JET LAG is a common term associated with air travel. But chances are what most people are experiencing is "flying fatigue." Jet lag is a disruption of the natural biorhythms that regulate our bodies and is the result of travelling through multiple time zones in a few hours.
Flying Fatigue, on the other hand, is the exhaustion and soreness most of us feel after any flight that is caused by sitting in an inactive and uncomfortable position for too long. This results in poor circulation and muscle tension that drains your body's energy and leads to head and backaches. The effect is that you are not your usual energetic self when you land.
I travel over 150,000 miles every year. With my hectic schedule, I just don't have time to feel tired. Everytime I fly I do a quick exercise routine right in my seat to get me going again. These exercises are designed to help you improve your circulation and ease muscle tension to alleviate those feelings of soreness and grogginess. So take advantage of your extra flying hours to arrive at your destination feeling alert and re-energized!
To start with, you may have had to rush like a nut to make your flight at National Airport only to have the airline tell you that the flight is overbooked and you have to stand-by. By the time a seat clears and you finally get on board, you may need to relax.
Close your eyes and direct your attention to the breathing process. Think of nothing but your breathing. Inhale deeply through the nose and exhale forcefully out the mouth. Repeat six times. This should help you relax and reduce some of that tension.
Also, most people have little awareness of the sensation of relaxation. Therefore, you must produce tension sensations, then slowly release them. This will allow you to feel the difference internally between tension and relaxation. Try a series that isolates specific muscle groups. Contract and release your hand muscle by making a fist and relax. Continue contracting and releasing -- shoulders, chest, abdominals, buttocks, thighs, calves.
This exercise is a great way to relax your stiff neck. Sit up straight, with your shoulders relaxed, your neck extended nice and tall. Lower your left ear slowly to your left shoulder. Hold for 15 seconds. Now repet to the right and hold for 15 seconds. Keeping your chin to your chest, rock your head slowly to the left, then to the right. Semicircle continuously for another 15 seconds. Be carefu not to jerk your head or roll it backwards or in a full circle -- this will put undue pressure on your neck vertebrae.
One of the worst side effects from long plane rides is that nagging pain you begin to develop in your lower back. Give yourself a 1-minute knee kiss every hour and you will begin to feel the tension release. Pull your right knee in to your chest with both hands and plant a kiss on it. Hold for 10 seconds. Release. Switch legs and repeat. Repeat the sequence 3 times.
To trim your waistline and stretch the muscles on your sides, try this 1-minute twist. Sit comfortably, again with your back straight. Twist your torso toward the right, far enough that you can grab the side of your seat with both hands. (If you're sitting in the middle seat, hold on to the armrest.) Feel the stretch through your waistline, upper arm and back. Hold for 15 seconds. Release. Twist toward the left. Repeat the stretch on each side. If you want to work a little harder -- or you're still circling the airport -- try holding the stretch for 20 seconds.
Here are a few more tips that will keep you fit for land. Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes. Natural fibers allow your body to "breathe" easier. Your feet need to breathe also, so wear shoes that fit well, have low heels, and are made with natural fibers or leather.
Humidity on an airplane is often close to zero, so drink lots of water and fruit juices to keep from dehydrating. Also, cut down on caffeine and alcohol. I try to drink at least one glass of water for every hour I fly. I always make sure to bring along a good face and hand moisturizer.
Next time yu fly, give these a try and have a great trip!