Stay healthy during long haul flights with these five top tips

July 16th, 2018

Fitness experts from Real Pilates reveal five easy ways to keep healthy during the holidays

Whilst jet setting off to exciting new countries is around the corner for everyone this summer, it is important to keep in mind a few exercises to practice during long-haul flights and stopovers, professionals say.

With a number of potential risks when flying including dehydration, joint swelling and airborne diseases such as colds and more serious concerns; following a few simple Pilates exercises can ease the stress of long distance travel and reduce the related health risks.

Michelle Scott, STOTT Pilates Instructor Trainer at Real Pilates says, “Sitting idol in cramped spaces can increase a number of health risks such as reduced circulation of arterial influx of fresh blood and venous outflow, bloating, blood clotting in the lower leg (Deep - Vein Thrombosis) and increase the risk of back injury.”

She further elaborated on the fact that frequent movements and keeping active during long and short flights is the best way to reduce muscle stiffness and backaches during the flight, and even help reduce the effects of jet lag,”

Five key exercises to practice during flights -

· Seated Leg Lifts – From a neutral seated position, raise one knee towards your chest, enabling the lower back to slightly stretch and then place it back down. Repeat the same activity on the other side. Maintaining a constant circulation of blood through the joints minimises the risk of DVT and balancing abdominal engagement to support the spine.


· Elevated Elbow Stretch – Raise both hands above the head, grasp the opposite elbow and pull it towards one side till you feel the stretch. Hold the pull for around 15 seconds and repeat the same with the other elbow.

· Seated Calf Raises – Whilst seated upright, apply pressure to the balls of the feet and slightly raise both the heels off the floor. Slowly release the pressure whilst lowering the heels, this will help mobilise the ankle joint. Repeat 15 times to increase circulation and reduce swelling of the feet.


· Contraction of abdominal muscles – Siting up straight with the spine along the length of the chair, take a deep breath and contract the muscles by holding them for five seconds. Repeat about ten times, every couple of hours during long flights, to keep the abdominal muscle active and improve digestion.

· 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 activates the spine in to rotation, ease tension in the back and shoulder girdle.


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