The Best Ways to Stretch During a Flight
We all know the feeling you get from being stuck on a plane, even if the flight is only a few hours long.
Being cramped into a sitting position for more than 15 minutes is uncomfortable—and some flights last 15 hours or more!
Not only do many of us find flights a little anxiety-inducing (which leads to extra tension everywhere), but being unable to move for hours is deeply unnatural for our bodies.
That’s why we dread long flights. And, despite all of our best efforts to sleep, hydrate and eat healthily, we always disembark a plane feeling, well, dreadful.
Common complaints after long flights include:
- Tiredness and lethargy
- Muscle aches and joint pains
- Stress and anxiety
- Bloating and constipation
How can we address all of these issues? It’s certainly not an easy problem to solve. If you’ve got hydration and healthy eating dialled-in and are wondering why you still feel awful, the missing ingredient could be smart movement.
As you already know, simply roaming around the cabin like a lost puppy isn’t enough to restore our usual sense of wellbeing. Neither is sipping a green juice or trying to nap.
Our bodies need to perform a wide range of movements on a regular basis in order to be in tip-top condition. Walking only involves a few types of movements, and our bodies are capable of so much more.
So implement an intelligent stretching regimen that you can repeat whenever you start to feel cramped and achey, and you might find yourself enjoying your next long-distance flight!
The stretching routine below is a great start (and we also have a fully illustrated database of stretches for you in our Muscle Map to Stretching). Combine it with your regular walks up and down the plane’s aisles and your body will be extremely grateful.
Why stretch during a flight?
Some of the convincing reasons to stretching during your flight include:
- you’ll ease tension and reduce pain/inflammation
- it will aid your digestive system in doing its essential work
- you’ll reduce stress and anxiety
- you can either improve your energy & focus (so you can power through some work) or induce natural sleepiness with some deep breathing (so you can drift off)
How often to stretch during a flight?
Carry out your in-flight stretching routine every 2 hours. Combine it with a walk up and down the plane’s aisles (and perhaps a glass or two of water), to help you remember all these healthy flying habits.
The easiest and most effective in-flight stretching routine
In looping video format, to make it even easier for you to follow!
Stretches for your neck & back
In this video, Adam demonstrates a set of neck stretches, spine twists, spine bends and a forward bend.
Stretches for your shoulders, chest & arms
Here, Adam shows you chest, triceps, deltoid and wrist stretches.
Stretches for your hips & legs
Finally, Adam demonstrates a set of hamstring and piriformis stretches.
Now you have no need to dread your next flight—you’ll be relaxed and feeling fresh on arrival.