Being suspended 35,000 feet above the ground means there is less oxygen in the air. Therefore, our bodies have to work harder to get the correct amount of O2 into our bloodstream. This is because the recirculated air doesn’t contain the usual amount of oxygen we breathe in on ground level. In other words, being on an aeroplane is the equivalent to sitting on a mountain eight thousand feet above sea level, so no wonder we feel exhausted.
Sitting for long periods in conditions with reduced O2 level affects our health, causing fatigue and headache-like symptoms. The best way to prevent them is to keep off the alcohol. Alcohol interferes with the body’s metabolism meaning our cells are less efficient at absorbing oxygen from the air; hence why it’s so much easier to get a bit tipsy on a plane.
Another tip for keeping a level head up in the air is to get your legs moving. Taking regular breaks to walk around during a flight will get the blood flowing around your body and prevent blood clotting in your legs.
Records have revealed that humidity levels on an aeroplane are under 20% – the same level as a tropical desert – which is a significant drop compared to the luxurious 50% we enjoy in the UK. Reduced moisture in the air can irritate your skin, especially if you wear contact lenses. One of the easiest ways to combat dehydration is to drink plenty of water during your journey. In the air, our bodies are deprived of approximately one and a half litres of water every three hours, which is detrimental for our immune systems.
Another thing to keep in mind, is the effects low humidity levels have on the outsides of our bodies too. Being airborne can make our skin feel as dry as a prune which isn’t the look, we want when we step off the plane.
Many brands are realising the power of green products to draw in customers. However, there are also some using green messaging while continuing practices which are far from environmentally friendly.
The yoga classes we often see and attend are just one incarnation of this ancient practice. A much slower pace of class with postures held for five or even ten minutes offers a different experience.
Wellbeing doesn't have to mean yoga, meditation and spirituality. It's about how we can find balance and be happy. Here are some alternative suggestions...
In the final piece of our series on getting older, we spoke to our resident therapist Sian Barnard on how best to protect our mental health as we age.