Dr. Donnica's Top Tips for Healthy Travel, Part Three
Fuel for Your Travels
Traveling is often physically and emotionally demanding. If you are physically
prepared for your travels, your trip will be less stressful. Staying up half
the night packing is a good way to guarantee exhaustion, fatigue, and irritability;
getting a good night's sleep before traveling is essential. Breakfast is always
the most important meal of the day so don't skip it before a trip. Fast food
and airplane food is usually insufficient fuel for your body to operate at its
peak. Bring enough healthy snacks and bottled water in your carry-on bag to
satisfy you for twice your anticipated travel time, especially if you're
traveling with children.
Water is Essential
Getting adequate hydration is extremely important throughout your trip, but
particularly on your traveling days. Many women avoid fluids in order to avoid
using public restrooms. This is not the answer. If you're concerned about using
public restrooms, bring your own instant hand sanitizer (like Purell) and clean
your hands thoroughly after using the restroom. Drink, drink, drink, but choose
water rather than caffeinated, alcoholic, or sugar-laden beverages. Skin and
lips can easily become dehydrated as well. For longer trips, you may want to
Many travelers walk much more than they are accustomed to while traveling.
Wear comfortable shoes and avoid binding garments, especially if you are taking
a lengthy flight. "Economy class syndrome" is a well-documented risk for deep
vein thromboses, a condition in which a blood clot develops in the lower extremities,
becomes dislodged, and travels to block circulation in a blood vessel. In addition
to wearing loose garments, other preventive strategies include removing shoes
when seated, getting up to walk for at least five minutes every hour, and moving
or stretching your feet and ankles while seated.
Most middle-aged Americans are at risk for back strain. To minimize your risk,
patronize porters, use luggage carts or luggage with wheels (even for your carry-on
items), and stow heavier items under the seat rather than in the luggage compartments
above. If you need assistance, ask; if you are in a position to help others,
Created: 10/11/2004  - Donnica Moore, M.D.