Stretching While Traveling — It’s Not as Weird as It Sounds
By Author Name
Aug 20, 2019
Updated Oct 25, 2023
5 min read
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So, you’re leaving on a jet plane? Lucky you. But whether it’s a short hop across the country or a life-changing journey to parts unknown, all the idle sitting on an airplane can do a number on your body. Stiffness, dehydration and other health complications can develop, putting a damper on any trip. But there are easy ways to ensure a smooth landing at your final destination. Read on, adventure seeker.
Let’s talk about something called deep vein thrombosis, otherwise known as blood clots that form deep inside your legs when a person spends a long period of time immobile. (*cough* Sitting on an airplane. *cough*) A World Health Organization study found that about 1 in 4,500 airline passengers will develop this kind of clot while traveling every year. It’s not a huge number, but definitely something to keep on your radar. While clots alone are not always life threatening, the potential for clots, even in perfectly healthy people, increases on flights more than four hours long. Factors like age, weight, height, physical health, hormones, fractures, recent surgeries and many other common ailments can also increase your chances of developing clots. So what can you do?
Passengers can help combat the formation of clots by getting stagnant blood moving as much as possible. It’s time to stretch. Yes — stretch. While full-blown jumping jacks in the aisle are probably frowned upon on any airplane, simple stretches can keep the blood flowing and you feeling good.
Start by setting your watch or phone timer to go off at regular intervals — it’s a good way to remind yourself to stop bingeing Handmaid’s Tale and get the blood flowing. Start with every 30 minutes. Here is a list of simple, seat-approved exercises to get you moving:
Airlines are aware of the need to stretch, and some have even taken steps to provide passengers with innovative ways to get moving (as much as it is safely possible). Qantas Airlines has even created an in-flight exercise video passengers can do from their seat. Other airline staff members do their best to remind passengers to move around at regular intervals.
On your next flight, keep the adventure going by keeping the blood flowing — your body will thank you.