Sunscreen sorted, bags packed, next stop…bloating? Sadly, a common side effect of travelling via plane, is a stagnant system, potentially leading to swollen limbs, a slow stomach and in worst-case scenarios, Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) caused by a lack of circulation. However, it isn’t all doom and gloom, there are plenty of precautions, products and exercises that can help you arrive at your destination with a sunny demeanour feeling light as air and ready to relax.
In the run-up to boarding there are a few simple tips and tricks you can use to prepare for a bloat-free flight. When it comes to food and drink, its recommended to steer clear of alcohol and caffeine, as they can be seriously dehydrating. If you do want to indulge in a shot, your best bet is ginger and turmeric as these will help inflammation and overall health before you’ve even stepped foot on your flight.
If you want to feel fresh, chewing gum is normally a handbag staple, but it can lead to a bloated belly, so opting for a mint instead could be a more flight friendly freshener. Additionally reducing your salt intake and upping your fibre can help with a stagnant stomach and keep things running smoothly.
As well as this, you can up your game with supplements such as the JS Health Detox and Debloat (you can take this daily before you travel to bolster your system), Milk Thistle if you’ve imbibed or eaten a little too much, and the old faithful Water Retention Tablets (often Dandelion Root) that can help fluids flowing and minimise bloat.
You can also keep on your gut’s good side with pre and probiotics, daily doses of these can help your gut work at its optimum and will help reduce sudden attacks of bloating after eating, making life a little bit sweeter overall. We love the Heights Smart Probiotic to support general digestion and growth of beneficial gut bacteria.
During The Flight
During the flight, make sure to have plenty of water at hand, drinking lots of H2O can help to flush out toxins and keep you hydrated, minimising the chance of a headache as well as keeping your digestive system moving properly. As well as this, popping on a pair of DVT socks is a great idea for longer stretches in the sky. The lack of movement and constant sitting can cause blood clots (rare but possible), so popping on a pair of these especially designed compression socks as well as maintaining gentle movement, when possible, will help with all over health and minimise any serious risks.
There are various ways you can keep your blood pumping and encourage a healthy circulation whilst sitting in your seat from neck rolls to shoulder stretches. Something as simple as dropping your chin to your chest and slowly rolling your head in a clockwise then anticlockwise motion will help any tension occurring in the neck & upper shoulders. Similarly, rolling your shoulders forwards and backwards 5-10 times on both sides is a great way to alleviate built up stiffness from the hours of sitting still.
Whilst still chair bound, you can take the easy exercises south and practice a little movement in your lower legs and feet. Just like shoulder rolls, you can roll you ankles both clockwise and anticlockwise (removing shoes for the best range of motion) to encourage a little blood flow and prevent swelling. As well as this, stretching your toes as far as they can raise whilst keeping your heels on the floor will feel great.
Once the seatbelt sign has been switched off and it’s safe for you to stand, it may be time to swallow your pride and use the aisle as your own personal gym floor. Not really, but there are a few simple standing movements you can do that will help your overall mid-flight health. Squats. Simple but effective. (You can pop to the plane loo for this if you don’t want to give your fellow passengers a performance). With the toilet seat down, bend your knees until your thighs are roughly parallel to the ground and then back up, do a few reps of this (hopefully without falling over). Another simple trick is to simply get up and go for a stroll. Walk the length of the cabin every few hours, or more if you can. This combined with DVT socks will really help to reduce the risk of pooling and swelling in your legs.
As well as movement and stretches, another way to reduce bloating and swelling mid-air is to concentrate on the lymphatic system to prevent water retention and to flush out toxins. A handy (quite literally) way to get your system flowing is to engage in some specific self-massage on certain areas, on both face and body. If you have a Gua Sha tool, this is an excellent extra to pack in your carry-on case, as it makes lymphatic drainage a doddle. If not you can follow the same motions with your hands to similar effect.
To do a simple lymphatic drainage massage (you may prefer to do lower body once you’ve reached your destination), you start by applying a little oil then pressing your armpits a few times and just under your collar bone to activate the lymphatic system. Then (always brushing upwards) use your knuckles or gua sha to stroke your limbs with medium pressure. For lower body, similarly, brush up legs, ideally starting with pressing on the groin (hence the potential need for privacy with this). Alternatively, you can also tap with medium pressure across limbs and chest to further wake up the system and encourage movement.
Whilst eating on the flight, you can beat bloat with a fast acting supplement too, the best we’ve tried are the Wild Dose ‘A Dose for Bloating’ Tablets, which work pretty much right away to soothe struggling stomachs.
You’ve Reached Your Destination
Once you’ve landed you can carry on the bloat busting techniques. The same stretches as before combined with the same lymphatic drainage will work wonders on the last of the post-flight discomfort. It’s also a great idea to drink a LOT of water, take your supplements and eat something light before bed, this way you should wake up totally refreshed, bloat-free and ready for the beach.
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