Flight Fix Essentials
As an athlete I travel a lot to different training destinations and competitions. Even though flying is an essential part of the process to getting to and from each destination to compete, it's not always the best way to travel for our bodies or for the environment. We can all do out part to reduce carbon emissions by thinking about other means of travel to get where we need to go. However for those times where there is no avoiding long haul travel via air, here are some simple suggestions on how to combat the negative effects that aircraft travel can have on our bodies.
Below are just some of the ways travelling by air can impact us. Keep reading to see how you can reduce these risks.
DEHYDRATION - Reduced oxygen and low humidity in a confined space creates a seriously dry environment, which results in approx. 50% decrease in water loss. A 2% drop in hydration significantly impacts tiredness, fatigue and irritability.
INFLAMMATION - Dehydration combined with cabin pressure and limited movement increase inflammation in the body during travel by air. Inflammation can increase risk of injury and illness.
DRY SKIN & HAIR - Humidity can be as low as10-15% which is three times dryer than the Sahara desert. Therefore skin & hair is robed of moisture from the environment & the body is left in a dehydrated state.
LOW IMMUNE SYSTEM - Mucosal membranes become dry while flying, there purpose is to trap viruses and bacteria. Dry mucosal membranes, along with being in a confined space, in close proximity to others, makes infection more likely.
POOR CIRCULATION - Lack of movement and increase of cabin pressure - resulting in increased inflammation can limit range of movement and blood flow.
LACK OF SLEEP - If your fortunate enough to be flying first class, this might not be a concern. However being in a seated position in economy can make it problematic to get sufficient sleep.
HYDRATE - Drink Plenty of fluids. A good hydration status support the immune system, circulation and skin & hair. To avoid getting up every 5 minutes for the toilet, use electrolytes to help fluid retention. I use SIS HYDRO Electrolytes which are great in the Pineapple & Mango flavour.
MOVE - Moving regularly can help encourage circulation. Utilise the aisle space and an easy way to add in movement is extending any trips to the toilet. I always make sure I have an aisle seat so that I can get up regularly without disrupting others. Stretching is a great way to increase circulation and can be done in a confined space.
ELEVATION & COMPRESSION - Compression garments can help to reduce swelling and if it is possible to put feet up, this can help with blood flow to the extremities. I find The Geko Electro device really effective at keeping the muscle moving on long haul flights combined with wearing Nike Compression over-the-calf running socks - £27 to reduce swelling.
SUPPORT THE IMMUNE SYSTEM - You can support the Immune system by taking supplements that help boost the immune system like CurraNZ blackcurrant capsules - £21.75. I regularly use Health span elite's zinc defence Lozenges and high strength probiotic and Vicks first defence - £6.55. All of which are suitable for regularly drug tested athletes. I would also recommend washing hands regally and using antibacterial hand gel when not possible. Chewing gum can help produce more saliva which can protect us from infection & relieve ear pressure bought on by cabin pressure. Brushing teeth can help reduce bacteria in the mouth & reduce likelihood of entering the bloodstream.
SLEEP - Sleep is so important for recovery and overall health & wellbeing. Sleeping as much as possible while travelling will help with time zone adjustments, recovery from travel, sleep helps support the immune system and mental health. I find using silicone ear plugs or my Beats Solo Pro noise counselling headphones, helps block any noise out effectively so I can get to sleep. I also wear a satin eye mask to help block out light and any distraction, without robbing the skin of moisture.
SKINCARE FLIGHT ROUTINE - BEFORE FLYING
1. Cleanse - Double cleanse making sure skin is clear of dirt and makeup
2. Exfoliate - Removing dead skin cells helps prevent congestion
3. Mask - Helps to lock in excess moisture and keep skin hydrated
4. Moisturise - Creates a protective barrier and does what it says on the tin
PREP HAIR & SKIN – cleanse, exfoliate, use a mask and a highly moisturising cream. For hair coat your hair in a deep penetrating serum or apply a hair mask before flying.
GO NATURAL – I would always go without makeup when flying; blocking your pours won’t do the skin any favours post flight.
MOISTURISE - Moisturise throughout the duration of the flight to work against the dry environment for your skin, hair & nails.
PLAIT HAIR - This keeps hair protected and tucked away, can be a comfortable way to travel & prevents breakage in a dry environment.
HYDRATE - Drinking plenty helps your body retain moisture. Being well hydrated helps prevent the body becoming dry, which support the immune system.
EAT WELL - Taking fruit & Veg on board will help support the immune system before, during and after a flight.
All listings come in miniature's that are under 100ml.
1. Cleanse - This helps skin stay in a hydrated, clean state and reduces any oil build up. Caudalie Gentle Cleansing Milk 100ml - £9 is a good option for all skin types. I like to finish off with a sweep of Caudalie Miceller - £6 to just make sure the skin is super clean.
2. Crystal facial roller - Kitsch crystal facial roller - £18.95 Can help to increase circulation & blood flow to the skin. The cooling element to the crystals help with puffiness.
3.Hydrating mist - Feels refreshing and can be a great way to get hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid onto the skin. I use Cool it from Skin in Motion 50ml - £20 (also exercise friendly).
4. Serum, Masks & Moisturiser - Moisturise to add a protective barrier and comfort skin in dry conditions. there are some great face mask which if you don't mind apply in flight, can be a great light weight option for hydrating skin. My personal favourite is Patchology Flash masque Hydrate (X4) - £28 and you can use the excess serum. As for moisturisers Origins Plantscription anti- aging serum - £129.63 is one of the loveliest light weight serums I have used. Dermalogica sound sleep cocoon night gel - 72.50 is another lovely hydrating barrier with lavender to encourage sleep.
5. Hair & Body - I have found OUAI Rose Hair & Body Oil - £26 a lovely way to keep skin and hair hydrated. A light enough oil for all hair types but would advice adding just to the ends if hair is fine.
1.Cleanse - Double cleanse with an oil cleanser, then with a non foaming cleanser to really clean the skin fully after flying.
2. Exfoliate - Get rid of dry or dead skin from flight with a chemical or abrasive exfoliator
3. Mist - Restore hydration by adding a toner or hydrating mist
4. Moisturise - Add moisture back into skin and build protective barrier with a hydrating moisturiser.
5. SPF - SPF should always be applied after moisturiser as age prevention and protection for healthy skin. This is even more important when skin is sensitive after travel.
6. Concealer & Blush - Its best to go makeup free but if you do have to go right to work,use a touch of concealer under the eyes and blush to brighten the face as a quick fix to make the face look more awake. I love Tarte Shape tape which comes in travel size and Elf monochromatic multi stick for lip and cheek to add a touch of colour and radiance.
Photo's included are taken by Adelle Tracey