Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Fit Tips for Airport Travel

There’s nothing like the feeling of long travel days, the dehydration and swelling you experience from those oxygen-lacking flights, the less-than healthy processed foods you grab in the airports and the skipped workouts. All of this combines to make you feel, well, less than your best self.

My schedule entails a lot of time in airports and on long flights so I am no stranger to this feeling. Every trip I go in with the mission to combat this feeling and attempt to stay feeling good, energized and fit.

After personal trial and error and experimentation, I have found a few things that have drastically help me both look and feel better, as well as keep fit and healthy on those travel days. So next time you’re in for a long one give these a try – Happy Travels!

ü HYDRATE! – If nothing else, stay hydrated, I under-estimated the importance of this. Just look at what happens to a bottle of water (all suctioned at the end of a flight), this is essentially what happens to your body. Dehydration not only makes you feel sluggish, your skin will look dull, and you will likely feel hungrier, causing you to eat more than you normally would.

ü Go to the Bathroom every hour on flight – This forces you to stretch your legs and help get your blood flowing again, reducing the amount of swelling in your body. Challenge yourself to drink enough water that you actually need to use the restroom every hour. This is harder to do than you may think on the plane, but you will feel exponentially better if you can do this.

ü STRETCH – Try to stand up and stretch you arms, legs and back. Stand in place in the aisle for a few minutes and do this. I tend to stretch my quads a lot on flight because these muscles seem to tighten up most for me (plus it’s an easy stretch to do – just bend one knee and grab your foot with your hand).

ü SNACK – If a flight is short, I encourage you to eat meals either before or after the flight. The airport options are not diet-friendly (and don’t think ordering a salad is a healthy option – most airport salads are loaded with high calorie ingredients and dressings that are worse for you than a standard fast-food meal). Try to bring your own snacks such as apples, nuts, bananas, whole grain bread with almond butter etc. These snacks should keep you feeling satisfied and get you to your destination without packing on the high-fat, high-calorie options.

ü If you must have a MEAL…..choose your meal wisely (think of what you will feel like after versus what looks good in the moment). Opt for a sandwich and soup or chili. I love Wendy’s baked potato and chili. Baked potatoes are often avoided because of common ‘carb-phobia’ but they are actually high in something called resistance starch, which speeds up your metabolism, keeps you full longer and activates mood-boosting hormones in your brain. So go ahead – indulge!

If you are in for a long flight and must eat on the plane – they usually give you an option of meat or pasta + a vegetable + salad + appetizer + dessert. Go for the meat and eat the veggies and salad – skip the dessert if you’re really trying to keep healthy.

ü WALK- Weather it’s a long layover or you have time to kill before boarding, airports are huge areas with lots going on – so get out and walk around. Rather than going directly to your gate and plopping yourself down for an hour, explore the airport, browse the shops, and if you’re lucky enough to have minimal carry-on luggage take a brisk walk around for 10-20 minutes. You will feel better and more relaxed on flight.

ü Wear comfortable shoes and clothing so you are more apt to move around, walk and if you have enough time, you can pay a small fee to store your belongings at the airport and go for a walk or jog outside.

ü When you reach your destination, the best thing you can do to rejuvenate yourself and fight jetlag is to get in a workout. It doesn’t have to be long; even 15 minutes can do the trick. As tired as you may feel, the hardest part is getting started, it will be more than worth it! Bring a jump rope and try my 15 min rope workout: http://dynamicworkouts.blogspot.com/2009/10/jump-your-way-fit-in-less-than-15.html


Fun Flying!!


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