Fittingly, Taylor and I are just coming back from a trip down to Florida from New York, in which we flew. I'd much rather take a 4 hour flight than a 20 hour car ride, especially for a short trip but there are obviously some negatives to flying. There are a lot of unknowns on what it does to your health but even just being in an enclosed space with that many people for that long can inevitably get you sick. This post is to share some tips I have learned from health experts like Ben Greenfield and Shawn Stevenson, that they give to help with things like jet-lag.
Dr. Cate Shanahan
I have not heard Dr. Cate specifically talk about flying but one of her common nutrition tips is, "there is no such thing as a healthy snack (p. 334 - Deep Nutrition)." She states that you should avoid snacking and that if your only option for a meal/snack is unhealthy, skip that meal and just wait for the next. This is very suitable to flying because it is difficult to find a healthy snack in an airport (or on a plane) and most of the restaurants are McDonalds, Starbucks, or the like so the healthier option is to just wait until you get off the flight.
The biggest thing that flying negatively affects is your energy levels because of how it drives several hormones out of whack. Shawn's book, Sleep Smarter, is all about the topic of circadian rhythm - providing tips on napping and getting the best quality sleep while giving you an extensive knowledge on hormones like cortisol and melatonin. One suggestion he gives in his book when it comes to flying is to "get grounded" after a flight. Grounding is making contact with the ground with bare feet, which has been shown to reduce stress, inflammation, and cardiovascular risk (p. 183-184 - Sleep Smarter).
Ben Greenfield is the most qualified expert that I know for this topic because of how much he travels and for the fact that he has done speaking events for CEOs and a hot topic is avoiding jet-lag so that they can be at the top of your game after a flight. He goes in-depth into this topic in his book Beyond Training, laying out nine useful tips, and he also discusses this topic in multiple podcast interviews. To keep this post short, I will give you some key points.
Essentially, the key to flying is minimizing the negative affects on your circadian clock and making sure you are eating healthy so that you have a strong immune system. These are all helpful tips, which I have found to help (especially exercising when you land by swimming or running outside). I highly suggest reading the books these tips come from. Deep Nutrition is all about the topic of nutrition by researching our ancestor's diets from all over the world, Sleep Smarter is full of sleep knowledge and hacks, and Beyond Training is full of all types of bio-hacking. Go see my Recommended Books page for summaries or my post on Deep Nutrition.
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