By Kate Schwartz
If your legs cramp up at the thought of a long flight, this article is for you. I’ve done extensive research on the best in-flight exercises and compiled a top ten list of the most effective cramp/blood clot/boredom-fighting moves. So bust out the sweatband, it’s time to move!
- Take a lap: Get up and take a walk up and down your aisle. (For the adventurous traveler, try some lunges—you’ll be sure to get a good workout while simultaneously entertaining your fellow passengers.)
- Stretch your back: Pull your shoulders back contracting your “wing bones.” For a deeper stretch, put your hands behind your back and pull your shoulders back even farther.
- The classic neck roll: This one is used in almost every exercise class, so why not do it on a flight? Roll your head in a circle clock-wise then counter clock-wise. Repeat as necessary.
- Ankle roll: Keep those ankles loose with a soccer-inspired exercise. Rotate your ankle clock-wise then reverse.
- Yoga cat move: While usually done on all fours, this yoga-inspired move is a great back stretch. Arch your back forward and then backwards returning to a flat back in-between each stretch.
- Torso Twist: Keeping your feet on the ground and legs parallel, grab the armrest to the right with your left hand and pull to stretch torso. Hold for 15 seconds then reverse.
- Leg Raise: While sitting tall, grab one knee and pull it towards your chest. Raise it as high as you can and hold, then do the same with the other leg.
- Hamstring stretch: Stretch one leg out as straight and as long as you can. Flex your foot and slide your hand down your leg as far as it will go until you feel a stretch in your hamstring. Hold and reverse.
- Hand squeeze: Bring a tennis ball, stress ball or anything you can squeeze on the flight. Squeeze until your hand is tired and then switch hands.
- Body tension exercise: This technique is a great way to calm an anxious body. Starting with your feet, tense each part of your body for ten seconds and then release. Start with your feet and end with your face.
Aside from in-flight exercises, there are many ways to stay comfortable on a long flight. Try putting a pillow, rolled-up blanket or even a rolled-up magazine behind your lower back to promote good posture, drink lots of water and chew gum to help relieve pressure. Combine these tips with the top ten in-flight exercises and your next flight will be the best one yet.
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Kate Schwartz is a marketing coordinator for Orbitz. When she’s not searching for the best travel deals, she’s out taking advantage of them! From hiking the Rockies to lounging on the beaches of Barcelona, Kate is always looking for adventure.