How to Stay Healthy on Long Flights

How to Stay Healthy on Long Flights

air-passengers2Long flights, coupled with layovers and delays can often be the most taxing part of travelling. There’s nothing worse than having to take a day of recovery upon arrival just because of an exhausting flight itinerary.

To figure out how to stay healthy on long flights, I asked Dr. Melanie Lopes to share some of her wisdom. Here are four of her expert tips:

Choose your Seat Ahead of Time

To ensure you are well-rested by the time you arrive at your destination, consider choosing a window seat so you can lean against the window to sleep.  By choosing a window seat, you can also control how much sunlight enters your area, which can be helpful when trying to fall asleep. If you are a taller individual, it might be wise to choose an aisle seat, or even better: an  emergency exit seat to provide more leg room.  The additional space in this  seating area can help prevent any cramping or soreness in your legs.

Travel Pillows are an Essential Carry-On Itemneck pillow

I would highly recommend packing a travel pillow in your carry-on luggage for lengthy bus and car rides, and especially for long flights.  The purpose of a travel pillow is to support your neck, in order to prevent it from falling into awkward sleeping postures, which will eventually lead to uncomfortable kinks.

Travel pillow styles will depend on the type of travel that you have planned. Embarking on a backpacking trip might warrant an inflatable travel pillow, which will reduce the amount of occupied space in your backpack.  In contrast, you might want to splurge on a comfortably plush pillow for a slower-paced, all-inclusive trip. It’s best that you test the pillow in the store to assess it’s firmness. You want to ensure that the pillow is firm enough to support the natural curve of your neck, but not too firm that it limits the movement of your neck.

Motion is Lotion

I always remind my patients that it’s important to keep moving, whether you are seated at work, or on a long car, bus or plane ride.  By keeping your joints moving and using your muscles, you can help prevent the onset of stiffness and soreness that tends to occur after hours of sitting. Additionally, immobility can increase the risk of swollen ankles, and a possible development of deep vein thrombosis (aka: blood clot) in the legs.  By moving around, you can help improve your blood circulation.

I would recommend trying to stretch and move at least once every hour.  

If you’re stuck in the middle seat, don’t fret!  You can do some stretches in your seat, working from your head down to your legs:


camel stretch

  • Start by rotating your head in circles in both directions
  • Shrug your shoulders up and down 5 times
  • Round your upper back like a camel and bring your arms in front to stretch out the area in between your shoulder blades.
  • Grab onto your seat’s left armrest and twist your upper body to the left to feel a good stretch in your low back, and then do the same to the right.
  • Clench your butt muscles, hold it for 3 seconds and then release.  Repeat 5 times.
  • Bend and straighten your knees
  • Point your toes up to the ceiling and then down to the floor, repeat 10 times for each foot.
  • Trace out the alphabet (in capital letters) with your feet from A-Z to help promote good blood circulation.

If you are able to get out of your seat, walk up and down the length of the plane and try to stretch, as noted above.

Keep Hydrated

It’s important to stay hydrated with water before, during and after a flight.  With low humidity and pressurized watercabins, you can feel very dehydrated. Low humidity can also put you at risk for catching a respiratory virus. Bring an empty water container in your carry on, and fill it up once you pass security.  You can then sip on some water throughout the flight. Try to avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, as they can prevent you from sleeping and also increase the likelihood of becoming dehydrated.

Try these helpful tips to stay healthy on long flights and arrive at your destination feeling refreshed and ready to start your new adventure.

Happy travelling!


Sports Chiropractor  chiropractor

Dr. Lopes is a Sports Chiropractor in the Davisville area of Toronto.  She works in conjunction with her RMT to treat a wide spectrum of patients from babies to senior citizens and everyone in between. Dr. Lopes’ other passions include salsa dancing, travelling the world, keeping fit at the gym and photography.

You can find out more info on her site:

Or on Facebook:



Images: [water bottle] [stretches] [travel pillow] [airplane cabin]

Don’t Let a Food Allergy Control You

Don’t Let a Food Allergy Control You


Food allergies are not only a nuisance, but also a serious health risk. I’ve had a severe peanutpeanut allergy since childhood, and it has created many obstacles throughout my years of travelling. Eating in a foreign country can be quite risky with a severe food allergy. Through my travel experience, however, I have learned that there are ways to be prepared and stay safe while consuming food abroad.

Read more

Guest Post: Smart Packing Tips for Women

smart packing tipsAnd we empathize, women. I’ve never encountered a man who’s having trouble packing light. Usually, it’s the ladies, myself included, who find packing daunting. And let’s admit it girls, clothes and beauty regimen paraphernalia take the most space in our packs.

Here are a few packing tips to lessen the load:

Think practical.

Before packing those clothes in your bag, think carefully whether you’ll be able to “really” use them, and some, repeatedly. Pants and shorts can be worn again, for one. As much as possible, choose those that can easily be paired such as neutrals. They are versatile and can be transformed to a whole new look simply by adding accessories.

Consider washing.

Extend the life of your wardrobe. Dedicate at least 10 minutes of your time every night to wash clothes and then let them dry. They must be ready for use the next day or the day after that. In this regard, it helps that you pick garments that dry easily, or that which do not require ironing to look decent. By looking into recycling your clothes, you also minimize volume of wet clothes you’re packing to back home. Your luggage will no doubt be lighter.

Study itinerary.

Many travelers I’ve met attest to using itinerary as an effective packing guide. They are able to see clearly which items to bring and are better left home. If you are scheduled to watch plays or operas then you will need at least a collared shirt and slacks or skirt, or a dress. If you will be spending most of your time in water then the lighter your luggage should be. Swimming attires are known for their fast-drying features.

Look into customs.

Are you going to a conservative place where women are expected to cover up?

You need not attract unnecessary attention. Again, your skin may already be a clear sign you’re not from the place. Baring too much skin, in addition, can only cause you problems or inconveniences when going up and about. For example, wearing shorts may be acceptable in the area. Still, you are likely to receive second glances. Blend in  with the locals by wearing pants or skirts that are at least just above the knee. Skip minis as much as possible.

The same goes for your tops. Beware of dress codes. You might not be allowed entrance in some areas when you’re showing off your shoulders or legs.

Overall, you will do well as long as you’re not offending anyone. Comfort is also another factor worth considering. Couple with manners, and you are most likely good to go.


Worried about looking dull or lifeless?smart packing tips

Use scarves, pashminas or scarves to accentuate your outfit. Cardigans as well do not only make good layers. They can also be worn as is. Forget about flashy jewelries. They have no place in your belongings during travels. Chances are you will only feel worried about them being lost in transit, thus getting in the way of you fully enjoying the travel experience.

Author Bio:

Nettie Gray loves collecting scarves and pashminas not only because of their beautiful designs but also due to their versatility. She’ll forget her essay writing drafts but, never would leave the house without a scarf in her bag.