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Hours of sitting on an airplane can cause soreness, but a few post-flight stretches can go a long way towards alleviating discomfort.
As travel season gets underway and flights start to become crowded, the cramped seating space on most commercial flights may have you sitting for hours in an uncomfortable position. Poor seating posture can cause aches and pains, and may put a damper on your vacation or business trip. Other common post-flight problems that can ruin your trip include constipation, dry skin, cold and flu. As a seasoned frequent flier, I have some great tips to help you alleviate your tight muscles and avoid the post-flight blues.
Wipe down your space: Carry some disinfectant wipes in your purse or carry-on and quickly wipe down your seating area. Pay special attention to the trays and seat adjustment buttons. Airplanes do get a quick wipe down prior to boarding, but taking the extra measure of disinfecting can help you to stay well.
Keep moving: One of the best things you can do during the flight is keep your body moving every few hours. Getting up and performing simple in-seat stretches can help to keep your blood flowing.
Avoid processed foods: The food that is offered on flights does not always provide your body with the nutrition it needs to stay balanced. The selections are often high in carbohydrates and low in fiber and vitamins. And when combined with long hours of being sedentary, it can temporarily slow down your digestive tract. Taking on board some of your usual healthy options is a great idea, especially on long flights.
Stay hydrated: Dehydration can negatively affect your digestion and cause you to have dry skin. So, ensure that you drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol, as it adds to the dehydration risk.
Once you get to your hotel room, spend some time lying down and stretching to help lengthen out the spine after it’s been compressed while sitting. Here are three of my favorite post flight floor stretches:
Stretch number 1: Supine knee hug
Stretches the glutes, hamstrings, hips and upper back.
Lie flat on your back, keeping your left leg extended on the floor. Brace your core, flex at the right knee and lift your right leg up to a 90 degree angle. Place your hands just below the knee joint and hug your knee into your chest. Repeat on the other side, then hug both knees at the same time.
Stretch number 2: Side lying quad stretch
Stretches the quads and hip flexors.
Lay down on your left side, ensuring you are aligned with a neutral spine (shoulders and hips in a straight line). Bend the top leg (right) by flexing at the knee joint and hold on to the top of your foot, gently pulling your heel toward your glute. You’ll feel the stretch down the front of your leg. If you gently push the hips forward, the stretch will deepen at the hip flexors.
Stretch number 3: Figure 4 stretch.
This stretch is a great deep hip and hamstring stretch.
Lie flat on your back, both knees bent with your feet on the floor. Lift your right leg and place the outside of your right foot on top of your left knee. Engage your core and raise both legs up off the floor, place your hands behind your left leg at the hamstring. At this point, the stretch is deep at the hip and external glute. You can then straighten out your left leg to feel the stretch in your left hamstring and your right hip. Repeat on the other side.
I encourage you to add two personal choice stretches so that you can focus on any individual tight spots that are troubling you. Spending 20-30 seconds holding each stretch will help loosen tight muscles, and may also help to improve your overall flexibility.
My final tip is to take a nice hot bath to wash away the day and relax. Travel does not always have to be full of stress. Taking some time to focus on your personal wellness will make your trips much easier.