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Traveling can be exciting for some, but, whether it's for pleasure or for business, it wreaks havoc on our bodies all the same.
The lack of sleep and jet lag result in pure exhaustion, while cramped seats leave our muscles aching and backs sore. Mix in crankiness from never-ending security lines and greasy airport food, stress and weariness from travel are almost never worth the trip itself.
While we can't do much about changing time zones or minimal legroom, there are ways to minimize the toll your body takes when flying. We caught up with Ashley Matsumura, a flight attendant with Emirates with over seven years of experience under her belt, about her top health hacks, how she combats muscle fatigue and her go-to beauty essential she uses mid-flight.
THE MID-FLIGHT SAVIOR
"I typically have nine flights a month. Our schedules change weekly, but flights can last anywhere up to 16 hours," she explained to AOL Lifestyle.
"My skin tends to dry out from spending so much time on the aircraft. That being said, I make sure to stay hydrated and keep my face as clean as possible to avoid drying out or breakouts. Sheet face masks are perfect when I’m on the go as they’re easy to put on mid-flight, and only take 15 to 20 minutes to help rejuvenate and rehydrate my skin."
Experts explain that while your skin is best in humidity that is between 40 to 70 percent, humidity in most airplane cabins is at around 20 percent.
Matsumura even uses sheet masks on long flights, with her favorite being the best-selling Luminous Dewy Skin Mask from Tatcha, made from the antioxidant-rich botanical Uji green tea, mozuku algae for water retention and Akita rice, the last of which is rich in essential proteins.
SHOP: Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mask, $12
"Another tip is to use rose water in a refillable spray container, like Mario Badescu. I use this spray throughout the flight to keep my face moist and refreshed," Matsumura said.
TOP THREE WELLNESS TIPS MATSUMURA'S LEARNED
"One of the best ways to experience a culture is through its food. That being said, it’s easy to get carried away. A tip I’ve learned is to share a few small plates with my travel partner to avoid overdoing it. Another tip is to ask for the rest of the food to-go and get two (or three) meals out of one, saving calories and cash."
"Hydrating is a key element to staying healthy while on the road (or in the air). As mentioned before, it not only helps to keep your skin hydrated, but it eases jet lag, increases energy levels and flushes out toxins."
"With a packed schedule, unfamiliar beds, quirky layovers and time-zone changes, it’s easy for my sleep schedule to get thrown off while traveling. My number-one recommendation is to make sure you’re getting enough quality rest. Not only is it the ideal complement to a solid diet and exercise regimen, but it helps to improve your mood as well."
Avoiding salty foods
"When flying, I also recommend staying away from any foods that cause indigestion or a bloated feeling, as this will ultimately leave you in discomfort and struggling to snooze. For example, avoiding sodium in processed snacks such as chips and pretzels."
BEST TIME TO EXERCISE
While Matsumura 's passport is most definitely packed with enviable vacation spots, her first to-do after almost any flight is to work up a sweat.
"I almost always exercise after a flight as it helps to reduce muscle fatigue and encourage blood flow," she told AOL. "The biological clock requires approximately one day per time zone crossed to fully adjust, so if I can’t sleep on arrival, I try to do a light exercise, such as a brisk walk, to help adjust my body clock!"
Sometimes, she opts for a workout in the gym at her hotel. Other times, it's a run outside, which is also opportune for her to get a taste of a new city.
"The good thing about working out is that you can do it anywhere! The hotel gym isn’t an option, I opt for a run outside -- this is an awesome way to explore a new destination -- or work out in my room. Thankfully, there are thousands of workout videos online, so I have the option to switch it up every once in a while to ensure I’m never bored and getting a full-body workout."
WELLNESS ESSENTIALS MATSUMURA NEVER FORGETS
1. A reusable water bottle
"Staying hydrated is a key element to staying healthy while on the road (or in the air). I always pack a reusable water bottle to ensure I’m never without H2O. Not only does it help to ease jet lag, but it increases my energy levels, flushes out toxins and keeps my skin hydrated. I personally like the Que bottle as it’s collapsible and easy to fit in my carry on."
SHOP: Que Bottle, $19.95 (Orig. $24.95)
2. A journal
"I always have my journal on me to stay focused and track against my goals. This is a must in all of my carry-on!"
SHOP: Lemome Thick Classic Notebook, $16.99
3. Exercise equipment
"I always make sure to pack resistance bands or a jump rope for simple workouts I can do anywhere. Not only do they help to enhance my workout but are small enough to fit in my suitcase without taking up too much room."
SHOP: C9 Champion Adjustable Speed Jump Rope, $4.99
SHOP: Letsfit Resistance Loop Bands, $10.90