5 Easy In-Flight Exercises.

By Posted in - Travel Blog & Travel Resources on August 7th, 2013 An Emirates airplane in Dubai.

Back in the 1980s, it seems to me the only exercise happening on airplanes was by members of the lofty “Mile High Club.” Couples, pilots and stewardesses would sneak away on those lengthy Transatlantic red eye flights to knock a little high altitude boots. These days, though, in flight fitness is the new fad, and for good reason: not only is it good for your circulation, but a little exercising on the plane also helps to lower your risk of blood clotting (also known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

We’ve dabbled here and there with some in flight exercises. But it wasn’t until our recent Emirates flight from New York to the Maldives (and then back again several days later) that we decided to take our air fitness routine more seriously–as serious as you can at 36,000 feet, of course. So, we did some research and came up with these five fitness moves from wikiHow for our flight across the Atlantic and beyond.

Heel Raisers

Place your feet flat on the ground, hip-width apart and directly underneath your knees. Lift your heels up so that only the balls of your feet are on the floor, holding this position for five seconds before lowering them back to the ground. Repeat this exercise 10 times.

Roll Around the Clock

Extend your legs out in front of you. Slightly lift one leg and straighten it. Next, rotate your foot clockwise at the ankle 15 times and then repeat in the opposite direction for another 15 times. Switch legs and repeat the exercise.

Stretch it Back

Raise both hands way up over your head. Drop one hand back in between your shoulder blades, and then with the other hand, grasp the elbow of the opposite arm and gently pull towards your head. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds, before repeating it on the other side.

Toes Up

Lift your toes so that only your heels remain on the floor. You’ll want to hold this position for five seconds and then lower your feet back to the ground. Repeat 10 times, making sure that your breathing is natural and at a regular pace.

Backhand Stretch

Stretch your right hand across your chest and left shoulder. Place your left hand behind your right elbow and gently press that elbow towards your opposite shoulder. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds and then repeat on the other side for another 15 seconds. This is a great exercise to do while waiting to use the bathroom, since it requires a little extra room to perform.

3 Tips For In Flight Exercises

1. Plan to exercises in the airport as well as on the plane. It’s good to stretch out your sore and tired muscles before, during and after your flight.

2. Staying well-hydrated during the flight can help with muscle fatigue and jet lag. I know it can be difficult, but to keep your body feeling good after the flight, limit or avoid alcoholic drinks when flying since they can dehydrate you.

3. When exercising in your seat, be considerate of your neighbors. Be careful not to impede on their space or bump their seat.

What’s your go to in flight exercise move?

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(4) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • Jennifer -

    August 7, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    Thanks for these tips! My feet swell so much on long haul flights that it is actually painful and usually takes several days for the swelling to go away. The folks at RejuvaHealth kindly have me a pair of compression leggings, which I’ll be trying out on our next flight. Hopefully with the exercises and leggings, my swelling will be reduced.

  • Jeff -

    August 8, 2013 at 5:11 am

    Awesome tips, this will not only reduce swelling but will also make you alert and keep busy while traveling.

  • Thomas -

    August 8, 2013 at 7:10 am

    I am only getting these most of these done if I site in first class or near the emergency exit. Being 6’3 I barely have room to site on these planes nowadays. I don’t know why they are so small. Neck rolls and minor stretches are about all I can fit in. The toes up are a great one!

  • X @ thefancyvoyager -

    August 15, 2013 at 2:12 am

    Great tips! I do the toes up regularly when I’m in flight. I didn’t use to do it in the past until one day when my feet swelled up after a flight!