Staying Healthy on the Quest

Many places we go to explore or relax require travel, and travel can stress our health and wellbeing. Here is a collection of tips and tricks learned over the years and over the miles:

Motion Sickness

Sooner or later, we all get motion sickness. Some are more susceptible to it than others, and for me, choppy seas on the dive boat will sometimes set it off and make me miserable until it is time to jump back into the water for the next dive. Next time you find yourself feeling a little green around the gills, try this: Pull and pinch the skin on the inside of the wrist, just above the base of the palm. Alternate wrists and soon, you may find yourself feeling much better.

Leg Cramps and DVT

No Legroom Air Aisia

Airplane seat designed by Torquemada

The airlines never cease to amaze me just how little leg room they can provide. Just when I think it can’t get any worse, they come up with a new trick, courtesy of the annals of Torquemada and manage to squeeze a few more victims into a tin can. At 6.4, I find the experience particularly painful. But never fear, for here are a few tricks to help survive the cramped space:

Consider buying special stockings and wearing them on the flight to prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). These actually help keep blood circulating from the lower extremities, even when so cramped you can no longer feel your lower extremities.

If you do get a cramp, and cant’ move or exercise your legs, try this: Pinch the skin in the middle between your nose and upper lip. Do this for about 20-30 seconds and the cramp should go away.

Fatigue and Jet Lag

Overcoming jet lag and fatigue come easy to some and difficult for others. The body simply needs time to recover, but these tips should help speed up the process and minimize the fatigue:

Eat a light meal ahead of boarding your long haul flight and skip the meal served onboard. Avoid alcoholic beverages as well. Alcohol does help you to fall asleep, but with the dry airplane cabin air, you will feel more fatigued and have a headache the next day. Instead, take a valerian supplement and melatonin tablet at boarding time to help you snooze.

Invest in a good set of earplugs and eye shades to tune out the lights and noise. Take some masking tape placed across your eye shades marked “Do Not Disturb” so the flight crew will hopefully not disturb you until arrival time. Get a window seat as well, if at all possible.

Upon arrival, make it a point to get as much natural sunlight as you can because this helps reset the body’s natural clock. Fluorescent lights inside are a real killer which exasperates jet lag so take breaks and get outside as much as possible. Sitting by a window is not the same as getting outside as most building glass filters UV light which is what the body needs to recover.

Try to minimize the intake of caffeine, and stay awake and active as long as possible, going to bed as close to your normal bedtime in your new time zone as you possibly can. Instead of caffeine, try these tricks:

Slap the inside of your elbows. Massage and pull on your earlobes. Don’t ask me why these work, they do and have made the difference between falling asleep at the conference table and staying focused and alert.

Take care of your health, eat right, and exercise and your travel and quests will be much more enjoyable.

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