A Flight Attendant’s Tips to Staying Fit and Healthy While Traveling

Traveling, especially by plane, is hard on your body. Cabin pressurization, dry air, and added stress can wreak both mental and physical havoc. Breakouts, dry skin, dehydration, and weight gain are often experienced by travelers, and they can make your trip less than enjoyable.

As a flight attendant I am constantly working against the negative effects flying can have, and here are a few of my tips for staying healthy and happy when traveling.

Rule #1- Stay Hydrated.

Try to keep a bottle of water with you and sip constantly. Add a squeeze of lemon or a flavor packet to encourage you to drink more often. Pressurized air is severely lacking in moisture and causes dehydration, which ends up making you feel tired and jet lagged. Avoid drinking coffee or alcohol as well. These also lead to dehydration and a general feeling of terribleness.

Rule #2- Moisturize.
Along the same lines as staying hydrated, only in a more external sense. Cabin air dries your skin out quickly. This can actually cause your skin to overproduce oil and lead to breakouts, so (for girls) avoid heavy foundation and powder. Instead, opt for a tinted moisturizer. You can even use a nighttime moisturizer, which is heavier, and just apply concealer as needed. But keeping your skin hydrated is a must.

Rule #3- Stretch it Out.

Along with traveling comes a lot of sitting, waiting, and wishing, and with that comes tight muscles and sore joints. The best gift you can give your body is to stretch. There’s no need to contort into an awkward yoga post in the middle of a terminal, but even a bit of light stretching can ease the stress and tension traveling can put on your body. Blogilates, a youtube channel by Cassey Ho, has some great stretching videos:

Rule #4- Pack Healthy Snacks.

If you’re like me, then you are going to eat what you pack…every bit of it. A bag of chips? A box of chocolates? It’ll be gone by the end of the flight either out of hunger or sheer boredom. You’ll look and feel better if you are mindful about the foods you pack. Fruit is a great choice, though bananas get squished too easily in my opinion. Fruits high in water density, like grapes, also help with the dehydration issue. I’ve also become a fan of that first grade favorite: Trail Mix. Nuts, raisins, and M&Ms are easy to pack and easy to eat, and they give me the energy and endorphins so I am more patient with difficult passengers.

Rule #5- Get Your Cardio On.

Traveling is great because it can get you out of a workout rut. Sometimes with traveling, you workout and don’t even realize it! That’s my favorite way to workout. Ever run through a terminal with three huge bags trying to make a connecting flight? Cardio! Ever lifted your three bags, plus everyone’s sitting around you into an overhead bin? Strength training! Ever had to twist your body in a weird way to use an airplane lavatory? Yoga! No matter how you choose to workout while traveling, make sure you do and do it consistently. It will increase your energy, improve your mood, and strengthen your immune system.

Rule #6- Find a Happy Place.

In times of stress and anxiety, usually brought on by crying babies, angry passengers, or technology that just won’t work, it’s important to find a healthy way to deal. I like to silently judge and cuss out rude passengers…or sometimes I listen to music. Try to find a way to diffuse travel-induced tension. It can be something as simple as reading or drawing or something more complex, like carrying on a conversation with yourself to discourage others from talking to you. Whatever it takes to reduce that stress, you know, in a healthy way.

So there you have it. Some of my tricks of the trade to stay healthy and mentally stable while traveling.

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