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Exercises to Do Before and During Flights

Do These Exercises Before and During Your Flight to Fight Off Jet Lag

Deep Vein Thrombosis is REAL. So if you're boarding a long-haul flight soon and worried about your blood circulation try these exercises to get everything pumping in the right direction and lower the risk of clotting.

"There are a whole variety of potential risks when flying- including dehydration, joint swelling, airborne diseases such as colds and more serious concerns such as hearing loss and cardiovascular issues," explains Michelle Scott, a trainer at Real Pilates in Dubai. "Staying mobile and active during a long-distance flight can also reduce muscle stiffness and next or backache, improve digestion during the flight and even help reduce the effects of jet lag."

Anything that can help us feel fresh after traveling is something we're willing to try, so join us in practising the exercises below.


Standing roll down

Start standing. Nod your chin gently towards your chest and then roll down, as if you are peeling away from a wall behind you. Soften your knees as much as you need to so that you don't feel discomfort in the lower back. Breathe in at the bottom and then slowly roll back up, from the tailbone to the head. This exercise mobilizes the spine and pelvis, allows for lengthening of the spinal muscles and hip extensors, and engages the abdominals to support the trunk.

Seated Saw

Start seated with arms reaching to the side. Rotate to one side. Look towards your knee and gently round your spine over your leg, roll back up from the tailbone to the head and then rotate back to the start position. Repeat on the other side. This exercise mobilizes the spine incorporating rotation and mobilizes the shoulder joint.

Arm Scissors

Seated or standing in a neutral spine, raise one arm up towards your head and the other down towards your hip, switch. Allow the shoulder blades to glide freely along the ribcage but not shrug up towards your ears. Keep the torso still. This mobilizes the shoulder girdle, incorporates all of the core stabilizing muscles that will support you during your flight.


Start with one leg forward and one leg back, a comfortable distance apart so you are able to balance. Bend both knees, lowering towards the floor and press back up. Keep your waistband level the whole time. Gently draw in your abdominals so you are not arching your back. Lunges on the spot will help wake up the muscles of the hip and torso as well as get the blood flowing before a long flight.

Walk around as much as you can, take the stairs when possible and if you're keen (and not shy) do some squats and lunges whilst you're waiting to board.


Spine Stretch Forward

Seated, hands resting on your thighs, gently nod your chin towards your chest and round the spine. Roll back up from the tailbone to the head, one vertebrae at time. Keeps the spine mobile, release back and neck tension.

Modified Spine Twist

Cross your arms over your chest. Take a gentle twist to one side, return to the centre. Keep your chin up and your spine neutral. This mobilizes the spine in to rotation, ease tension in the back and shoulder girdle.

Seated or Standing Calf Raises

Either seated or standing. Press in to the balls of the feet and lift the heels off the floor. Gently lower with control. Mobilize the ankle joint, reduce ankle swelling and minimize risk of DVT.

Seated Knee Raises

Start seated in neutral spine; lift one knee towards your chest, allowing the lower back to round slightly and then lower back down. Repeat on the other side. Mobilize the hip joints, increase blood flow and minimize risk of DVT, maintain abdominal engagement to support the spine.

Image Sources: Instagram user RealPilates and POPSUGAR Photographer Mark Popovich
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