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The first thing you should do when you get off a plane, according to health pros


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Photo: Stocksy/Danil Nevsky

You know TFW the captain finally turns off the fasten seatbelt sign and you stand up to retrieve your carry-on from the overhead compartment, only to discover that somewhere between wheels up and wheels down you became so bloated you have to roll down your high-waisted leggings? Or perhaps you’re more the type whose body gets so stiff it feels like you just did 100 burpees à la Drake, or your feet swell to the point where you have to loosen the laces on your sneakers.

The above are some of the unfortunate, yet super-common, side effects of air travel. But you can lessen their impact with a few healthy travel tips wellness pros swear by, such as drinking lots of water and avoiding sodium-rich foods in flight. Looking for more intel on how to arrive at your final destination feeling, ahem, well and good, I polled the health experts speaking at the Amelia Island Wellness Festival in Florida earlier this month. Each was happy to share the first thing they do after landing to bounce back fast after a flight.

Take a deep breath of (non-recirculated) air: “I try to get outside as soon as I can after an airplane flight,” says David Perrin, executive director of education at New York City’s buzzy meditation studio MNDFL. “The natural light, fresh air, and feeling of space around me help to re-set my circadian rhythm.”

Unfurl your mat and start moving: Yogi boss babe Laura Kasperzak, founder of Laura Sykora Yoga, likes to stretch it out and get her body rehydrated ASAP after she lands. “The first thing I do when I get home or to the hotel after a flight is a couple of standing forward folds and downward-facing dogs to release my hamstrings; some cobra poses to stretch out my back, belly, and shoulders; and some gentle hip stretches while lying on my back. I also make sure to drink a ton of water to rehydrate.”

“Stretch right away, especially while you’re at baggage claim.”—Katia Pryce, founder of DanceBody

Get the oxygen flowing with a good stretch: “Stretch right away, especially while you’re at baggage claim,” advises DanceBody founder Katia Pryce. “[It’ll] make you more awake and feel refreshed and renewed. A lot of people get hurt after they travel because you sit for so long. [Try] a figure four to flex your hip flexer, calf stretch, lateral lunge for your inner thigh, rag doll, a nice little arm stretch, and a long side stretch. Hold each stretch for 20 seconds.”

Recharge your biological battery by earthing: Nicholas Giacomini, AKA MC Yogi, recommends getting in the water ASAP. “It always feels good to get in water after a plane to clear the energy and reset your nervous system,” says the Spiritual Graffiti author. “A shower or a bath work well, but the best is to take your shoes off and put your feet in the ocean!”

To improve your odds of feeling good even before you land, you might consider packing a tennis ball in your carry-on or some marshmallow root for your water bottle

Originally published November 22, 2017; updated May 18, 2018.

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