I always look forward to traveling, but sometimes the actual flying part can be a little rough (I’m looking at you, recent 16 hour layover in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport!) Being folded into an origami-like position for hours isn’t ideal for your body’s circulation. To minimize the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT = when stagnant blood pools in your legs, increasing your risk of a blood clot), be sure to get up and stretch. Stretching out your muscles aides in circulation, helping your body pump blood back up to your heart after you’ve been seated for an extended period of time. Next time you’re flying high, try the moves modeled here by our jetsetter, Jenn. Time to turn that sad cabin aisle into your personal runway…
Necks Time I’m Upgrading to First Class (a.k.a Neck and Shoulder Stretch)
JK, can’t afford it! Until then, give your neck a good stretch with this move. Use one hand to tilt your head to the side while wrapping the opposite hand behind your back, place the back of your hand on the small of your back. Pretend you’re Beyonce while you’re doing this and those weird stares from flight neighbors suddenly seem flattering. Stretching your neck, shoulders, and upper trapezius muscles will help prevent headaches.
Cross Country Cramp-Avoider (a.k.a Outer Glute Stretch)
Fold one ankle over the opposite knee and gently press down. If the cabin pressure has gone to your head, feel free to do this stretch up against a wall (as if sitting in an invisible chair). Stretching your outer glutes can reduce lower back pain and knee pain.
Aisle Be Stealing Pretzels in the Back of the Plane (a.k.a Quad and Hip Stretch)
A stretch is also a good excuse to scope out the snacks in the back of the plane and fill up your water bottle (I always bring a collapsible one on board, $7 water at Hudson News is against my religious beliefs) to stay hydrated. If you’ve already filled up on munchies, kick your own butt with this move. Soften your standing knee (i.e. don't lock it out), squeeze your glute muscles, and then pull your heel towards your buns and stretch it real good! Stretching your quads will help with hip flexor pain (the front of your hips that get real tight from sitting too long), knee pain, and low back pain.
In between, sheet masks (I’ll take hydrated skin over weird stares from fellow travelers any day) and in-flight entertainment (I cry watching Mrs.Doubtfire on every single flight...that’s normal, right?), try these moves next time you’re in the clouds. May your layovers be short, your flights be free of screaming babies, your deep veins not thrombosis-ing!