Your in-flight fitness guide!
If you are a frequent flyer, you know to keep your seat back straight and tray table in the upright and locked position on takeoff and landing. But how do you keep your body limber during a long flight?
Here are a few tips:
Before your flight
- Request an aisle seat to allow more freedom to move
- Bring a neck pillow, lumbar support (improvise with a rolled up piece of clothing/blanket)
- Compression socks help to keep your feet from swelling due to changes in pressure and inactivity during flight
- Take the opportunity to stand and walk around the waiting area; you’ll have plenty of time to sit and relax in the plane
- Gently stretch your hip flexors, quadriceps and hamstrings; these muscles are in a shortened position in your seat
During your flight
- Get up at least once an hour (even more often if you can); stretch the leg muscles
- Gently stretch your neck, upper back and shoulders; for example, with your arms resting on a pillow/armrest (relaxes muscles and reduces tension on the nervous system), circle your shoulders forward and back, elevate and release your shoulders, and turn/tilt your head side to side, using mid-range of motion so as not to “kink” your neck
- Activate your deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles; hold them and breathe deeply, releasing any tension in the neck, shoulders and jaw
- Tap your toes and elevate your feet to help with circulation (if you have severe pain, redness and swelling in your calves notify your flight attendant immediately)
- Some in-flight entertainment systems provide programs including stretching and relaxation exercises
After your flight
- The long walk to the baggage carousel will help to decrease the stiffness in your body before you carry your baggage
- Ask the airport staff at the courtesy desk for a cane, a wheelchair or even a ride if you are unable to walk
- Lift your bags with good technique: abdominals engaged, bend your knees, get as close as you can to the carousel, and no twisting
- Ask for help lifting if you have any difficulty
For more information ask your physiotherapist!
In your words
"Motion Matters offers the most highly skilled physiotherapists, innovative techniques and equipment and have helped me to improve and manage my limitations."
"I had a chronic rotator cuff and I'd been to a half a dozen clinics in Ottawa looking for help. Finally, I found Joëlle Segers [at Motion Matters]."
Our successful RetroFit class will begin a new session on January 7, 2013. Please call or email to register for the 10-week class; space is limited.
Stephanie Gales is now trained to do IMS treatments. For more information on IMS, please see the IMS page in Our Treatments.