The Benefits of Compression Socks for Travel
If you’re a frequent traveler or you’ve got a long flight or drive planned, you need to know about the benefits of compression socks. Being sedentary for hours at a time is bad for your circulation and your health, but compression garments can help combat the ill effects of travel and help you feel good once you get on the ground. Below, we explain the benefits of compression socks for travel and offer other tips for staying healthy on the road.
Benefits of Compression Socks
There are several benefits of compression socks for travel that frequent flyers and road trippers should know about. They are:
They promote better circulation.
While gravity is incredibly important to life as we know it, it does have the unfortunate side effect of slowing down your circulation. Gravity constantly pulls on your blood, causing your heart to pump harder as it tries to keep the blood moving instead of pooling in your lower legs. Compression socks and stockings provide graduated pressure that encourages the blood to keep moving rather than settle in your feet and ankles.
They can help lower your risk of developing DVT.
Poor circulation puts you at greater risk for blood clotting, and deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is especially dangerous. DVT occurs when a clot forms in the deep veins of the body, usually the legs. If the clot breaks off, it can travel to the lungs and become a pulmonary embolism, which can be life-threatening. Since travel requires you to be sedentary for long periods of time, it increases your risk of DVT–hence the reason why frequent travelers and anyone on a long flight should wear compression stockings.
They can help alleviate swelling.
Puffy feet and ankles are a common complaint among travelers. Gravity and dehydration are often to blame. Dehydration causes your body to retain fluids, while gravity pulls down on them and causes them to collect in your lower legs. The tight fabric of compression garments helps prevent swelling to occur and it forces the fluids to dissipate instead. (Compression stockings are also great for alleviating the symptoms of swelling during your everyday life, not just while you’re traveling.)
Circulation Tips to Keep in Mind While Traveling
Wearing compression socks aren’t the only thing you can do to boost your circulation while you travel. Here are some other suggestions to help your blood keep flowing while you’re on the road:
Don’t cross your legs.
While crossing your legs is a natural posture for many people, especially for women, it actually inhibits your circulation. (All the more reason for ladies to look into women's compression socks for travel.) Think of your arteries and veins like lines that you want to keep as straight as possible. When you cross your legs, you put pressure on the veins and keep the blood from flowing as quickly as it should. Instead, sit with your legs parallel to each other and both feet planted on the floor.
Whenever you’re dehydrated, your body draws excess liquid from the blood (among other things) making it thicker and slowing it down. While many people limit their fluid intake because they don’t want to have to use the bathroom, staying hydrated on flights is very important for maintaining proper circulation. In-flight alcohol may be tempting but try to avoid dehydrating beverages and stick to water as much as possible.
Walk around when you can.
Whether you’re flying or driving, try to get up and walk around once per hour if possible. The movement will help get your blood and other fluids pumping so they don’t pool. Even just one lap around the cabin can help.
Stretch in your seat.
Just because you’re sitting in your seat doesn’t mean you have to stay still. In between your walking breaks, you can rotate your ankles, pump your calves and lift your feet or knees. Any bit of movement will help get your blood circulating, even if you can’t stand up all the way.
Travel isn’t good for your circulation, but as long as you plan ahead and make healthy decisions on the road, odds are good that it won’t adversely impact you in the long-term. Enjoy your trip, and if you need to pick up some compression socks before you go, check out our wide selection as you shop.
Kaki Zell - Vice President of Sales, Marketing, eCommerce at Legs-4-Life LLC Kaki holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Management from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She’s been working in the medical device industry for over 11 years and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Greensboro Science Center.
Written April 2019 | Page Last Updated January 2022
Health.com. “Do You Need Compression Socks When You Travel?” https://www.health.com/style/travel-compression-socks
MedlinePlus. “Deep Vein Thrombosis, DVT” https://medlineplus.gov/deepveinthrombosis.html
MedlinePlus. “Pulmonary Embolism, Deep Vein Thrombosis” https://medlineplus.gov/pulmonaryembolism.html
Science Questions with Surprising Answers. “How Can the Heart be Strong Enough to Pump Blood Up Your Legs Against Gravity?”
Web M.D. “Water Retention: Causes and Treatment” https://www.webmd.com/diet/why-am-i-retaining-water