One of the downsides of long flights is that they can be a little unhealthy if you don’t take care of yourself in-flight. Because you’re sitting (unless you’re in Business Class or better) for very long periods of time, often times with little room to move around your circulation may not be at its optimum.
To combat this I always choose an aisle seat so that I can get up and walk around whenever I want and I do this every two hours or so. I also like to stretch out my legs and do some simple exercises. Very hour, or whenever I think to do it, I roll my ankles ten circles each direction and also raise my foot up and pint it down the same number of repetitions. When up walking around I’ll take the opportunity to do a couple deep knee bends as well.
One of the potential perils of bad circulation is the possibility of Deep Vein Trombosis (DVT). DVT if left untreated can lead to a pulmonary embolism or other issues related to blood clots and that’s not too good.
Another way to combat DVT and to just feel better while flying is to wear compression socks. Now these things aren’t going to go with your shorts and flips flops (nobody wants to see your bare feet on an airplane anyway) dress appropriately for flying and go shopping for these socks. When you first put the things on they seem to not fit, are too tights, and at a minimum of knee high, just can’t be comfortable. While there is a little work involved in coaxing them over your ankles and up your calf they are amazingly comfortable once in place. I put mine on hours before traveling and don’t remove them until hours after arriving at my destination.
The idea is to optimize the blood flowing to and from your heart. You can get these things at your local pharmacy, but its important that they fit you correctly. Also check the compression rating. They should be rated at a minimum compression rating of 15-20 mmHg. The higher the number the more compression and the more difficult to put on and take off. Look for socks that have graduated compression that are the tightest at the ankle and become gradually looser (but not loose) at the knee.
Your might be surprised to discover that these socks retail for about $25/pair, but you just need one pair and they’re a good investment and will help make your trip more comfortable and worry free.