At the end of a long flight, you may feel groggy, sore, numb, and pretty
miserable overall. Making just a few simple changes to your flying routine
could help you feel refreshed and ready to move by the time you land.
Even though you don’t have a lot of room on an airplane, there are
still several helpful exercises you can do to keep your blood flowing
and prevent your limbs from getting stiff. Regular movement can help prevent
Deep Vein Thrombosis (a condition where blood clots form from extended
periods of sitting) and leave you feeling healthier and more energetic
as you depart your flight.
Before You Fly
Treating your body well before you even board the plane is key to having
a good flight experience. Don’t succumb to the temptation to sit
around a terminal for hours before your flight leaves! Take advantage
of the room you have to move around and limber up before being confined
to a chair.
Before you fly, make sure to follow these tips:
Walk it out: You have an entire airport to explore. Take advantage of the time you
have to walk around and stretch out before you fly. Avoid sitting as much
as possible and focus on stretching your muscles. Some airports even have
special rooms for yoga, meditation, and relaxation.
Eat light meals: Downing a greasy airport burger right before takeoff isn’t going
to bode well for you. A heavy meal will be more difficult to digest and
may even impede your sleep later on. Instead, choose a light meal and
pack veggies and fruits for snacks during your flight.
Wear comfortable clothes: Airplanes are notorious for their changing temperatures. Wear lightweight
layers that are comfortable and don’t restrict blood flow.
Avoid excess caffeine: Caffeine will contribute to dehydration. Avoid excessive amounts of tea
or coffee and opt for water instead. Adding cucumbers, mint, or fruit
to your water can help you drink more throughout the flight.
Your body will thank you for planning ahead for flight conditions.
Exercises during the Flight
Even the roomiest of flights can leave you feeling cramped if you don’t
move around as much as possible during the flight. Doing these exercises
can help you feel refreshed and kill time as well!
Seven exercises to try during your next flight:
Ankle Rolls: Lift both feet off of the floor in front of you. Roll both ankles in
a circle for five times clockwise and five times counterclockwise. Repeat
this five times.
Shoulder Stretches: Grab your left shoulder with your right hand. Then, grab your right elbow
with your left hand. Stretch out your shoulder and repeat on the other side.
Pointed Feet: While keeping your heels on the floor, point your toes up as far as possible.
Then keep your toes on the floor and raise your heels as high as possible.
Repeat five times.
Shoulder Shrugs: Roll your shoulders in circular movements forwards five times, then backwards
five times. Repeat as often as you want.
Knees Up: Lean forward, grab your knee with both hands clasped tightly, raise your
knee to your chest, hold and release. Repeat with the other leg after
holding the position for 15 seconds.
Forward Lean: With both feet on the floor, suck your stomach in and reach down between
your ankles. Hold for 15 seconds, then slowly stretch back up.
Neck Roll: Facing forward, lower your right ear to your right shoulder. Slowly straighten
your head. Then, lower your left ear to your left shoulder. Repeat 10 times.
These exercises are easy, low-impact, and don’t even require you
to leave your seat! As long as the seat belt lights are not on, get up
and walk around the plane as much as possible. Even just a little bit
of consistent movement can make a huge difference in how you feel after
This article contains general information about medical conditions and
treatments. The information is not advice and should not be treated as
such. The information is not intended to replace the advice or diagnosis
of a physician.
If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should
consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.