Inflight fitness: The traveler’s guide to easing tight muscles

Does your body need a little inflight entertainment on your next trip? Sedentarily soaring through the sky with your knees crammed into a seatback isn’t exactly a joyride for your body. Extended hours of inactivity can pose a serious threat to your muscles, joints and circulation. Give your body first class treatment with the following inflight fitness routine.

Calf Raises. Immobility increases your risk of developing blood clots. Boost your lower leg circulation by performing 25-30 calf raises. In addition to this exercise, walk around the plane whenever possible. Staying well-hydrated and avoiding tight fitting socks also helps promote healthy blood flow throughout the body.

➢     Sit tall with the shoulders aligned above the hips and the knees above the ankles.
➢     Press the balls of your feet into the floor. Elevate your heels and squeeze your calves for 10-15 seconds. If you are prone to cramping, lower the amount of time you hold this position.
➢     Once you complete 20-25 repetitions, push your heels into the ground and pull your feet up toward your shins. Hold this calf stretch for 20 seconds.

Butt Clenches. I know what you’re thinking, “You must be joking, right?” While it’s hard to imagine this move without giggling, butt clenches are great for promoting contractions on the largest muscle in your body. The good news: no one will know you are privately perfecting your posterior since you are seated throughout the entire exercise.

➢     Take a deep breath, bringing the shoulders back and chest up.
➢     Keep your core tight as you squeeze your glutes as hard as possible.
➢     Hold for 15 seconds.
➢     Release and repeat 15-20 times.

Figure 4. Your hip flexors, which are the muscles located at the front of the hip, affect your posture and your legs range of motion. When your body is chair-bound, these muscles tighten and shorten which can cause muscle imbalances and lower back pain. Relieve and release tight hip flexors by practicing a figure-4 stretch.

➢     Cross your right ankle over your left thigh. The ankle should be positioned slightly above the knee.
➢     Apply light pressure to the inner right thigh or knee (whichever is more comfortable). You should feel a deep stretch in your right hip.
➢     Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.

Shoulder Blade Squeeze. Unless you are flying first class or have a little extra leg room from snagging an emergency exit row seat, finding a comfortable position can be a challenge. Having to constantly contort your body to avoid an elbow blow from the concession cart or the bathroom line gathering in the aisle, wreaks havoc on your posture and breathing. Stretch tight chest muscles with this shoulder blade squeeze exercise.

➢     Take a deep breath, sit up tall and straighten your posture.
➢     Inhale again, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Imagine that you are trying to make your shoulder blades touch.
➢     Hold for 10 seconds then release. Take a deep breath between repetitions. Repeat 10-12 times.

Recharge your body by practicing these exercises every 30 minutes of flight.

Bon voyage and safe travels!

Earn it.

Ashley B. Greenblatt is a Certified Personal Trainer at  The Sporting Club at The Bellevue.

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