Karl Hab, Photographer
Flying has become commonplace so, I try to capture the beauty of it from the window of the plane. The sun-tinged skylines I capture represent the power of a city and the possibility of doing more.
Travelling across continents and time-zones can disrupt our body’s natural equilibrium. In order to correct and alleviate the physical stresses caused by air travel, we have curated a routine that targets specific requirements of the body. As the first installment to our three-part series, this guide aims to reinforce the body’s immune defences, support and calm the mind, and prepare you for a comfortable flight.
To prepare your body for flying, it is important to strengthen and support the immune and digestive systems. During long periods of travel, our bodies can carry the physical stresses of dehydration and fatigue. As a result, our biorhythms and immunity can be compromised from the changes in environmental conditions. Before stepping onto a flight, it is essential to support the body with essential nutrients and take measures to support the body’s immunity.
Introducing natural supplements to your diet can support the body’s immunity and digestive functions. Often changes in air pressure and sitting for prolonged periods of time can have a direct impact on your body’s metabolism. This can result in sluggish digestion and alter your body’s circadian rhythms . As our immunity is directly related to the health of our digestion, it is important to supplement a fresh, whole-food diet with alkalising, pro-biotic blends that restore equilibrium in our gut.
Depending on their formulations and properties, different supplements are able to provide a range of restorative benefits. To restore healthy digestion, alkalising blends such as Welle Co’s Super Elixir include a blend of plants and herbs that deliver probiotics and anti-inflammatory support to aid digestive function. Catalyst Gold by Herbalore also infuses Old-World herbalisms and minerals into their blends to support the immune system and improve cell function. Increasing one’s water intake is also vital to aiding digestion and increasing the absorption of essential vitamins and minerals.
Taking a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement can help to support the immune system and overall health. Below we have outlined the properties of the essential immune-boosting vitamins.
Vitamin C– One of the most important functions of Vitamin C is to support and energise the body’s immune system. As a powerful antioxidant, it helps to protect against damage caused by harmful free radicals in environmental pollutants like plane engine fumes.
Vitamin B6– Helps the body to convert protein into stored energy. Vitamin B6 also reduces symptoms of fatigue and tiredness. It also contributes to the normal functioning of the nervous and immune systems and helps to regulate psychological functions.
Vitamin A– Also known as retinol, Vitamin A works to strengthen immunity against infection, maintain cell growth and is essential to maintaining a healthy gut.
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To purify your sinuses and help reduce inflammation, place a few drops of essential oils onto your chest or sinuses and breathe deeply.
During long-haul flights, moisture-free conditions and dehydration are the main factors that weaken the immune system. When travelling in close proximity with others, we are more susceptible to picking up viruses and pathogens in the air. Under the dehydrated conditions of in-flight cabin atmosphere, the mucous lining of our noses dry out and have a weakened ability to trap pathogens and prevent illness This has a direct impact on our ability to resist infection.
To alleviate the effects of jet-lag when reaching a new time-zone, moving the body can help to alleviate travel stress, relieve muscle aches and regulate sleep cycles. After a long haul flight, gentle exercise helps draw more oxygen to the muscles, regulate your body’s circadian rhythms, and help your body to adapt to foreign time-zones. When exercising post-flight, it is also recommended to keep your exercise time and routine consistent with what your body is accustomed to. For example, if you usually exercise at 8am London Time, exercising at the same time in your new destination would help to alleviate the effects of jet lag.
Post- flight, it is also important to target the muscle groups and that are most affected by extended periods of stasis. By focussing on stretching out your calves, hamstrings and hips, you can avoid cramping and reduce the risk of DVT. We have outlined a short routine that can be done in the your home or hotel room.
Downward Dog Calf Stretch
Integrate a deeper calf stretch into your downward dog by pressing down alternate heels in a walking motion.
Starting with feet hip-width apart, gently fold forwards to reach your toes. Walk the body into a plank, dropping the hips and raising the chest up the the sky. Dropping the head, walk your hands back to your feet and repeat.
Lying on your back, bring your arms out to the sides in a T-position with the palms facing down. Bend both knees into the chest then exhale drop both knees over to the left side of your body, twisting the spine and lower back. Sliding the knees as close to the left arm as possible and hold for 6-8 breaths. Repeat on both sides.
Kneeling Hip Flexor
Kneel on right knee, with toes down, placing the left foot flat on the floor in front. Keeping the knee bent and aligned with the ankle, place your hands on the left thigh. Press your hips forward until you feel tension in the front of your right thigh. Gently extend your arms overhead, keeping the elbows close to your head and palms facing each other, and slightly arch your back. Hold for 30 seconds, and repeat on the other leg.
Soothing hot water infusions can serve to correct water retention and discomfort that can result from travelling. Below we have outlined hot water remedies that are particularly effective in restoring regularity after a long flight.
Detoxifying – A combination of Manuka Honey, Lemon and hot water flushes out toxins, heals inflammation and reduces bloating. Naturally rich in potent antioxidants and Vitamin B green teas, like Bellocq’s Green Kukicha blend help to support your immune system and brain function.
Grounding – Ayurvedic teas such as Pukka’s Three Cinnamon Tea is also helpful for strengthening one’s connection to the ‘earth elements’. According to Chinese traditional medicine, strengthening the ‘earth’ elements effectively counteracts the imbalance caused by travel.
Restorative – Pukka’s Detox Tea is an all- natural herbal blend that contains sweet aniseed and fennel. These stimulating herbs help to cleanse and restore gut regularity post-flight.
Karl Hab is Paris based photographer known for capturing local street fashion, underground music scenes and sprawling landscapes. Always moving, his work explores the cities he travels to from different points of view, whether shooting in the Hong Kong subway or sitting on a Boeing 747. Courtesy of the artist, the featured image for this article appears in his limited-run, ‘Window Seat Please’ zine, a hypnotic photographic representation of ten years of travel.