Beat jet lag and stay on track with your health and fitness plan

Staying physically fit through diet, exercise and rest can lower your susceptibility to jet lag. If you’re a frequent flyer, whether for leisure or a requirement of your job, here are some tips to easing the stress of travelling and staying on track with your health and fitness plan:

 1. Avoid alcohol and caffeine during the flight. These can significantly impair your energy levels. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids, preferably water, as dehydration can intensify jet lag(Jet lag is defined as a physiological condition which results from alterations to the body's circadian rhythms). Jet lag symptoms include sleep problems, poor mental and physical performance, headaches, irritability and gastrointestinal disturbances. (A digestive probiotics supplement is extremely helpful with the latter.)

2. Get plenty of sleep before and during a trip.

3. Fidget while on the plane and move around frequently (on the hour) to keep circulation going and to avoid getting stiff muscles. Practice sitting upright and reassess your posture frequently throughout your flight.

4. Perform isometric contractions, especially your abdominal draw in (refer to article, ‘The Deep Truth About Abs’ for more detailed info.) as well as seated stretches.

5. Pack nuts, fresh fruit, homemade protein bars (check out our recipes area for some healthy options - Wholesome Banana Bars ) and high fiber snacks to keep your metabolism stoked and your energy high.

6. Try scheduling outdoor activities for the first few days of your destination. Daylight can help the body adjust more quickly. Bright light exposure can help reset circadian rhythms and help readjust the body's internal clock.

7. Sunglasses are also a must, especially when entering a completely different time zone. Westward travel lengthens your day; traveling east shortens your day. Recovering from eastward-associated jet lag is more difficult than westward-associated jet lag. 

8. Plan on staying active! This isn’t a time for improving your fitness, but maintenance is crucial and should be a part of your travel plan. Use the hotel’s exercise room, pool, or get in the habit of travelling with lightweight equipment such as bands, skipping rope or a workout DVD which you can play on your computer and do in your hotel room. (Did you know we have a TNT DVD which features three 20 min. workouts using bodyweight and bands as well as a water training DVD? Or request our download, no equipment required workout, "Where there's a WALL, there's a way" for only $5). Another option is to create your own little circuit that you can perform in your hotel room. An interval circuit example could include: Stationary jogging or jumping jacks for 1 minute, followed immediately by a push-up set to failure,  a set of tricep dips to failure (use the bed and/or a chair), 1-2 mins. of varied abdominal crunches, and end with plyometric jumps.  Repeat the circuit 2-4 times and end with a stretch and you have completed a mini workout! 

Susan Arruda