If you're planning to take a flight sometime soon, follow these steps to get to your destination in perfect health.
Keep your blood flowing. Sitting still for hours at a time in a cramped airplane seat can cause deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot in the leg that can block blood flow and cause pain or worse. On a long flight get up and walk around every two to three hours (an aisle seat makes this easier). While seated, move your legs up and down, rotate ankles, and stretch them out if you can. Drink lots of water to stay hydrated and avoid alcohol and caffeine. If you can tolerate aspirin without side effects, take one before getting on the plane.
Drink up the day before. The low humidity and recirculated air on planes can dry you out, and dehydration raises your risk of DVT. Aim for 16 ounces of extra water the day before travel, at least 16 to 24 ounces the morning of, then 16 more ounces during the flight.
Pack smart snacks. Airport food is often expensive and high in fat, so you can save your wallet and your waistline if you bring healthy snacks from home.
Lift luggage carefully. More than 50,000 people were treated in 2007 for injuries related to luggage lifting, according to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission. Bend at the knees when you lift your suitcase to put it in the overhead bin so you use your leg muscles and don't strain your back and waist.
Bring distractions. Delays happen, but you don't have to lose your cool. Boost your brain power with a crossword or Sudoku, catch up on your magazine reading, or play cards with your kids.