So you packed up all your essentials, daydreamed for hours while waiting to board your flight, and now you’ve finally been called in to joust for your seat on the plane (good thing you’ve been practicing those MMA moves). Yep, it’s another coast to coast flight. LA to New York. Boston to Seattle. San Francisco to Orlando. You’ve done it all. You’ve seen it all. You’ve even long prepared a plan in case those oxygen masks ever drop on your head (you’re supposed to break into the cockpit and take over for the helpless pilot, right? Right).
Here’s the thing: right as you’re about to Netflix and chill for the rest of your flight, you get that one thing you didn’t plan for—pain and cramps. You think, Nooooo! But your body says, yeah too bad. So because we
love money care about your health, we’re bringing you these 3 powerful stretches you can do during your flight (in the comfort of your own seat, not in the aisle like some weirdo). We’re cleared for take off!
There are few things more uncomfortable than a leg cramp on a long flight. It can manifest as a light but persisting pain or it can feel like there’s an army of ants having a day parade up and down your leg. Here’s what you do:
Exercise the First: Lift your legs so that your feet no longer touch the floor. Pull your toes towards you as much as is comfortable. Then, while keeping your legs and feet elevated, do 10 circles with your feet. Do 10 to the left and then another 10 to the right.
Exercise the Second: From the sitting position, raise your right knee towards your chest (without moving the other leg) as much as is comfortable. Placing both hands on your right knee and pulling towards your chest, hold for 10-15 seconds. Repeat the same exercise with your left leg. Make sure you keep your back straight for this one.
Welp, there goes your back again. Most of us assume that we’d be comfortable when sitting— but when your back hurts, not even sitting helps. Here’s what you do:
Exercise the First: straighten up your back and put your hands in the air
like you just don’t care as high as you can. You should feel a mild stretch. Keep trying to push the stretch as much as is comfortable and hold for 10-15 seconds. Repeat once an hour.
Exercise the Second: while sitting, keep your back straight and reach down to touch your toes. Make sure you keep your knees bent, you don’t need to straighten your legs. Above all, keep your back straight so you can feel the full effect of the stretch. Breathe deeply but regularly. No need to show off your yoga breathing skills.
You’ll have to be careful how you stretch your arms—you wouldn’t want to knock the glasses off your neighbor Skyler because you have those freakishly long arms. Here’s the good news: stretching your arms will also stretch out your back and core. You’re practically an Olympian after that.
Exercise the First: arm curls. You can use a light weight if you have it (like a bottle of water or that brick you call a wallet/purse). The best thing is you can pretend that you’re curling as much weight as you want! Your neighbors will no doubt be impressed and
refuse to talk to you admire you for the rest of the trip.
Exercise the Second: Lift one arm straight up in the air. Bend your elbow so that your hand can touch the back of your shoulder. Use your other hand to push your elbow back as much as is comfortable. Hold that for 10-15 seconds while deep, regular breaths. Repeat the same for the other arm. You can do this once an hour.
Try these stretches and feel the difference. If all else fails, try my secret weapon: go to sleep for the whole flight. You’re welcome.