Elite Trainer Andy Vincent reveals his high-flying tips to help you reach the arrivals gate in good shape. They’re plane and simple.

It’s holiday time. Whether you’re after a fly ‘n’ flop break in the sun, or an adrenaline-fuelled adventure, vacations are invariably what we look forward to most in the year. It’s a chance to switch off from office stresses and unplug. But standing in the way, every bloody time, is the dreaded long-haul flight. A cramped nutritional wasteland that can deliver you to your destination exhausted, achy and in no fit state to make the most of your first day off the clock. It’s our aim to change that. With some simple advice you can go around the world and walk off each flight feeling fit and energised. Really. Boarding passes at the ready.

 

Stay Hydrated

And we don’t mean with the free booze. Dehydration is a leading cause of fatigue and on an average 10-hour flight, men can lose approximately two litres of water and women around 1.6 litres. This means that on a London to Sydney flight a passenger could lose up to 4 litres and 8% of their bodily water. Add to this the fact that humidity on a plane can be as low as 10-15% and you’re in a mildly hypoxic environment that will increase your breathing rate and lead to further water loss. Try and maintain a steady glass of water per hour.

Stretch It Out

Staying hydrated will result in the inevitable trips to the toilet, so take advantage. Shake out your legs, touch your toes and open up your shoulders. But there are ways to stretch and maintain mobility from the relative discomfort of your plane seat, too. Try putting one leg up and across on to the opposite knee and lean forward. This will help to open up your hip and stretch your glute. Also, try and reach your hand to the outside of your opposite knee and twist. This will help to loosen up and improve circulation to your lower back. Do this occasionally between your loo breaks and you’ll be able to race, rather than hobble, to the beach once you land.

Nod Off

Yes, the red wine will send you to sleep, but that’s hardly going to have you rolling off the runway fresh now, is it? Instead, we suggest considering some natural sleep remedies like magnesium, melatonin, valerian root, St John’s wort or essential oils like lavender, bergamont, sandalwood, mandarin and frankincense. And, if you’re in need of more sleepy science to use in the air or back on solid ground, try our five easy, research-approved sleep tips.

Take The Fast Route

If sleep alludes you, but you still want to outmanoeuvre jet lag, we have you covered. The body’s primary cue for your internal clock is light, however scientists have discovered that a second master clock in the brain responds to the time you eat (or don’t eat). A brief period of fasting can effectively put the clock on hold, coming back on with the reintroduction of food. Scientists believe your body suspends its biological clocks when you are hungry or in a fasted state. Try having your last meal in your departure city at the normal time and fast from food during the duration of the flight. Only drinking water, tea and coffee (ideally black), then have your next meal at your arrival destination at the next normal meal time to get your circadian rhythm back on track. You won’t miss out on much – It’s only plane food, after all.

Dose Yourself Up

Though it’s a common misconception that recycled air in airplanes is the quickest way to pass virus and bacteria around a cabin – cabin filtration systems are some of the most advanced in the world – spending 10+ hours in close proximity to 12 strangers puts your immune system on the defensive. Especially if you’re unlucky enough for one of them to be a mouth breather with a cold. But you can stave off illness by coming prepared. Multi-vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and rehydration salts will all combine to ensure your immune system fights off pesky pathogens and you’re not fighting off a cold on Day 3.

And so, with colds averted, aches avoided, and jet-lag dodged there’s only one question left to ask. “Which way’s the beach?”