It’s finally getting to be that time of year where you and your family are off to a explore new places or just relax on a beach. Some say that the journey to your destination is part of the adventure, even if it is just a plane ride away. You may be thinking that those plane rides aren’t at all enjoyable because you think of all the aches and pains of sitting for several hours in a small restricting chair with little legroom and no place to rest your head and neck. Think that no longer!
When I went to Hawaii with my family for vacation I tried a few stretches to relieve my plane aches and once I walked right off the plane into that Hawaiian air I didn’t have any soreness. Here are some simple stretches that can make your plane ride, and overall journey, more enjoyable for you and you can do them while just sitting in that coach window seat!
1. Ankle Circles: In your seated position with your feet flat, life one foot off the ground and roll your ankle in circular directions several times then switch feet.
2. Ankle Flex Stretch: Have both feet flat on the ground then flex your ankles up so your toes are facing upward. Then point your toes so your toes are on the ground and your heels are up in the air. Repeat this so that your blood starts flowing through your legs.
3. Neck Rolls: Move your neck up and down in a “yes” motion, and then move your head side to side in a “no” motion.
4. Upper Back and Shoulder Stretch: Have your feet and knees separated a little farther apart than your shoulders. Then lean your torso forward and bring your arms inside your legs and wrap your hands around your calves trying to reach your fingertips to your ankles. Pull your torso using your hands through your legs to open your shoulders. This will add a nice stretch to your upper back.
5. Tricep Stretch: Have one of your arms reach over your head and the other behind your lower back. Then bend your elbows and try to touch your fingers together. Stay in this position for 30 seconds then switch.
6. Seated Hip Stretch: Have the left foot on the ground and have the right leg lifted. Place the right ankle on your thigh behind your left knee which makes a right angle with your right shin and left thigh. Hold this for 30 seconds and then switch sides.
7. Seated Twist: Hold onto your seat’s armrest with both hands and pull to a twist on your upper body to one side which will stretch and relax the spine. Then switch sides.
8. Leg Extensions: This is a great stretch if you are in an aisle seat! Lift your foot up and extend your knee to stretch out stiff legs. Do this with both legs, it really gets the blood circulating.
There are also some stretches that will benefit you after you get off your flight to loosen up your joints and keep blood circulation going so you don’t stay stiff!
1. Child’s Pose: Kneel down onto your knees and stretch your upper body forward to the ground with your arms out in front of you until your forehead touches the ground. This pose is good to stretch your hips, shoulders, back, and chest while still having that calming effect.
2. Quad/Hip Flexor Stretch: Stand up straight and then lift your left leg up behind you so your knee is facing the ground. You can balance by holding onto a table or wall with your left hand and your right hand should be holding onto your left ankle behind you. This stretch will feel good after your hips and thighs being tight during the flight.
3. Shoulder Roll and Stretch: Raise your shoulders and move them down, back, and forward. Then you can reach your right arm in front of you and wrap your hand around your right elbow. Pull your right arm to your left and cross your chest. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and switch. This will release tension that is in your neck and back.
Not only will these exercises keep you limber during the flight, they may even make plane rides just as fun as they used to be when you flew in a plane for your first time! These simple stretches will make your journey a lot more enjoyable, especially during those pesky hour long fights.