Although you need to ensure you drink enough water every day, it’s especially important that you do so while traveling. Of course, flying to various destinations is convenient and quick, but it does have some drawbacks in terms of your overall health — especially when traveling long distances.
There are certain factors that increase your risk of dehydration, including a lack of humidity in the cabin air and potentially longer periods without water — especially in terms of what you’re used to drinking on a daily basis. It’s very important that you remain hydrated on a plane, here’s why.
Why Do I Need to Drink Water While Flying?
As mentioned, planes generally have a humidity level that is around 10 to 20 percent. In comparison, the standard humidity indoors is generally around 30 to 65 percent. In more mild cases, dry skin and fatigue are apparent, however, in other cases, complications can be very serious.
For patients with asthma, for instance, dehydration can lead to issues with the respiratory system. A number of studies have studied this connection, including research that was published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. It was stated that hydration and the movement of fluid between the components in the lungs is critical.
It’s clear that dehydration places high-risk individuals at risk, such as those with lung or kidney disorders, but what about the general public? Well, believe it or not, once you’ve lost 1.5 percent of the water in your body, you will have reached the tipping point for mild dehydration.
Once you’ve reached mild dehydration, a range of consequences occur. From fatigue to a more irritable mood, muscles cramps to constipation, there are a long list of adverse effects that will make traveling a much less enjoyable experience. For those who are already anxious when they travel, adding dehydration to the mix could heighten stress levels.
How Can I Reduce My Risk?
There are a number of ways in which you can remain hydrated — both internally and externally.
- Drink more water — This is no surprise, as the easiest way to avoid dehydration is to drink water throughout the flight. The human body is 60 percent water — meaning, everything from your brain to your liver rely on adequate levels.
- Bring a quality moisturizer — Dry skin is a side effect of both low humidity and dehydration. When you source a high-quality moisturizer, it attracts moisture levels in the air, hydrating your skin from the surface.
- Avoid alcohol — Although you’re technically drinking liquid, alcohol does not dehydrate your body. Sure, beer is around 95 percent water, however, once processed in your body, alcohol causes a number of changes in terms of urine output and the regulation of water levels in the body. Moral of the story, alcohol dehydrates you — even when you compensate with glasses of water in between.
Regardless if you’re traveling or not, a large portion of the population do not drink enough water on a daily basis. This is what’s leading to symptoms of chronic fatigue, chronic headaches, and more irritable moods. If you’re a soda drinker, replacing your daily intake with water will significantly boost your health.
So, how much should you be drinking?
Well, you often see recommendations such as ‘8 cups’ daily, however, this is just a guideline. As you can imagine, individual differences will affect your recommended consumption. As a good rule of thumb, drink half of your bodyweight in ounces daily — if you’re active, you’ll need even more.
For example, if you’re 160 pounds, you should drink 80 ounces of water daily — or roughly five pints. Even if you’re not thirsty, make sure you’re sipping throughout the day. After all, by the time you actually feel thirsty, your body has already reached a state of dehydration.
So, the next time you fly, be more consciously aware of your water intake. Start developing healthier drinking habits far before you travel, maintaining them long after you return home from traveling.