One of the most irksome parts of travelling is usually the fatigue and sense of ill health that one feels after a long flight. Thoughts of getting back to one’s daily routine seem overwhelming and all the body craves for is some undisturbed sleep.
The human body is regulated by circadian rhythms or the internal body clock. It is a biological cycle that is regulated by factors such as sunlight, temperature, and other factors modulating a person’s sleep patterns.
However, when a person crosses multiple time zones during a long flight, their circadian rhythm gets botched up resulting in desynchronosis or circadian dysrhythmia, which is better known as jet lag.
When external stimuli do not align with a person’s internal body clock, they experience a number of symptoms like fatigue, insomnia, daytime sleepiness, headaches, indigestion etc.
There are a number of ways one can remedy the situation. One of the ways one can combat jet lag is through exercises. By making the body engage in physical activities, one can overcome a number of symptoms associated with jet lag like insomnia and fatigue.
What exercise does is, it causes the body to increase period and quality of sleep during the adjustment time. By increasing the heart rate and respiration, the body gets peaked at times when it wants to wind down, thus having a direct effect on how long one’s jet lag symptoms last.
A study, conducted by the Laboratory of Biomechanics and Physiology at the Faculty of Liberal Arts in Japan’s Yamaguchi University, found that outdoor exercise causes the hastening of the resynchronisation to a new environment of the circadian rhythm.
A research by the Arizona State University that was published in The Journal of Physiology found that exercise may counter the negative effects of circadian rhythm disruption and thus help in recovering from jet lag.
Here are a few exercise tips that may help in fighting jet lag:
1. Dive bomber press-up:
The exercise helps restore mobility to the shoulders after a lengthy flight. One should lower themselves with their arms towards the floor, keep their legs straight and allow their chest to touch the floor. In that position, a person should push up and extend a curve while looking towards the ceiling. Apart from bringing in mobility, the exercise also benefits both strength and flexibility of a person.
The exercise helps fighting jet lag by helping fliers wake up. One has to place both hands on the floor from a standing position with their legs out behind so that it becomes a press-up position. One has to drop down on their chest and allow the hips to touch the floor. One has to bring their legs in to meet the hands and jump up. The burpee also improves cardiovascular fitness in the body and helps increase balance and coordination.
3. Ustrasana or camel pose:
This yoga cures jet lag by invigorating the mind and reducing anxiety, which further helps improve mood. Ustrasana also relieves lower back pain, stimulates endocrine glands and cures constipation.
4. Brisk walk:
One of the first things one needs to do following a long flight is take a brisk 20-30 minute walk outdoors in fresh air. It not only helps the body acclimatise to the surroundings, but also sets the body clock ticking towards the proper circadian rhythm. A few light exercises after the walk helps as well. The benefits of walking are manifold; it not only increases cardiovascular and pulmonary fitness but also helps manage hypertension and high cholesterol.
5. Gomukhasana or cow face pose:
The yoga opens up the chest, shoulder and hips; parts of the body that suffer from long hours spent sitting in a cramped airplane. Gomukhasana also relieves a person of chronic pain, strengthens hip joint and helps decompress low spine.
So, the next time you have a long flight scheduled, keep this list handy and combat jet lag without any hassle.