One thing you definitely don’t want accompanying you on your holiday along with your duty free goodies and bikini is a case of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) which is a blood clot in a deep, large vein, usually in the legs. Whilst long periods sitting in a cramped aeroplane seat can pose a threat of DVT to almost anyone, people who have suffered from this condition previously are even more at risk. However, these simple hacks can prevent further discomfort or attacks which in some cases can be fateful.
Don’t Stop Moving
Walking up and down a crowded aeroplane aisle might not be ideal or even possible during a long haul flight but you can still encourage blood flow to the legs by doing toe taps, ankle circles in both directions, and pointing and flexing the feet at regular intervals whilst in your seat. You can also laterally flex your neck and do neck rotations to avoid discomfort and stiffness in the spine.
Avoid Excessive Alcohol And Coffee Consumption
Due to the change in air pressure and air conditioning, aeroplanes are an ideal environment for dehydration, and that’s before you throw a few celebratory Prosecco’s into the mix. Dehydration can cause your blood volume to decrease which in turn narrows your veins and thickens the blood. Limit your intake of alcoholic drinks and also coffee which is a diuretic, sip water regularly (6-8 glasses a day) and spritzing your face with water or applying oil will keep you feeling fresh whilst rehydrating your skin.
You Are What You Eat
Avoiding/limiting your intake of trans fats (found in animal products, fried and sugary foods, ready meals and most convenience foods) can greatly improve your cardiovascular health and lower bad LDL cholesterol levels which will greatly improve your circulatory health overall. Good fats found in olive oil, nuts and seeds are excellent for promoting heart health (be mindful of portions – a handful of nuts, a teaspoon of olive oil), as is a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables. However, if you are on medication (warfarin) don’t overdo it with green leafy vegetables as they contain high amounts of vitamin K which can interfere with its effectivity. Rather then ‘bingeing’ on greens, have a small amount daily as they boast many other health benefits besides and shouldn’t be excluded completely from your diet.
Dress For Success
Ok, they’re not sexy but neither is DVT! Compression stockings worn on flights of 4 hours or more apply a gentle pressure to the ankle, aiding the blood flow and reducing the risk of DVT. Make sure that you are fitted correctly and also travel in loose, comfortable clothing. You may want to remove jewellery before you travel as fingers often swell during flights.
Prevention Is Better Then Cure
Incorporating regular exercise into your life will make your body more readily able to deflect and recover from injuries or illness. Pilates and yoga are great for lengthening muscles and encouraging the flow of oxygenated blood to every single part of the body, strengthening and realigning the core, and also calming the mind which reduces stress levels and lowers blood pressure. Low impact exercises can still be challenging (hiking, swimming, cycling etc) without putting additional strain through the joints.