Holidays are meant to be a time for relaxation and fun. There is nothing worse than arriving at your destination with you stiff and sore body. To help avoid this, I have put my top tips together for keeping your body happy when flying.
They say, “your best posture is your next posture.” This means that essentially most bodies prefers not to be in the same position for extended periods of time. Whilst changing body position every 20 minutes isn’t exactly achievable when flying, I tend to get up every 1-3 hours. This keeps my body moving, even if it’s a walk down the aisle or popping to the bathroom and back. In particular, don’t wait until you are feeling stiff or sore to get up and move – aim to do it proactively, especially on long haul flights.
Release ball in your carry-on luggage
Most plane seats are not particularly spacious or comfortable, so getting up and moving regularly may not be enough to keep your stiffness at bay. I recommend packing your release ball in your carry-on luggage. You can either use it in your seat, down the back of the plane or at the airport if you have stopovers or delays.
Going through some gentle active range of motion and muscle activation is also a good way to keep you body happy (and also helps prevent deep vein thrombosis). On a 14 hour flight I usually try to do this about 3 times.
Try this routine out working within your limits – everything should be pain free.
- Full squat: Start standing and bob down to the ground in a crouched position (think bottom onto heels) x 5
- Spine movement: gently bending forwards, backwards and side to side and holding each one for 1-3 seconds x 3
- Rotation: Standing, twist through your trunk – you can use your hands on a nearby wall to gently hold you in a stretch for a few breathes x 5/side
- Shoulder slides: Keeping your shoulder blades back and down, start with your hands above your head. Bend your elbows and slide your arms down in an arc – roughly keeping your hands and elbows in the line of your ear x 5
- Calf raises: Start in standing (holding onto something as needed), rise up onto your toes and back down x 10
- Squats: Activate your glutes (thinking about driving your knees/legs away from each other is often helpful) and squat as though you are going to sit on a chair. This is to keep your glutes awake and help keep blood flowing! x 10
The other most important thing I find when flying, is to keep your body hydrated. The air in the plane is often very dry, so its easy to get dehydrated. I aim for 200mL of fluid (mostly water, but I’ll drink juice etc with meals) per hour I am awake. I also “top and tail” the flight with electrolytes (think Hydralyte tables) to help retain my fluid better. Bonus of staying super hydrated is you will have to get up and go to the bathroom more often to help keep you moving!
If you want a more personalised and detailed happy body travel plan, chat to one of our physios!