Why Is Air Travel So Exhausting?

Dr. Oz has the answer.

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Q: Why is air travel so exhausting?

Oz Says: It's not just luggage dragging and frustrating delays. Sitting on a plane can take a toll, even when all goes smoothly. Consider this an in-flight checkup.

Brain

After takeoff, cabin air is so low-pressure, "it's like sitting on a 6,000-foot mountain," says Alan Hedge, PhD, of Cornell University. Less oxygen circulates to your brain, so you feel sluggish. Don't fight it: Bring a sleep mask and get some zzzs.

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Legs and Feet

Sitting on long flights allows blood and fluid to pool here, raising the risk for swelling or potentially dangerous blood clots, says Hedge. Get moving — at least by pointing and flexing your feet — every 30 minutes while you're awake.

Mouth

There's a reason airplane meals are notoriously bland. And surprise, it's not them, it's you! The low air pressure dulls your taste buds, so foods don't seem as sweet or salty. Tuck a packet of hot sauce or mustard in your carry-on.

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Neck

When you hunch over to read, your muscles strain to support a 10-pound head. The result: soreness and tension headaches. Bring your book or tablet closer to eye level by propping it up on a few pillows placed on the seat-back tray table.

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