Exercises on the plane are incredibly important. We’ve all heard of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and this can be prevented with some simple exercises, I also tend to advise compression socks for a long flight also. There are a few exercises that I tend to do when I travel and I have summarised them here. Some are easier than others and I have separated them into sitting and standing exercises.
Seated in-flight exercises
Seated exercises are easy exercises that you can do to help to prevent things from stiffening up too much and keep the blood flowing. These are also easy to do without other people noticing you and easy to do in a confined space. Lots of people don’t like to do exercises obviously in the aisle as it can seem a bit embarrassing. I personally will do mine anywhere but some people don’t like to do this. These are designed to get lots of different joints moving and blood flowing. These are also targeted at different parts of the body.
Foot pumps – have your feet flat on the floor, lift the toes up as high as you can keeping your heels on the ground, then lower the toes back down and raise the heels off the ground keep the balls of your feet on the floor. Repeat 10 times.
Seated march – keeping your knees bent lift your feet off the ground alternating between sides as if you are marching while seated. Do this for around 30 seconds.
Neck movements – turn your head side to side ten times, then up and down ten times and then ear to shoulder 10 times.
Knee to chest – lift your knee into your chest as high as you can five times each side.
Shoulder rolls – roll your shoulders forwards ten times and then backwards ten times.
Side bends – stand up tall and place your hands by your sides, slide one hand down the side of your leg making sure you don’t let your body bend forwards, then do the same to the opposite side and repeat ten times.
Lunges – with sitting so long our glute muscles (the ones in our buttocks) go to sleep. I find that lunges are a good way to switch these muscles back on.
Squats – also a good exercise to get the glutes switched back on. The key thing with a good squat is that your weight goes through your heels.
Calf stretches – when I travel my calves always get tight so I find stretches invaluable. Calf stretches are a great one to do in general but on a plane very useful. I tend to do these when I am waiting for the toilet, as there is always a queue.
These standing exercises are really good and I always do these if there is a stopover on my flight also. Another good thing to do if you have a stopover is make sure that you take the stairs instead of the escalator. It can be tempting to take the escalator as we are often very tired but as we haven’t been moving the stairs are the option that you should take. A foot massage is also a very good thing to do on a stopover or after a long flight in general. When we flew to Thailand we got a foot massage not long after and it was amazing and I would highly recommend it to anyone.
These exercises are very useful and doing these on your flight will help to prevent DVT as well as keep the muscles and joints moving and working.
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