20 stretches to do before, during and after a long flight
How do you survive a long flight?
Sitting immobile for hours at a time is bad for our health. We’ve all felt muscle pain, swelling and tenderness on long-haul flights. The science confirms that long-flights have negative implications for our health. The World Health Organization found that remaining seated and immobile for four hours whether on a plane, train, bus or car leads to decreased blood circulation, potentially causing blood clots also known as venous thromboembolism (VTE). The risk doubles after travel lasting four hours or more. On a plane, dehydration and reduction of oxygen in a pressurized cabin further decrease blood circulation. And symptoms of decreased blood circulation are muscle stiffness, swelling and tenderness.
How can you reduce muscle stiffness and swelling on long flights?
How can you exercise on a long flight?
1. Stand up, stretch and move around to keep the blood flowing. You don’t need a lot of space and you don’t need any equipment. All you need is a little motivation! Don’t stay in the aisle next to your seat to stretch, there isn’t quite enough space, you might accidentally kick a seated passenger and you’ll obstruct traffic. Instead, go to a resting area and be mindful to make space for the flight attendants as they need to come and go.
2. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after you stretch to avoid germs and getting sick on a plane. Aisle headrest and bathrooms are some of the dirtiest places on airplanes so make sure to take basic measures to minimize your risk of exposure to bacteria and virus. Here is a health guide with essential airplane hygiene tips.
3. Don’t worry about the looks you may get – they’re looks of envy to stretch too. If you’re really uncomfortable and can’t handle the spotlight, stretch when other passengers are sleeping.
How do you stretch for a long flight?
Let’s get to it! Here is a list of stretches and movements you can do before, on and after a long-haul flight to release tension and muscle stiffness along with a video I took with my GoPro camera on a 6 hours and 30 minutes flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu.
10. Groin, lower back, sacrum, hips – Deep squat or garland pose
12. Adductors – Butterfly
19. Chest, shoulders & abdomen – Standing back bend