One of the hardest parts about traveling via airplane is sitting in a confined space for hours at a time. It may not seem like a big deal at first, but after the second hour (or earlier), our bodies begin to get stiff.
The importance to keep our bodies flexed and fluid during flights is extreme. Staying stretched and active can avoid blood clots, keep you comfortable, and makes recovery far simpler. While some people are intimidated to get up and walk around the aisles, we have some small stretches passengers can do from the comfort of their own seat (even if they're sitting next to a complete stranger). But hey, if passengers don't mind a few glares, pop up and do some lunges in the aisles — whatever you gotta do to stay fluid and comfortable for your travels.
10 TILTING YOU HEAD FROM SHOULDER TO SHOULDER
Being reminded to sit up with our shoulders back is kind of old school, yet we can see the importance (considering so many of us forget). One of the easiest stretches you can do on a plane is sit up, tilt your head slowly to the left (hold for 10 seconds), and then tilt to the right (and hold for 10 seconds).
For a deeper stretch in your neck, you can use your hand to guide your head a little deeper to the side. After doing this a few times, you can also keep your body nice and tall as you turn your head completely from side to side.
9 ROLL THOSE ANKLES
While stretching your upper body may be easier than your lower half, let's not forget about those legs, ankles, and feet! Throughout the flight, our legs and feet begin to swell from the air pressure change and inactivity, so if we can spread the love to our lower extremities, more power to us!
With one leg bent and the other leg straight out on the floor, flex that ankle upward (so that your toes are pointing to the sky)—and hold for 10 seconds—and then release with those toes facing forward. Do this as many times as you feel necessary and then switch to the other foot. You can also roll those ankles around and draw circles with your feet (toes).
8 ROLLING YOUR SHOULDER BACKWARDS AND FORWARDS
If you took gym class from elementary through high school, then you were probably required to start the class out with some active stretches. One of the easiest stretches to do is standing (or, in this case, sitting) tall and rolling your shoulders back for 10 seconds and then forward for 10 seconds.
Let your body flow and just follow it — do whatever feels natural and good in that moment. Once you're done rolling backward and forward, you can lift both arms in the air (over your head) and tilt your body from left to right.
7 DRINK PLENTY OF WATER & AVOID THE ALCOHOL
Whenever we're about to take a flight, there's always someone reminding us to drink our water; but why? We're pushed and pushed to drink as much water on a flight as possible but what's the purpose?
For starters, flying dehydrates us considerably. While on a plane, we tend to feel sick or groggy when we don't get enough water in our systems, and this is because of the humidity. Per Life Hacker, the humidity in the sky is around 10-20% as opposed to life down on land where the humidity is around 30-60%. The oxygen in planes is also pretty thin and recycled. To ignore soreness and to feel your best, the Aerospace Medical Association suggests drinking eight ounces of water every hour.
6 PRETEND TO RIDE A BIKE
This may sound extra to some folk, but don't knock it 'till you try it. Sitting straight against your chair and grasping the armrests for support, start lifting your legs and peddling in a bike-riding motion. If you do a lot of core work, you would be familiar with "bicycles," which is the same motion but you're laying down on your back. This little burst of activity will engage your core, along with your lower body. Do this in small, controlled motions.
5 SEATED SPINAL TWIST
Yogis tend to have an easier time flying because they can pull so many amazing stretches out of their hats to do mid-flight from the seat of their chair, and one of them is the seated spinal twist.
Sit up nice and tall, place your left leg over your right, and then place your right hand on the opposite side of the left knee. Your left arm will grab the back-end of the armrest, as you twist your body (but keep that bum on the seat). Hold this stretch for about 30 seconds to a minute and then repeat on the other side.
4 KNEES TO CHEST
This stretch is perfect because it's something many of us can do while seated without annoying other passengers. While sitting in your seat, lift one leg to your chest and hold the knee to you (while your other leg is extended outward). Rock back and forth a little if you want or just hold your knee to your chest for 30 seconds to a minute before placing it back on the ground and switching sides.
3 REACH FOR THOSE TOES!
One of the hardest things for many of us is touching our toes. Since when did they get so far away from us! Well, this may be a tad easier while seated. Sit up nice and tall with your legs extended in front of you.
Bend at the waist and try to touch those toes. Now, depending on the plane or if the person in front of you has their seat back, this stretch might not be possible. But if you can bend a little to grab even your ankle, you're still doing something productive.
2 GENTLE MASSAGE
Yes! Gentle massages don't just feel amazing, but they're a form of self-love as well. Massage those palms, pinch the skin on your forearm, and roll out those thighs. If you can get one foot on to your lap, this is even better. Massage those feet (you may want to leave those socks on!) and give your toes some love. Massaging can awaken your body and make you feel refreshed after all that time sitting.
1 WALK AROUND THE AISLES
If your plane ride is going smoothly with little to no turbulence, get up and walk around the aisles. Sure, some passengers may look at you and wonder why you're walking back and forth but it's none of their business.
You have to do what you have to do to feel comfortable. Walk back and forth aisle, do some lunges, try some squats... Moving your body every so often can make all the difference mid-flight and life after you land.