, try to avoid mixing foods incorrectly. For instance, drinking fruit juice with dinner will create gas and cause you to belch.



Exercise

Try to do as much stretching as possible during your flight. You can achieve this by walking up and down the aisle. Some simple exercises are also possible while seated – ankle rotations, forward bending and raising and stretching the arms.

Fitness

Sleep

Rather than sleep long hours at a stretch, it’s advisable to take power naps of 45 minutes to two hours. This will ensure you get some rest without giving you a stiff neck. If you travel for more than a week every month, you need to build travel stamina and health. So:

Run / walk / jog regularly to build calf muscle circulation.

Detoxify your liver to prevent cholesterol build-up. Include amla, aloe vera and vegetable juices with tomatoes, cucumber, fruits and green leafy vegetables in your diet.

Exercise to strengthen the back.

From HT Brunch, July 24

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