Forget the window seat next time you’re booking a flight longer than six hours. According to new research, enjoying window views from 30,000 feet ups your odds of suffering from deep venous thromboses (DVTs)—or blood clots—than being in an aisle seat. Some studies have suggested it can increase risk two-fold. (Read more: What Is Deep Vein Thrombosis?)
What gives? It’s not the physical location of the seat that’s putting you in danger—it’s that you’re less likely to get up when you’re plopped inside two strangers. No one wants to be that guy who goes to the bathroom five times. But maybe he’s on to something.
“When you sit still for long periods of time, gravity causes your blood to pool in your legs, making it easier for clots to form. When you walk around, each step causes contractions in your calf returning blood to the heart,” says Susan Kahn, M.D., at Lady Davis Institute in Montreal, and author of the new DVT guidelines.
DVTs are rare—occurring in about one of every 5,000 airline passengers. But if you’re on a cross-country haul, make it a point to get up every hour or two. While seated, get your calf muscles contracting—flex and extend your ankles to help blood flow, Kahn says.
Travel a lot? Try compression socks, says Kahn. The pressure these socks put on your ankles and lower legs helps press blood upward. They are especially useful if you’re at a higher risk for DVTs (overweight, past blood clot, or recent surgery). Check out the other benefits of compression gear.
via Mens Health