Sports, Air Travel, Jet Lag & Multiple Zone Nutrition
Sport is played throughout the world. The competitive schedule includes international matches between academy/clubs and representatives of national sides. At the top professional level, players may have to compete for their clubs and countries in different parts of the world in the same week.
Teams also have to travel great distances or sometimes multiple time zones to play friendly matches , especially over the pre-season training period or participate in a warm weather training. The travel schedule induces travel fatigue or jet lag when multiple meridians are traverse
The symptoms of jet lag include intermittent periods of fatigue, lack of ability to concentrate, gastrointestinal upsets, irritability and unusual mood disturbances and difficulty in sleeping at appropriate time
– Tired in the new day time yet unable to sleep at night.
–Delayed onset of sleep after eastward flight, early awakening after westward flight
–Unable to focus attention, lapses concentration
–Decreased mental and physical performance during the new daytime.
–Motivation below normal, subjective fatigue above normal
–Irritable & experiencing head buzz (headache, disorientation)
–Poor appetite and decreased interest of food and enjoyment of meals.
–Bowel irregularities ; change in frequency of defecation and consistency of stool
To minimize travel fatigue diuretics like alcohol and caffeine are best avoided, the preference being for water or fruit juices to compensate for the extra losses incurred in breathing dry cabin air. Otherwise, the ensuring dehydration would compound the symptoms of jet lag. Light exercises such as isometrics or stretching or walking periodically at the back of the plane can safe guard against deep vein thrombosis.
A strategy for coping with jet lag and hastening adjustment to the new time zone must be based on the knowledge of how body clock works. With this understanding a travel strategy can be planned and implemented .
Though there is no single cure for jet lag, and modifications of diurnal activity are likely to be more effective than using sedatives and hypnotics. Support personnel and officials should be included , as well as the players when travel strategies are being drawn up. Attention to detail should help ensure that a successful journey is not marred by discomfort and performance impairment during the trip.
(Ref: medicine manual-fifa)