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Quick Stretches After a Long Flight

While traveling is one of the most popular forms of recreation, it can be tough to appreciate being in a new place when your whole body is practically screaming after sitting in a confined space for hours. We know the feeling 100 percent!


Performing quick stretches upon arrival can help relieve tension, improve circulation, and restore mobility, so you’re refreshed and ready to explore. 


Why Else Should I Stretch After a Flight?

Frequent flyers, especially those traveling long distance, may already know about Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).


It’s a fairly rare condition that can get very serious very quickly. This happens when a blood clot forms in a deep vein, usually in the calf or thigh muscle. It manifests in pain, swelling, and tenderness. 


Ideally, you should be stretching before you get on any flights longer than four hours and moving around during the flight. This maximizes the amount of movement you do before, during, and after these long hauls, combatting blood clots and relieving stiffness.


Here are some quick stretches you can try with minimal effort:


Seated Forward Fold


  • Sit on the edge of a chair with your feet flat on the ground and your knees bent.

  • Inhale to lengthen your spine, then exhale as you hinge forward from your hips, reaching your hands towards your feet or the floor.

  • Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds, feeling a gentle stretch in your lower back, hamstrings, and calves.

  • Slowly return to an upright position and repeat as needed.


Neck Stretch

  • Sit or stand tall with your shoulders relaxed.

  • Tilt your head to the right, bringing your right ear towards your right shoulder.

  • Use your right hand to gently apply pressure to the left side of your head, increasing the stretch on the left side of your neck.

  • Hold for 15-30 seconds, then switch sides and repeat.


Seated Spinal Twist

  • Sit up tall in your chair with your feet flat on the ground.

  • Place your right hand on the back of the chair and your left hand on your right knee.

  • Inhale to lengthen your spine, then exhale as you twist your torso to the right, looking over your right shoulder.

  • Hold the twist for 15-30 seconds, feeling a gentle stretch along the spine.

  • Return to center and repeat on the other side.


Ankle Circles

  • Sit on the edge of your seat with your feet flat on the ground.

  • Lift your right foot off the ground and rotate your ankle in a circular motion, first clockwise, then counterclockwise.

  • Repeat for 10-15 rotations, then switch to the left foot.

  • This exercise helps improve circulation and reduce stiffness in the ankles and feet.


Shoulder Rolls

  • Sit or stand tall with your arms by your sides.

  • Roll your shoulders forward in a circular motion, lifting them up towards your ears, then back and down.

  • Repeat for 10-15 rotations, then reverse the direction of the shoulder rolls.

  • This exercise helps release tension in the shoulders and upper back.


Remember to listen to your body and only stretch to the point of gentle tension, avoiding anything that causes pain or discomfort.


If any of these movements feel unsafe or hurt in an unusual way, schedule a quick consult with one of our physiotherapists so we can help you find and treat the problem.


Safe travels!

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