Are you going to look and feel silly doing in-flight exercises? Yes! At first, you will probably feel embarrassed and you may get some funny looks, but soldier on. In-flight exercises are an important factor in staying healthy when you fly, especially for long haul trips. And, to those people who stare at you or snigger, tell them what you are doing and why you are doing it. In-flight exercises keep you from stiffening up, maintain circulation and help avoid issues like deep vein thrombosis. Here’s a selection of in-flight exercises to try.
1. Full Body Stretch
The most discreet in-flight exercises you can do in your seat, but there are others where you will be more visible and what you are doing will be seen by other passengers. The full body stretch is one of them, but it is also one of the best all-over exercises. Stand in the aisle – or if you’re self-conscious, go the loo, or that small space by the loo and the crew area – raise your arms and stretch – just like at home when you wake up in the morning.
One of the simplest exercises to do on an airplane is to take a walk. This will keep your blood pumping and work muscles that have become inactive from sitting down/still. In general, on all flights you should walk up and down the aisle at least once every hour.
3. Neck Roll
It’s horrible waking up from an airplane sleep with a stiff neck. As well as using a sleep pillow to support your neck, one of the in-flight exercises to keep you in tip-top shape is the neck roll. Start by dropping your left ear to your left shoulder without forcing it beyond where it wants to go. Then, using the weight of your head, gently and slowly roll your head around, dropping your chin down towards your chest and on round towards your right shoulder as far as it will go – again without forcing it. Then do it for the right ear to the left shoulder. Repeat a few times.
4. Ankle Circles
DVT is a very real issue, as are swollen ankles and feet, which are common problems on long haul flights. Consequently, one of the most recommended airplane exercises are ankle circles. While seated, raise both your feet a few inches off the floor. Rotate both feet in circles, using the ankles as a hinge. 5 rotations in each direction are recommended. If you find it difficult to do both together, do 5 turns for one leg, and repeat for the other leg.
5. Foot and Calf Stretch
This is another of the in-flight exercises you can do in the comfort of your own seat. First take off your shoes. Put both feet flat on the floor. Making sure your heels remain flat to the floor, lift your toes up as high as possible, stretching them as far as you can, holding the position for 10-15 seconds. Then lower your foot to the floor. Next, lift your heels off the floor and stretch as far as you can while keeping your toes and the balls of your feet on the floor.
6. Shoulder Shrug
In a gentle and fluid circular motion, lift your shoulders then roll them in all directions – upwards, downwards, backwards and forwards. You can do both shoulders together as well as alternating the left and right ones.
7. Bent-Knee Lift
Another of the more discreet exercises to do on an airplane is done in your seat. Sit up straight with your knees bent. Lift your left thigh by pushing off at the knee joint so your thigh elevates a few inches off the seat. Lower your leg and repeat for the right thigh. It is recommended this be done at least 20 times for each leg.
There are more in-flight exercises you can do, so check out advice pages on airline websites. What are the exercise routines you always follow to keep you healthy on airplanes?