Healthy Travel Tips Part 1—Healthy Circulation
The US Travel Association estimates that in 2018, US travelers took 2.3 billion trips and spent $1.1 trillion. Much of that travel for family trips and vacations happens in the summer. But too often while people leave excited for their trip, they come home needing a vacation to recover from their vacation.
But you don’t have to feel that way. And I don’t want you to feel that way. I want you to have an amazing time on your trip and come back feeling excited and energized, not drained and exhausted.
Romi and I travel a lot for work and play. In 2018 we spent 94 days on the road during 16 trips to 35 cities and 5 countries. Over the years we’ve definitely come back haggard, exhausted, bloated and feeling worse than when we left. But we’ve since figured out a sure-fire system that keeps us feeling fantastic during and after our trips. And I want you to feel that way too.
To help you get the most out of your travel this summer, I’m kicking off a three-part series on healthy travel tips. For each of the next three newsletters, I’ll be taking the focusing on practical things you can do to give you more energy during your summer travels, make jetlag easier to get over and let you come home feeling better than when you left. And if you’d like to watch a version of this online, watch my Facebook Live.
So, here in week one, I’m talking about how crucial it is that you keep your veins and circulation healthy when you travel. Whether you’re taking a long road trip or sitting for hours on an airplane, keeping your blood flowing is important for traveling safely and keeping your energy up.
Our blood delivers oxygen and nutrients throughout your body and to your brain. These nutrients help you maintain your mood and energy.
But when you sit for long hours, your bent legs decrease circulation to your legs. Blood that pools in the calves and back of the knees increases your risk for blood clots that can cause dangerous deep vein thromboses (DVT).
If a DVT breaks free it can travel to your lungs where it can lodge in the lungs and create a pulmonary embolus. This blocks blood flow in the lungs and the ability to breath efficiently. This can create dangerous shortness of breath and chest pain. Less commonly, the DVT can travel to the brain and cause a stroke. Travel is a known risk factor for getting DVTs.
If you keep your circulation healthy during a flight, you’re going to reduce your risk of DVTs, deliver more oxygen and other nutrients to tissues throughout your body and brain, have more energy when you get to your destination and feel more awake and alert.
Here are some quick tips on how to do that:
1. Stay hydrated
First, make sure you stay hydrated. Drink lots of water during the flight. Those cabins can be quite dry, so make sure you stay well-hydrated and avoid alcohol.
Don’t drink any alcohol. It’s a diuretic. It’ll dry you out too, so stay well hydrated, drink lots of water, and avoid the alcohol.
2. Don’t cross your legs
Don’t cross your legs. Already in that sitting position, it reduces that blood flow in the legs, so fly with your legs uncrossed. Anything, a little movement, that you can do in terms of your position like that can be helpful.
3. Get up and walk around
Every 30 minutes, or at the least every 60 minutes, stand up, walk around and stretch your legs. If you’re driving, take a break and walk around.
But you don’t have to stand up to improve your circulation. When you’re even sitting, simply flex your ankles back and forth. This will contract and relax your calf muscles. When muscles flex, they act like pumps for our veins and help promote and improve circulation.
So walk and stretch your legs every 30-60 minutes, and occasionally bend your ankles up and down to get those calf muscles pumping oxygen to your lower extremities.
Walking around will also have the added benefit of increasing circulation to the rest of your body too to help you feel more awake, improve your concentration and lift your mood.
4. Avoid salt
Unfortunately, a lot of the food they serve on airplanes is loaded with salt. Salt can increase your water retention, and people tend to eat too much salt anyway. When we’re at cruising altitude in a plane, the cabin pressure is less than it is on the ground. Because of that, you may have noticed your feet and hands swell up a bit, which can reduce circulation. Don’t make it worse by eating salt, which can make people retain even more water.
5. Take NattoPine
The last thing that I recommend you do and that Romi and I take is NattoPine. This dietary supplement is the formula I created to promote healthy circulation, especially on long flights.
NattoPine contains the combination and dose of nutrients shown in a clinical trial to stop the formation of blood clots in the back of the legs that can cause dangerous DVRs. In the study, 7.6% of people not taking nattokinase and pine bark extract experienced blood clots versus none of those taking the nutrients. In other words, healthy circulation was supported in 100% of people taking the nutrients in NattoPine. Additionally, compared to those not taking the nutrients, people taking nattokinase and pine bark extract decreased leg swelling by 27%.
Romi and I take NattoPine year-round to promote healthy circulation, but we’re especially diligent about making sure we take it for two days before any trip, the day of travel and for at least two days after we arrive at our destination.
If you follow all of these tips when you start your travels—on your flight or your road trip—you’ll arrive at your destination feeling more alert and energized. And that’s a great way to kick off a vacation.
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