Travelers: Overcome Jet Lag via Exercise
Anyone who has travelled overseas and crossed international time zones has experienced jet lag. This occurs because your body clock is thrown out of kilter and it causes such symptoms as nausea, insomnia, exhaustion, fatigue, headaches, constipation or diarrhea, dehydration, irritability and even memory or coordination problems. The symptoms of jet lag can last for several days which can make business trips and vacations dreadful for awhile.
The Cause of Jet Lag
Your “body clock”, or circadian clock, is actually located in the hypothalamus of the brain. The hypothalamus is used for a variety of bodily functions such as regulating brain and cellular activity, and determining your sleep times. The hypothalamus also sends out signals to your body which keeps all systems running on the correct cycles determined by the time of day or night you encounter, much like a cell phone tower relays signals.
Various stimuli can affect the rhythm of your circadian clock such as changes in night and day cycles, when you eat, etc. Long distance flights prevent your regular cycles from lining up with the pre-determinations of your inner clock which triggers the feelings of jet lag.
Exercise and Jet Lag
Studies on both mice and men have shown that exercise alleviates the symptoms of jet lag on the body’s molecular clock such as muscle and lung tissue, but it does not affect the central clock of the brain. Exercise is particularly effective if you can exercise at the same times that you normally would at home or at the same time every day at the location where you are staying.
Although being one of the last things you feel like doing, exercise has been shown to reduce the symptoms of jet lag and help restore your body clock back to normal. However, studies conducted on the effects of exercise on jet lag revealed that there are specific times which exercise should be performed in order to benefit the most.
Exercise before the Trip
It’s important to exercise as close as possible to your flight departure. High intensity workouts are best, such as what are provided in the MP45 Program. Such vigorous exercise does several things. It relieves pre-flight anxiety, burns excess calories and releases those “feel good” endorphins so you can rest better during your trip.
If you don’t have time for a high intensity workout before you leave, at least strike out around the airport for several brisk laps. Although not as effective as an intense workout, some form of pre-flight exercise will help reduce fullfledged jet lag symptoms.
Exercise during Flight
It is difficult to do much moving during flight, but some form of exercise while you’re travelling can help reduce the symptoms of jet lag. If nothing more, walk around the plane, do some stretches, perform some isometric exercises, or anything that will keep your blood flowing and your limbs from cramping.
Exercise Soon After Arrival
Although jet lag symptoms aren’t normally experienced until a couple of days after arrival, it is most beneficial to exercise as soon as you can after your flight arrives. This can even entail taking a brisk walk, short jog, or doing bodyweight exercises or a fitness band workout in your hotel room.
Next time you head out on a long distance flight, grab some stimulating exercise and have a good flight!
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