Did you know the word “Travel” is a close sibling to the French word Travail, which literally means to be tormented? So are we doomed to suffer when we travel?

Us Colorado transplants, making our annual migration to our hometowns, face a long arduous journey with todays airplane travel. Good news! There are ways to make the “tormenting” less intense. Cherry Creek Wellness Center’s flying comfort expert, Madeline Goldberg, DPT, has 3 tips for how to make airplane healthy on your brain and body.

1. Hydrate!

Dehydration, which is an understood part of breathing pressurized air at 30,000 feet, leads to our body’s aches and pains. Less water content in our discs in our back and in our joints make them more prone to creak and complain. 

Easy, cheap solution: Did you know you can take an empty plastic water bottle through security? So grab a big 20-32 ounce water bottle at the gas station on the way to the airport and drink it down before security, carry it through and fill ‘er up on the other side. Hydration is in your near future.

2. Aisle seats are the money spot

Hear me out window lovers. We must move from the seat every 30-60 minutes, depending on factors such as age, previous injury, etc. So on a 3 hour flight, you better be getting up and walking the aisle 3 times. Are you going to do this when 2 people are dead asleep and in your way? Unlikely. Take the aisle to give you the freedom to stand, stretch and move. Buy a neck pillow and, trust me, the right neck pillow is better than that hard, shaky airplane wall! Pro tip: I like an inflatable airplane pillow so it stores away easily while I’m on a vacation.

3. Plan ahead

Here are the facts: Traveling is stressful and stress increases pain. We know this to be 100% true. So reducing pain with travel means lowering the stress associated with travel. For starters, get to check in before everyone else. 1.5-2 hours early for domestic and 3 hours early for international. You end up spending a little more time eating and shopping in the airport and, in return, you get much friendlier gate agents, a choice of better seats (don’t be afraid to ask for that dreamy exit aisle seat), and likely a less stressful experience. This amounts to a smoother flight with likely a better seat and a more restful arrival to your destination. 

You’ll be surprised at how much better you feel spending a little extra time planning and preparing for those long flights. Your body will thank you! For more tips and tricks about keeping your body happy and healthy, you can check out more of Cherry Creek Wellness Center’s informative articles at http://cherrycreekwellnesscenter.com/patient-resources/

Happy travels this winter season!