Practice These Simple Seated Exercises For a Stress-free Flight

    If you're a frequent flyer, keep these ten simple seated exercises in mind. Practising them will ensure an eased movement after your long flight...

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    Your body's flexibility is crucial to the enjoyment of your flight. (Photo credit: Izabela Habur/E+ collection/Getty Images)

    Sitting in one place for many hours may result in a great deal of discomfort for every air traveller due to tiredness and stiffening of the body. By the time you disembark the plane, you may experience difficulty in walking or maintaining a proper body balance. Practising some gentle exercises while seated during your flight not only helps you with eased body movement but improves your blood circulation too. These ten seated exercises will be of great help…

    Shoulder stretch

    Move your right hand over to the left shoulder and place the left hand behind your right elbow. Then gently press the elbow towards the shoulder. You should hold the stretch for at least 20 seconds. Do this repeatedly on the other side.

    Shoulder roll

    Shoulders are helpful in adjusting the neck structure which balances the head. The shoulder roll can be practised by arching your shoulders forward, then upward, backwards, downwards while applying a moderate and circular motion for easy flexibility.

    Ankle circles

    Lift both feet off the floor while drawing a circle with your toes. Simultaneously, move one foot clockwise and the other in anticlockwise direction. Then reverse the circles in each direction for at least 15 seconds while doing this continuously as desired.

    Foot pumps

    Start with both heels firmly on the floor and then raise the front part of your feet upwards. Then while your feet balls still on the floor, lift your front feet as high as you can and keep pumping them on and off the floor in at least 30 minutes intervals until you feel that your feet are relaxed.

    Overhead stretch

    Raise both hands evenly to your head. Use one hand to grasp the elbow of the other hand and gently pull over to one side. Ensure that your overhead stretches last for at least 15 seconds while repeating on both sides of your body.

    Arm curl

    Start by holding your arms at 90 degrees angle with your elbows down and the hands out in front. Then raise your hands up to the chest and then back down, while alternating hands. Do this exercise in at least 30 seconds intervals.

    Knee lifts

    Here you should lift your leg while your knees are bent and then contract the thigh muscles, alternating the legs. Repeat the knee lifts in at least 20-30 times throughout your flight. Knee lifts will give you a great deal of flexibility in your leg joints and hence ease in walking.

    Forward flex

    Hold your stomach in, while placing both feet flatly on the floor and then slowly try bending forward. Then move your hands downwards to the front of your legs until they reach your ankles. Try holding this stretch for 15 seconds.

    Knee to chest

    Start by slightly bending forward and then embrace your hands around the right knee while hugging it to your chest. Hold this stretch for 15 seconds. Keep your hands around the knee and slowly let it down. Alternate your legs while repeating this exercise for a minimum of 10 times.

    Neck roll

    Relax your shoulders while dropping your head in the ear-to-shoulder motion and then gently roll your neck forward and to the other side while holding each position for a minimum of five seconds. Repeat this at least five times.

    These simple exercises are not only helpful to air travellers but even those moving by bus, train, etc. You can even try them while at home, in the office, or during the long meetings. Be sure to have enough space in front of you for easy flexibility and an uninterrupted movement of the hands and legs while carrying out these exercises.

    Charlotte Dodson, a renowned international yoga teacher offers more detailed exercises for a healthy flying which can be found here. You might need to first check with your doctor to find out if you have any health conditions that might be adversely affected by these exercises.

    Other helpful tips for a relaxing flight:

    • Avoid taking heavy meals during the flight.
    • Try to travel light, avoid carrying a lot of items.
    • During the flight, take a couple of strolls along the plane’s aisle.
    • Wear loose clothing and elasticated stockings made of natural fiber.
    • Drink plenty of water and moderate alcohol.
    • To prevent a dry skin, apply moisturizing lotions.
    • Remove your shoes while on the plane to avoid the swelling of your feet.
    • Stretch your hamstrings by touching your toes while waiting in the aisle.

    Have a stress-free flight, everyone!

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