Simple Stretching Routine for Air Travel

You can combat fatigue during your flight with these simple stretching routines.  This is the Stretching Routine for Flyingeasiest way to stay refreshed, relaxed and comfortable during your flight. Exercising while you travel will help restore balance by keeping muscles relaxed and reducing soreness and stiffness.

At the airport while waiting for your flight, try not to sit.  Instead, continue to walk around, or do standing bends.  Don’t worry; you will probably never see these people again.  Once seated on the plane try to take deep breaths that will help relax your muscles.  Sit with your feet flat on the floor and try to stay away from leaning or slouching back into the seat.  Scoot forward and sit up tall, relaxing your shoulders.

Important tips:  Get up at least every hour and walk the length of the isle.  Walk to the restroom a few times; you may want to also do the neck tilts or shoulder rolls while walking.  This will also put other travelers at ease…they will see what you are doing and may join you!  Also drink plenty of water.  A bottle while you wait to board and another on the plane is a great idea.

The point is to keep your blood circulating.  This will also help prevent deep vein thrombosis, which is a condition where blood clots form in the deep veins of the lower legs and thighs.  Sitting for long periods of time in an airplane seat can limit circulation in the legs, which sets up the perfect condition for a blood clot to form in the vein.   Use this stretching routine while seated for long periods to keep this condition from happening:

One of the easier exercises to do, even if you are shy about people looking at you funny, is the shoulder roll. First relax your shoulders and let your arms dangle at your sides.  Slowly shrug your shoulders up toward your ears.  Roll shoulders backward in a circle to their original position.

An important stretch is the neck tilt. This is another stretching exercise that will not draw too much attention to you.  Simply tilt your head to the right. Then place your right hand up over the top of your head and on your left side ear.  Pull your head lightly towards your right shoulder and feel that muscle at the side of your neck stretch a little. Hold this position for about 10 to 20 seconds then switch to the opposite side and repeat.  Remember to breathe and relax into the stretch as you exhale.

The seated twist stretch will help with lower back tension.   Put both feet flat on the floor, right hand on outside of left knee, left hand on armrest.  Let your twist come from your waist, twisting to the left.  Hold for 5-6 deep breaths then reverse.

Also, the leg extension can be done while seated.  Extend both legs and move both feet back and forth in a circular motion, and move the knee up to the chest and hold the stretch.

For a more thorough stretching routine, continue with these great stretches to relax your muscles and improve your flexibility.

  1. Booty clench.  Hold abs in and tighten your butt.  Try to raise yourself up an inch or two.  Hold for 5-6 seconds, relax and repeat. Do not lean forward or push down on your feet just to raise yourself.
  2. Kegel exercises for the women…no explanation necessary.
  3. Toe wiggling can be done to prevent fluid from becoming stagnated in the feet. Wiggling your toes will help pump the fluid out of your feet and back where it belongs.
  4. Toe raises.  Start with your feet flat on the floor, raise up on the balls of your feet, hold, then relax.
  5. Ankle rotations.  Rotate your foot slowly in wide circles, and then reverse the direction.
  6. Raise one hand straight up over your head, as far as you can, bend your elbow and touch the back of your neck, between your shoulder blades if you can. With the other hand grab the elbow and gently pull to one side.  Hold and repeat on the other side. This stretches the triceps.
  7. Flex your foot by drawing the toes towards your shin and stretch your leg as long in front of you as possible. Feel a stretch in the calf muscle.
  8. Full-body stretch. Clasp your hands together and reach above your head, stretching yourself as tall as possible.

I have found it works well to have a handful of these stretches in mind or jotted down, ready to go for your flight.  When you use this in-flight stretching routine you will land feeling refreshed, relaxed and free from the usual stiffness you normally feel after a long flight.

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