Tuesday, 6 December 2016

The Heart Health Risk to Frequent Flyers

KLM pilot suffers heart attack during runway taxi at Glasgow Airport

A recent news item highlighted once again, the heart health risk associated with the frequent flying lifestyle.  

While cardiovascular disease is not exclusive to pilots and frequent flyers there are some facts about cardiovascular disease and flying worth  a mention.

Cardiac arrests have the highest percentage of deaths for any ailment on board flights. One study of medical emergencies over a 3 year period looked at data from 5 airlines and 12,000 passengers. Only 0.3 per cent suffered cardiac arrests. Of that percentage which is 38 people, 31 died. 

Risk factors include

  • Diabetes
  • Being overweight and obesity
  • A Poor diet*
  • Physical inactivity*
  • Excessive alcohol use*
*Note - Risk factors often common to frequent flyers of all walks of life.

As a frequent flyer what can you do about it? 

Awareness is a good starting point. Risk factors from flying need to be addressed by all flyers alongside or in the absence of reactive medical action, i.e. private medical insurance is not enough.

Flyers deserve a mixture of the right type of support from the usual channels of healthcare with a mix of preventative tools, in short flyers must place priority cardiovascular health through their own actions.

Did you know?
  • The constant pressurisation and depressurisation of the aircraft cabin can lead to a condition called Vascular Remodelling.
  • Vascular remodelling is part of the pathway that can lead to congestive heart failure if not dealt with.
  • Supplementation with D-Ribose is one way of addressing heart health.
  • Rhodiola is a herb useful for prevention of the deterioration of the endothelium, implicated in cardiovascular health.

Contact us at here to book an appointment, find out more about the healthy flying habit and get started on your road to beating jet lag whenever you travel.


Ps - Always work with your primary healthcare practitioner when making important health decisions.


Sunday, 4 December 2016

How to Series - Avoiding Noise Pollution at Altitude

An often overlooked aspect of healthy flying and jet lag is noise pollution.

The scale of noise pollution was made apparent to me once again when the door of a 747 aircraft I was on would not close properly. The Captain ended up cracking the offending door slightly and closing it again to get the problem resolved (which it did). The noise the cracking of the door let into the plane was phenomenal, even for me as a seasoned frequent flyer.

Noise pollution is a danger to flyers for the stress it causes and as a danger to our eardrums in particular.

Flying better and avoiding all types of stress that contribute to jet lag is a priority all flyers should take seriously.

Do This

Invest in the best quality noise-cancelling headphones you can afford, Bose seems to be the market leader here but there are other brands that do a decent job. This is a worthwhile investment, stretch your price point if you have to, most savvy frequent flyer do.

Lets Connect the Dots

How does noise pollution contribute to jet lag? It does so indirectly. As a factor always present when you fly noise pollution is a danger to the nervous system via the sympathetic nervous system of the body. Exposure to such high levels of noise are not normal or good for the body. Such noise causes stress which leads to acidity in the body. Acid build up is the foundation of what later becomes the start of desynchronisation of the body clock and in turn jet lag.

One of the most common complaints amongst cabin crew according to one study was the loss of hearing from a career in flying.

  • Noise pollution causes avoidable stress, avoid it whenever you can and protect your ears.
  • Not all headphones are created equal, I prefer Parrot Zik's which are noise cancelling and noise measuring with their proprietary free app.
  • Anything that increases stress when you fly increases the chances you will succumb to jet lag.

Disclaimer - I have no other interest in Parrot Zik headphones other than bringing tools that work to the attention of my audience. I receive no commission for this recommendation.

Monday, 21 November 2016

How To Series - Staying Hydrated for Frequent Flyers 3

It is always good to have options.
Having sodium bicarbonate on hand can help flyers stay hydrated and help beat jet lag.

You know the drill by now -

Do This

Step 1: Get your preferred non BPA water bottle.
Step 2: Pick up sodium bicarbonate inexpensively at the chemist or drug store.
Step 3: Start with an eighth of a teaspoon and at least 16 oz of water. Use less than an eighth of a teaspoon if you can't hack the salty taste .

Tip - If you use cold water you can mask the saltiness a bit.

Lets Connect the Dots

First a word of caution. Use sodium bicarbonate with diligence and the awareness that it can interact with certain types of drugs. If you are not sure about it's use consult with a doctor or your primary healthcare practitioner.

- Sodium bicarbonate is a base (it has alkaline properties) bases can neutralise acids in the body. As acids can be harmful to the body they are often kept neutralised and out of the way. Sometimes the medium used for this is water, the same water that could be used elsewhere to keep you hydrated.

- Maintaining a good acid/alkaline balance to start with is one way to help maintain hydration, especially onboard an aircraft with its acidifying cabin environment due to the positive ions in the air.


  • Use sparingly as there may be drug interactions if you are on medication.
  • The Acid/Alkaline balance of your body plays into how hydrated you are.
  • Aircraft cabins are acid forming.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

How To Series - Staying Hydrated for Frequent Flyers 2

Another post with ideas on how to stay hydrated on the road. Follow the 3 steps of my previous post - 

Do This

Step 1:  Buy a non-BPA water bottle
Step 2: Buy the PRODUCT (this time Beetroot Crystals)
Step 3: Add a tablespoon of the Beetroot Crystals to a full bottle of water

Lets connect the dots

Beetroot has been researched and found to increase oxygen uptake. Where there is oxygen there is water, therefore there is hydration.

Beetroot has also been found to help the cardiovascular system develop tone via the production of nitrate. This is valuable as through its function the cardiovascular helps the body stay hydrated.


Use Beetroot to

  • Hydrate via the production of oxygen. 
  • Increase the tone of your cardiovascular system from nitrate.
  • Help your body detox, beetroot contains methyl groups that aid detoxification if you detoxify regularly you stand a better chance of hydrating better.


Beetroot juice and exercise pharmacodynamic and dose-response relationships - Wylie, L.J., Kelly, J., Bailey, S.J., Blackwell, J.R., Skiba, P.F., Winyard, P.G., Jeukendrup, A.E., Vanhatalo, A. and Jones, A.M. 2013. Beetroot juice and exercise: pharmacodynamic and dose-response relationships.Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985). 115, 3 (Aug. 2013), 325–36.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

How To Series - Staying Hydrated for Frequent Flyers

Following the Inflight Health Briefing Sheet on Hydration on Hydration, the next few posts will concentrate on practical tools for flyers
who want to arrive hydrated every time.

Do This

Step 1: Buy a non-BPA water bottle
Step 2: Order Echo Effervescent Hydrogen tablets online
Step 3: Drop 1 tab in 16 oz of water and sip throughout your flight, repeat as often as needed

Lets connect the dots...
  • Hydrogen the number one element of the periodic table is the most abundant element in the universe
  • Hydrogen + Oxygen typically produces water = Hydration
  • An abundance of hydrogen protects the body against alpha particles of cosmic radiation, ps a hydrogen polymer, is used in the NASA space shuttle for this very reason
  1. An alternative theory of jet lag says the over-acidification of the body tissues at altitude sets the conditions for jet lag in motion
  2. A lack of hydration equals systemwide acidification
  3. Remember lemonade colour urine inflight GOOD (↓dehydration), apple juice colour urine BAD (↑more dehydration)

Disclosure - I have no affiliation with Echo Effervescent, but I do use this kick-ass product. Warning : Use supplements responsibly and under supervision if necessary. 

Friday, 21 October 2016

Inflight Health Briefing - Hydration

You may have heard it all before -
" The plane leaves me so dehydrated" 
"Drink plenty of water"
"My skin is so dry, I went to sleep on the plane and woke up with a dry mouth"
"I went to pee and it was yellow" 
These are all symptoms of various stages of dehydration. Dehydration is almost unavoidable if you travel often. Get the cure to this problem with this insider scoop, the Inflight Health Briefing Sheet on Hydration. These are some of the tools the pro's use.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Why You Should Use H.I.I.T As A Frequent Flyer

One of the great challenges of frequent flying is being high above the clouds in a metal tube with less than ideal oxygen. The technical name for this, is a hypobaric environment, which means there is low air pressure. In such environments oxygen is thinner in the atmosphere than it usually is on the ground. The buildup of acidic toxins, the fuzzy head feeling, dehydration and ultimately jet lag are all encouraged by low oxygen diffused in the blood. This makes it important for the healthy minded flyer to include activities that counteract this type of occupational hazard.
Look no further than H.I.I.T (High Intensity Interval Training). In terms of time investment, bang for your buck, flexibility of use and results, you will be hard pressed to find a better tool. As the name suggests it is high intensity with intervals. The evidence[i] that supports the positive benefits from this type of exercise are hard to ignore and are very attractive to frequent flyers for a number of reasons.
For your task-rich time-poor frequent flyer, consistently making time to go to the gym can be a big ask even though they know the benefits are worth it. If you could legitimately cut down on the frequency of your visits to the gym and still see the benefits you want wouldn’t that be great? Well the intensity of H.I.I.T training means you can do just that. H.I.I.T done properly means you seriously stimulate the central nervous system to the point of fatigue. The central nervous system takes about 48 hours to fully recover, thus instead of hammering the gym daily you can afford to take rest days off, safe in the knowledge that you are not overtraining and you have more time to focus on other things that matter.
Other research suggests that the constant pressurising and depressurising of the aircraft cabin leaves frequent flyers susceptible to a condition known as vascular remodeling. In this condition the pulmonary arteries thicken as an adaptive response to the pressurisation. Unfortunately, this can eventually lead to congestive heart failure. Besides the use of adaptogenic herbs like Rhodiola (noted for combatting this adaptation) cardiovascular training can help. H.I.I.T provides overall benefit to athletes by improving VO2 Max (maximal aerobic capacity) which is generally accepted as a marker of cardiovascular fitness as well as aerobic endurance ability. In other words, as a flyer exercising this way will enable you to make the best use of the little oxygen on the plane due to the hypobaric environment.
It is well established that constant travel with time changes and accompanying disruptions to hormone balance, are contributing factors to undesired weight gain. H.I.I.T has been shown to be more effective in battling the bulge repeatedly, in less time than normal cardiovascular training alone.[ii]
H.I.I.T routines can be made to suit resistance as well as cardio workouts so you can choose according to your preference or mix it up a bit when things get stale. Hopefully, now that I’ve got you interested in high intensity training your next question is how do I do it right? The most reliable suggestion I can give you is to folow the cue of Dr Izumi Tabata a leading sports scientist whom a specific set of H.I.I.T sequences (Tabata intervals) were named after.

The Tabata interval consists of a 20 second burst of maximum output of an exercise followed by a 10 second rest, repeated 4 times. As little as this may seem Dr Tabata has proven this to be effective in laboratory conditions. The findings frequent flyers should take note of are that Tabata intervals increase calorie burn for up to 12 hours once you’ve left the gym and that excess post -workout oxygen consumption (EPOC) is increased, which improves fitness.
Now all you have to do is choose how you want to mix it up. You can stick to a single exercise activity or add swap and change activities to suit your needs. To make it even easier to follow try downloading a Tabata app complete with visual and audio cues to add precision to your workouts.
Bonus tip - If you’re using a treadmill for your Tabatas in a gym that has the Curve® treadmill switch to the Curve, it saves you having to program the treadmill for maximum and rest speeds.
NEWSFLASH!!! – Londoners have even less of an excuse to use H.I.I.T intervals as 1Rebel launches Ride2Rebel a mobile Spin Studio. Routes start from Stratford, Kensington High Street, Angel and Clapham Common see 1rebel.co.uk for more details.
This blog first appeared on NoJetStress.com, all rights reserved.