Flights are a pain, literally and figuratively. You have to get to the airport early, then you have to go through the process of checking luggage, potential delays, etc. It’s not fun. And while on the plane you are stiff and sitting in cramped quarters for an extended period of time. This could lead to feeling foggy all day, jet lag, potential blood clots, etc. So there are some things you can do to ward off the stress associated with flying before and after as well as the stiffness that you may encounter while on the plane.
Ward off Stress with Pre Flight Workout
Stress is a major factor when flying when there are so many variables at hand, many out of your own control. Before you get on a plane, even the day before, take part in a workout. Upping the intensity of your workout the day before (even for a few days), can help to release stress reducing endorphins. If you do one before you get on the plane, maybe that morning (depending on the time of your flight), you may also be a bit more tired and have the ability to sleep for a bit while flying. It also helps to get the heart in optimal condition to allow increased blood flow in effort to reduce the potential for clotting.
Do Some Leg Exercises
Move those gams in order to prevent cramping and swelling while flying. Here are a few you can do:
• Calf raises: These are something you can do either sitting or when standing as well (and can be done with minimal room). While seated or standing start with your feet flat on the floor and then push up onto your toes. You should feel the calves working. Repeat about 15 times.
• Leg lifts: if the room that you have allows for it while seated raise your legs parallel to the floor. Then flex your feet and hold for 20 seconds. You can even alternate between flexing and pointing your feet as well. Then repeat a few times.
• Glute Stretch: as if you are going to cross your legs, take on leg, bend at the knee and place the ankle on top of the opposite knee. Then push down gently at the knee area of the crossed leg. You should feel a nice stretch in the hips and the glutes helping to relieve stress and tension. Hold this for about 15-20 seconds and then follow up with the other side.
• Shoulder Stretch: Cross on arm across the body, hook your opposite arm over it and slightly apply pressure. Hold for a few seconds and release. This releases the tension in the shoulders.
These should all be done at least every hour or so while flying to prevent anything from building up. Once you get off the flight, don’t go and sit down, keep moving. It helps to restore the blood flow and loosen the muscles. If you can pull off some after flight yoga somewhere or stretching that’s even better. Open up the hips and the chest and with controlled breathing it helps to relax you after the stress of flying.