Some of you spend an awful lot of time on a plane, flying from one place to another, one meeting to the next, making it so much harder to stay fit and healthy. Keeping yourself active during a long flight not only gives your body some much needed movement but also helps lower the risk of fluid retention, swelling, cramping, fatigue and jet lag.
We all have heard of the risk of Deep Vein Trombosis (DVT), the “Economy Class Syndrome”. Even if you are one of the lucky ones who travel in First or Business class, saying inactive for long hours on end can cause your blood vessels to become compressed, making it harder for the blood to circulate towards the heart. This will cause swollen feet, legs and hands. So moving around, whilst flying, is almost essential.
These exercises that I am demonstrating below are designed to provide a safe way to stretch and enjoy movement in certain muscle groups that can become stiff. They may be effective at increasing the body’s blood circulation and massaging the muscles.
We recommend that you do these exercises for three or four minutes every hour or so. Hold the position for no longer than two seconds – to prevent the “stretch reflex”, a protective mechanism that helps your body prevent the over extension of a muscle – and repeat 8-10 times. Always stretch the right and left sides to maintain balance and symmetry. Learn to “listen” to the muscle’s response to the stretch so that you will learn more about your body mechanics composition.
None of these stretching exercises should be performed if they cause pain or cannot be done with ease and don’t worry about looking silly doing stretches on the plane. Many of the other passengers may be stretching in their seats too…. and besides, you’ll probably not going to meet them again.
Muscles can become tense, resulting in backaches and a feeling of excessive fatigue during, and even after your flight. So whenever the flight attendants say it’s safe to move, get up and walk the aisle. Walking and performing stretches while flying can make the much needed difference to your body.
Simple tips you can also follow like avoiding sitting with your legs crossed (as this restricts circulation), drinking plenty of water – as caffeine and alcohol dehydrate – and wearing loose clothing, will make your flight more comfortable. Don’t miss the chance to stretch and move while you are waiting for the bathroom standing in line. It generally takes the body’s biological clock approximately one day per time zone crossed to adjust, so take it easy!
Free your body and have a safe flight!!