Tips for Exercising During Flight
By: Ken Hunt, Owner of Steel Gym and AFI-certified Fitness Expert
If you travel by plane as much as I do, then you know that it can be rough on your body. Getting through security is half the battle. You can combat poor circulation, swelling, sore joints and lethargy on cramped flights. Try these exercises.
Squeeze a tennis ball, a racquetball or even a pair of socks with your hands until they’re tired.
Keep the balls of your feet planted and raise your legs using your calf muscles. If this is too easy, place your carry-on bag on your knees. Continue until tired. Plant your heels firmly and raise your toes as high as possible. Hold for five seconds, and relax. Repeat until tired.
Place your hands on your armrests and raise your knees slowly (together is harder than one at a time) toward your chin. Lower them slowly. Repeat until tired.
Cross your legs. Rotate the dangling foot in as wide a circle as possible. Continue until tired.
Stretch your neck by keeping your chin close to your throat and tilting your head forward. Roll your head from one shoulder to the other, but avoid rotating it backwards.
Flex your trapezius muscles by doing shoulder hunches. Lower your shoulders, and then raise them up toward your ears into a shrug. Hold for five seconds. Continue until tired.
Arch your torso gently backwards and forward like a cat.
Flex your gluteus muscles and hold for as long as possible. Squeezing your butt like this may occasion strange glances, but these muscles are the biggest in the human body and need to be exercised, too.
You can also reduce cramping and increase blood flow in the lower extremities while in flight. Try placing dual pillows on your seat under knees and pedal like on a bicycle. Place between knees and use as a thigh exerciser. Place on the floor and use as a stepper.
When aisles are relatively empty and the seatbelt sign is off, walk around, stretch and do lunges. To lunge, take a big step (about half your height) and gently lower yourself as far as you can while keeping the torso upright and back leg straight. Once you become skilled, you’ll be able to work up a sweat
Then treat yourself to a big glass of sparking waterâ€”steer clear of alcoholic beveragesâ€”and a healthy snack. Happy Flying
Ken Hunt is an AFI-certified trainer and owner of Steel Gym in New York City