No one wants to get jet lag, but it is bound to happen to everyone sooner or later, or at least that is the law of averages. Some may get lucky and only experience mild cases of jet lag, if ever at all. Jet lag is a condition where an air traveler crosses two or more time zones. This causes the body’s circadian rhythms (internal clock) to fall out of sync. Circadian rhythms have to do with telling the body when to wake up and wind down, and these become disrupted when crossing multiple time zones. This occurrence is most prevalent on flights lasting six hours or longer, such as international flights.
The most common symptoms of jet lag include nausea, irritability, difficulty concentrating, insomnia, feeling exhausted, digestive troubles (specifically with the bowels), bad memory, dehydration, and there could potentially be more, depending on the person and the trip. There are many ways in which to combat jet lag, and one in particular may seem as undesirable as it is unlikely to work, but keep an open mind about this: exercise. Yes, many have sworn that exercise not only alleviates or prevents symptoms of jet lag, but also shortens the recovery time needed to get one’s circadian rhythms back in perfect function once more. Exercise is important to daily life as it is, but exercise before, during, and after flights can help a lot when it comes to jet lag.
You will want to get as good of a workout as you can before you take your flight. Of course you do not want to wear yourself out completely, but you will want to get a high-impact session in before you take off. If you have a flight that takes off early in the morning, improvise by doing some brisk walking around the terminal before you get in the plane and settle down for your long flight.
You will not have a great range of motion while inside the plane, but you can still do some exercises to help keep you limber and promote circulation. Whenever possible, get up and walk around, doing a few reps of some exercises as you go, like lunges or squats.
You can also do a few sitting exercises, mostly involving squeezing and relaxing muscles, extending your legs, and rolling the neck and shoulders, as well as bending and twisting.
This will be the toughest time of exercise to stick to, since you have just got off the plane, finally got to your hotel or wherever you are staying, and you are quite tired. Still, soldier through that and do some exercise. For example, you can go for a walk for a while or hit the weight room, or even just doing a half hour to an hour’s worth of exercise in your hotel room. At the very least, you are doing your body good by giving it regular exercise. At the very most, you will have avoided most of the symptoms or cut down the severity and duration of them. So, instead of dealing with jet lag for half your trip, just do some exercise before, during, and after your flight so you can get down to your business or pleasure, whatever the reason for your trip.