Sure, it might seem glamorous to travel around the world, and for the most part, traveling is exciting and wonderful; however, if you're boarding a plane too often, especially for work (think: consulting), it can affect your body in a few compromising ways.
"When you spend days and nights traveling, moving between airports and time zones, remaining seated for long stretches of time, and being confined to a jet for 12, 14, or 16 hours at a time, it can be difficult across the board," says Caleb Backe, Health and Wellness Expert for Maple Holistics.
It isn't confined to trips that involve jet lag, either. It can happen from the frequency alone, even if the flights themselves are an hour two each way.
The Chances of Getting Sick Are Higher
"Traveling can be really healthy and uplifting, but when you do it too often, you are asking a lot of your mind and body. There is always the need to adapt, to perform, and to be on time. And (lest we forget) the stressful airports, the crowds, the lines, and everything that happens before and after actual take-off and landing," says Backe.
This stress can lower immunity and increase susceptibility to germs and sickness. And, those airports and airplanes are filled with germs! There are bound to be sick people coughing on your flight, which can affect you when your immune system is compromised. Here are a few easy ways to keep your immunity up.
Your Sleep Schedule is Off (helloooo jetlag!)
Backe also explains that your sleep schedule can get out of whack when traveling. If you're traveling internationally, you're going to experience some serious jet lag, and you'll need to adjust accordingly upon returning home.
And, even if you're just taking some red-eyes or early AM flights for business travel, the total travel time required will cut into your normal sleeping schedule.
It Can Change Your Eating Habits
Searching for healthy airport snacks? Forgetting to eat throughout the day when traveling? Feeling too fatigued to make the right decisions when it comes to filling your plate? Traveling can definitely affect your appetite, either suppressing or revving it, to a point where it can hurt your metabolism. (A tip: bring your own healthy snacks for the plane ride!)
What's more, if you're not sleeping well, you're going to experience even greater effects. "When your sleep and your food intake are not being properly regulated, it can throw all of you out of whack," says Backe. "Lack of sleep and of proper diet are two catalysts of many unpleasant conditions. They can affect your cognitive abilities, your levels of energy, and your general mood," he says.
The takeaway? Enjoy traveling! However, give yourself breaks in between trips, and if you are a frequent flyer for work, create a healthy schedule for yourself, where you're able to keep up with diet, exercise, and sleeping habits when on the go.