Categorized | Primary, Reflections

Jet Lag – Top 10 Elimination Tips for Athletes

Posted on 04 April 2014

For those of you that travel long distances (via planes) for work, vacations or races, jet lag can become a significant factor until the body acclimates to new time zones.   Over all the years of traveling and trying many different methods to reduce the exhaustive affects of traveling, below is my list of top 10 things to do to feel better when dealing with long hours sitting in the plane.

In over 25 years of traveling, I have incorporated many crazy ideas including pushups on the plane, running up and down escalators in the airport prior to leaving (with briefcase on the back), – yes I looked like an idiot. Of all the different methods, the most important is to drink a lot of water.

Top 10 Tips to eliminate Jet Lag with long flights (6+ hours)

1. During the flight one of the common problems is the significant dehydration that will compound every hour, keep alcohol to a minimum. I know you might need a few glasses of wine just to relax if you’re not accustomed to long travel, but it will help if you reduce or eliminate alcohol.
2. Drink 16 – 20 ounces of water every hour. Your going to think this is crazy and having to get up to go the bathroom constantly – yes, but it works and you will feel significantly better by staying with continuous hydration.
3. Get up and walk for a few minutes every hour, also add these 3 simple exercises:

  • a. Stretch hamstrings every time you finish walking, toe touches are fine (find the area near the bathroom that has a bit more room).
  • b. Do 20 squats – yes you will get some funny facial expressions from the traveler’s but who cares! It will help to get the blood flowing which is such a problem sitting for so many hours.
  • c. Stretch your calves by using the wall by the bathroom to stretch calves.

4. Keep coffee and caffeinated tea consumption to a minimum. One or two drinks maximum.
5. Order the Vegetarian food option even if you’re in first class. Generally, most of the airplane food is not healthy. Don’t eat the junk, chips, cookies, etc. Keep the body clean.
6. Wear compression socks all the time for long flights
7. Take along the healthy snacks, nuts and dried fruits work best and are easy to carry. Also, consider taking extra vitamin C.
8. As soon as you land, no matter how late or early in the morning, do some exercise and it’s imperative to get your heart rate elevated. You don’t need to do something very long but consider going immediately outside and walk, jog, run. Also, use the hotel gyms, etc. Start gradually and warm up fully, then get your heart rate up through a series of intervals and focus on quality workout – shorter time frame. You will feel better with this method than a longer slow workout.
9. The following day after arrival, exercise first thing in the morning, and if you have a significant time change it will help, as you will most likely get minimal sleep the first night.
10. Prior to leaving to the airport plan accordingly to get in an easy workout prior to getting on the plane.

Happy traveling and stay away from Jet Lag.

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