Long-distance flights can be a challenge for our bodies, often leading to stiffness, fatigue, and even deep vein thrombosis (DVT). However, incorporating simple in-flight exercises can improve circulation, reduce muscle tension, and leave you feeling refreshed upon arrival.
Here are some energising exercises to try during your next long-haul journey.
Ankle Circles: Boosting Blood Flow
This straightforward yet effective exercise enhances circulation in your lower legs, reducing the risk of DVT. While seated, lift one foot off the ground and make slow, controlled circles with your ankle. Repeat for 15-20 circles in each direction before switching to the other foot.
Neck Rolls: Easing Tension
Long hours in a seated position can strain your neck muscles. To alleviate this tension, gently tilt your head to one side, allowing your ear to approach your shoulder. Hold for a few seconds, then return to the centre. Repeat on the other side. Next, slowly roll your head in a circular motion, completing 3-5 rotations in each direction.
Seated Marches: Engaging Your Core
Engage your core muscles and improve circulation with this simple seated exercise. While sitting upright, lift one knee towards your chest, then lower it back down. Alternate legs and repeat for 20-30 seconds, maintaining a steady pace.
Shoulder Shrugs and Rolls: Releasing Upper Body Stiffness
Combat upper body stiffness by shrugging your shoulders up towards your ears, holding for a few seconds, and then releasing. Repeat 5-10 times. Follow this with shoulder rolls – lift your shoulders, roll them back, then lower them down in a fluid motion. Complete 5-10 rolls, then reverse the direction.
Foot Pumps: Stimulating Circulation
Long-distance flights can lull your feet into lumber. Another excellent exercise for reducing DVT risk is foot pumps. With your heels on the floor, raise your toes as high as possible, then lower them. Next, lift your heels, keeping the balls of your feet on the ground. Alternate between these movements, repeating 10-15 times.
Seated Twists: Rejuvenating Your Spine
Rejuvenate your spine and stretch your back muscles with seated twists. Place your hands on your armrests or the sides of your seat, and gently twist your torso to one side, looking over your shoulder. Hold for 10-15 seconds, then return to the centre and repeat on the other side.
Glute Squeezes: Activating Your Muscles
Activate your glute muscles by clenching them together as firmly as possible. Hold for 10-15 seconds before releasing, and repeat 5-10 times. This exercise helps to relieve pressure on your lower back.
Arm Stretches: Restoring Flexibility
Stretch your arms by raising one overhead and bending it at the elbow, reaching down towards your shoulder blades. Use your other hand to gently pull your elbow, stretching your triceps. Hold for 10-15 seconds, then switch arms.
Conclusion: Arrive Feeling Fresh and Invigorated
Incorporating these simple exercises during your long-distance flights can significantly improve your travel experience. By enhancing circulation, relieving muscle tension, and reducing the risk of DVT, you can arrive at your destination feeling refreshed and ready to explore.