Along the Way #2 - Bend and Stretch Onboard
I’m tall. 5’9” to be exact. Flying beyond 2 hours on an airplane can be slightly uncomfortable for me, as it may be for you.
To make any flight more enjoyable, it helps to get out of your seat and stretch once in a while with airplane exercises. However, if that guy sitting in the aisle seat next to you is snoring, and you don’t want to straddle his knees trying to get out of your seat, I suggest a few simple stretches, all done from a sitting position.
The Middle-Seat “Squeeze.” That’s right. If you’re already feeling squeezed into that middle seat, accentuate it! Squeeze your buttocks for a few seconds and then release. Keep it going for 10 squeeze/release motions. Engaging your buttocks this way will strengthen the stabilization power of your glutes without having to make large movements. Using these muscles helps support your back as well as rotates and extends your hip joints, and that’s a good thing!
Leg-Elongations. Pick your heels up and dig your toes firmly downward into the floor. Feel your calves tighten. Hold for 10 seconds then release. Repeat 10 times then switch and dig your heels into the floor and point your toes as high as possible toward the seat in front of you. Again, hold/squeeze for 10 seconds and release. Repeat 10 times. This time your ankles and shins will feel the stretch. Even my son enjoyed these airplane exercises!
Neck-Roll. A simple tilt and turn of your head...first back then to the right and left followed by dropping your chin as far down to your chest as possible, will stretch your neck and elongate your spine. Hold each position for a few seconds to get the full strengthening benefits these neck rolls offer. The neck roll is one of those airplane exercises that is especially a must when releasing tension and stress!
Arms & Torso. Raise your left arm straight in the air then bend it at the elbow bringing your hand behind your right ear. Using your right hand grasp the elbow of your left arm and pull gently toward your head. This gives your torso and upper arms a really good stretch while sitting or standing.
And remember, these stretches work while sitting at a desk too, so don’t stop once you de-plane!