8 Ways To Be Healthy On That Long International Flight

Posted By Roger Wellington on Sep 16, 2016 | 8 comments

Arrrrfff, escapaders!  We travel internationally far too often whether for pleasure or obligation, but yet there are many of us who dread flying.  And, it makes perfect sense – who actually enjoys being sedentary in a confined space with a bunch of strangers and lining up for a bathroom that’s the same size as your pantry???  It’s common to get sick on planes because of such confined space where we are inevitably exchanging germs.  So how do we make sure that we stay healthy on that long international flight?  Here are 8 easy tips!



Want to make sure you’re well rested for the long flight?  Doing some physical activity beforehand helps you prepare to sit in your seat for hours.  Perhaps take a short run/brisk walk or hit the gym right before heading to the airport.  If that isn’t an option, you can do something light and simple when you arrive, such as walking around the airport for 15-20 minutes or whatever time permits prior to boarding (and this is aside from the walk that it took you to get to your gate).  It surprises me when I see everyone sitting around and playing on their phones!  Think – you’ll be sitting for hours on end so why not get moving and give your body a workout beforehand?  Your body can then easily rest on the flight.

8 Ways To Be Healthy On That Long International Flight



A healthy flight is a flight where you can actually get some rest.  It’s no surprise that most people take advantage of this opportunity to sleep, but many make the mistake of staying up the night before a flight so they could “sleep on the plane” later.  Although this tactic may actually work for some, there’s truly no guarantee that you’ll be able to get QUALITY sleep on the flight; just think about the possible endless distractions when sharing confined space with A LOT of people – a baby crying one minute and meals and drinks are being served the next.  Oh, and don’t forget those announcements from the captain!  It’s a much better plan to just stick to your sleeping schedule before the flight – sleep whenever you’re tired, whenever you can.

8 Ways To Be Healthy On That Long International Flight



Just as it’s important to get some rest on your flight, it’s also equally essential to get your blood circulating at least once every 2-3 hours.  Doing physical activity on a plane can be challenging, but there are certainly ways around it.  You can walk around the plane twice every few hours to help increase blood circulation.  Or head over to the standing area near the toilets and do light stretches.  After sitting for an extended period of time, a simple forward bend to stretch your back, legs, and calves will make you feel more alive than ever.  If you are shy about exercising in public, you can try standing for 5-10 minutes, which helps too – EVERY LITTLE BIT helps.  Whatever it is, just get up and move around throughout the flight.

8 Ways To Be Healthy On That Long International Flight



Oh yes, using the pantry size bathroom on a plane is a real pain, but the bright side is that it pays to stay hydrated.  Drinking plenty of water is the most effective way to keep you healthy and ensure that you’ll have a reason to get up and move around during the flight.

8 Ways To Be Healthy On That Long International Flight



Just because you’re stuck in your seat for many hours doesn’t mean that you can’t exercise IN your seat.  Simple shoulder rolls along with neck and arm stretches can virtually be done anywhere, anytime.  Your body will feel more relaxed even after 1 set.

Healthy Flight



Don’t rely on airplane pre-packaged food to be healthy and fresh because we all know what to expect!  Supplement your meal by bringing aboard fresh fruit, veggie snacks, and of course, vitamins.  Better yet, you can pack your own fresh meals to eat on the flight.  Make your own sandwiches with abundant veggies, which are convenient to pack and eat onboard; plus, they don’t require immediate refrigeration.

8 Ways To Be Healthy On That Long International Flight



The bright light from your small TV screen or your smart phone or laptop (or really ANY electronic device with bright light) in the dark will only strain your eyes and keep you up throughout the flight because it tricks your body into thinking that it’s not time to sleep yet.  Even your own individual light from above your seat won’t do justice.  And, the worst part is that you’ll then start to feel restless because your eyes are tired yet you just can’t fall asleep!  Arrgghhh.  Want to get some rest?  Well, don’t watch movies or use your gadgets when the interior of the plane is dim.

8 Ways To Be Healthy On That Long International Flight



Meditating for a few minutes helps you chill out and stay calm throughout the flight.  Take a moment to reflect the moment you’re in and be grateful for what you currently have.  Live in the moment!

8 Ways To Be Healthy On That Long International Flight


Have a safe and healthy flight! Feel free to share your own tip on how to be healthy on that long international flight in the comment section below! Want more healthy travel tips? Be sure to check out 16 tips to stay healthy on the road and 9 tips for healthy skin on the road!


Markin’ it up,

Roger Wellington a.k.a. The Doob 

Healthy travel


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8 Ways To Be Healthy On That Long International Flight



  1. This is a great post, you have thought of everything. I can’t think of anything to add, except maybe make sure to wear comfortable clothes and open shoes so the feet swelling isn’t as bad (I honestly don’t understand people that dress up for a flight). Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi! What an useful post for me ! Flights can be an absolute drag! Although I might be too lazy ^^ to do actual exercise I never thought about moving and meditating! And also never remember to bring snacks! I’ll pin this for my ext flight! thanks so much 😉

  3. I’d like to add to always wear a scarf. At least that is what I wear to prevent getting sick from the aircon blowing in my neck for the entire flight.

  4. These are so true! I was so happy when SOME airports allowed you to buy 1.5L bottles of water to bring on the plane. That would help so much to keep me hydrated on a long flight. I also now tend to mainly book aisle seats on a long flight just so I can move around and not have to jump over anyone. I love the window seat, but my health and sleep was priority on a long flight!

  5. Yes to all 8 suggestions! I hear ya- I’m shocked at the number of people sitting around staring on their phones at the departure gates too. I’m always doing leg lifts/squats (I have a bad back/sciatica) and people look at me funny haha, but it definitely helps me alleviate the pain. Long hauls are killer and I have to sit in an aisle seat so I can walk around and get water easily. Great post!

  6. It is very important to stay hydrated on flights and I learn it the hard way. I also keep stretching every 2 hours on flights to keep the blood circulation going. Also as an additional tip, always wear comfortable clothes.

  7. These are really wonderful and simple tips that really go a long way towards making a long flight better! Long flights are really one of the most unenjoyable parts of traveling, so any way to improve them is great. I think the ones about physical activity before a flight and sleeping whenever you feel tired are the best ones for me. Thanks for sharing!

  8. This is such a great list- I never thought to exercise before my flight to tire my legs out, but I might just have to do that next time I take a long-haul flight! The lack of legroom really doesn’t help with restless legs. I definitely agree with taking food on the plane! I have a few food allergies, so airlines almost never carry any food options for me. I try to have 3-4 substantial snacks and 1-2 small meals to bring on the flight with me to tide me over. I’ll also have a big meal before leaving home & if I’m hungry on arrival. Another tip I have to keep from being sick is to bring your own water bottle on the plane to help with hydration and have a vitamin C tablet before and after the flight to help ward off germs! Thanks for sharing all your tips, Roger!

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