Long flights can often take a toll on your body as you sit and try to sleep in an uncomfortable position for hours on end. Stretching before your flight can help improve your blood circulation, stimulate your lymphatic system, and lubricate your joints so you don’t end up too stiff when you land.
You can also try stretching out a bit during the flight if there is no turbulence that requires you to stay in your seatbelt the entire time and feel the blood rushing to your extremities.
Runner’s stride and turn
Begin by squatting down and resting your right foot between your palms as you stretch your left back. Feel the stretch from hip to heel and come up high on the ball of your back foot. Open your chest and look forward, lengthening your spine and engaging your rear quads.
Leave the palm of your left hand on the ground and lift your right arm up, twisting to the right and opening your entire body to the side. Feel the stretch through your arms as if you wanted to touch the ceiling and breathe in as deeply as you can. After three long inhalations and exhalations, lower the palm of the right hand and switch legs.
Side lunge and twist
Stand wide stance, tilt at the hips, and curl your upper body toward the ground. Bend your left knee and leave your right palm on the ground as you lift your left arm up. Turn to the left and feel your right leg lengthen as you bend further into your left leg.
With each inhalation, try to lengthen the spine a little more and with each exhalation, try to deepen the twist. After the third exhalation, lower your left hand and walk to your right leg, bending your right knee. Straighten your left leg and rotate it to the right. Stay for three long breath cycles and then lower your right hand.
Come to the center and stay for a moment to reset, grabbing the elbows and relaxing the torso on the legs. Breathe deeply and slowly.
Downward Facing Dog and Spin
Put your hands and feet on the floor and raise your hips, forming an inverted V with your body. Bend your knees if necessary and feel your spine stretch, pushing the ground away from you. Extend your legs and feel your heels want to hit the ground, stretching your hamstrings and calves.
On your next inhalation, grab your right calf or ankle with your left hand and look under your right armpit. This is a bit challenging as your balance is off, so engage your core muscles and make sure both legs are strong and engaged. Stay for three long inhalations and exhalations before repeating it all on the other side.
After twisting on both sides, return to the starting position and bend your legs interchangeably as if you were trying to walk without moving your feet. This will readjust your hips and send the newly twisted blood rushing from your spine to your legs.
Malasana Squat and Twist
Start in a squat and widen your stance as much as possible, opening your hips and stretching your lower back. Bring your hands together and open your elbows to further intensify the hip opening and straighten your spine.
From here, place the palm of your right hand diagonally forward from your right foot, leaving your elbow connected to your right leg. Open the left side of the body by raising the left arm and look up. Try to keep your left hip as open as possible. Stay for three long inhalations and exhalations and repeat on the other side.
After you’ve completed both twists, return to the starting position and stretch your lower back by dropping your glutes as low as you can. Do not forget to breathe.
Standing Side Body Stretch
Start standing and raise your arms above your head. Bring your palms together and reach up, as if you were reaching for the ceiling. Relax your shoulders and move them away from your ears. Take your left wrist with your right hand and stretch your left arm, leaning to the left and opening your body on the right side. You should feel a stretch from your foot to your hips and obliques through your arms and fingertips.
Take a deep breath and go as far as your body will allow. After three long inhalations and exhalations, return to center and stretch the left side of the body. Repeat the entire exercise once or twice to get the full effect.
Roll up and down
And last but not least, start standing with your feet hip-width apart. Inhale, look up and begin to roll down as you exhale. Articulate your spine and go as slow as you can, controlling each vertebra as you roll down. Once you’ve reached the depth of your forward bend, relax your upper body and let gravity take over.
Grasp your elbows and gently rock your body left and right, loosening your hips and stretching your lower back and hamstrings. Your legs don’t have to be completely straight if it feels too intense, so bend them as much as you like.
Stay for three long inhalations and exhalations, and then just as slowly come back to standing, stacking each vertebra on top of the other. Repeat once or twice to get the full effect.
gel seat cushion
Helps reduce back pain when flying or sitting for long periods of time.
Try these stretches next time before you board your plane, and don’t forget to stretch when you land! It is equally important.