How to outsmart the #1 travel pain
Hitting the road to visit family and friends? Fun! But long periods of sitting in a car or on a plane raise the risk of blood clots in your legs— aka deep vein thrombosis (DVT)— and those clots can trigger swelling and pain. The good news: A few savvy strategies can keep you safely on the move. Simply…
Squirm like a kid
You don’t have to be quite as squirmy as the toddler in seat 18B, but moving your legs a little every 20 minutes— whether you wiggle your toes, bounce your legs or stand up and stretch— can cut your risk of clots by 33%. That’s the word from researchers at the University of South Carolina, who say regularly contracting feet and leg muscles keeps blood moving up toward your heart, so it’s less likely to pool and form clots.
Pull on these socks
When you know you’ll be seatbound for four hours or more, pull on a pair of compression knee socks or calf sleeves (find options at Lilytrotters.com). A review of 11 studies concluded that the compress in compression socks keeps blood in circulation— and that cuts the risk of DVT by 63%!
Drink more water
It’s tempting to forgo fluids (and bathroom trips!) when you’re on the road, but research in the British Journal of Haematology suggests staying hydrated can cut your risk of leg clots by 47%! Water dilutes waste products that make blood more likely to clot. Simply sip 8 oz. of water before and 8 oz. every two hours during travel.
Try pine bark
Pine bark extract ( Pycnogenol) can reduce blood stickiness to cut DVT risk by 55%. Experts suggest taking 200 mg. three hours before travel and 200 mg. six hours into travel. Try: Source Naturals Pycnogenol Supreme (iherb.com). Note: Check with your doctor before supplementing. —Brenda Kearns